Cook Meals for a Month
Save yourself time and money by preparing a whole month's worth of meals in one day. Home economist Deborah Taylor-Hough explains how it's done.
- Planning and preparation are most important. Make a master menu with your recipes and fill in a calendar. Most families will eat the same dish three times in a month, so find 10 recipes everyone likes and triple them.
- After your recipes are chosen, write down all the ingredients you will need for each one (remembering to triple the amounts). Group recipes according to like ingredients.
- The day before your big cooking day is shopping day. Put away perishable foods, but leave nonperishables out on the counter to save time the next day.
- The night before, do as much prep work, like chopping vegetables, shredding cheese, etc. as possible. Consider buying pre-shredded cheese or chopped vegetables to save time.
- Fix similar recipes together. For example, make all your ground-beef recipes (meatballs, meatloaf, Salisbury steak) at the same time.
- Make complicated recipes first, while you are fresh, and save the easier ones for last.
- Label freezer bags. Freeze the food out flat and then stack the meals upright like books in the freezer. This saves a lot of space.
- To use, place a bag in the refrigerator overnight, or microwave to thaw the next day.