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Topic: Once a Month Cooking

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Subject: Once a Month Cooking
Date Posted: 8/14/2012 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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I'm getting ready to go back to school.  I'm a single gal and finding time to cook is always a problem.  I love to cook, but when I'm working, I always seem to be busy.  I'm thinking of trying this once a month cooking thing, with a twist.  I'd like to do pre-cooked, microwavable meals.  I've done this in the past, but just with recipes that I know and love (which really limits your diet).  Eating out is just too expensive, so I'd like to find recipes for a variety of freezable meals that are pre-cooked.  The problem that I'm finding with the Once a Month Cooking recipes is that they are all make one day and then cook another.  I'd like things that freeze well once cooked in individual portions to be reheated later.  I've found a few recipes to try out, but would love input on what you've tried.  I'm doing this to save both time and money, so no ingredients that are too terribly expensive.  I do have free hamburger, which helps. 

So far I've made Cheezy Chicken Enchilada Wraps with success and am working on breakfast burritos today. 

Date Posted: 8/15/2012 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2008
Posts: 3,574
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Most ground beef recipes will freeze well, so I'd do a search for recipes for your free hamburger. Meatloaf, Enchilada cassorrolle, sloppy joes, all freeze well. I like my sloppy joes with corn and black beans in them. Make up some taco meat and you can have either tacos, or taco salad, just by grabbing the veggies on your way home the night you want to fix it, then microwaving the meat to defrost it. Soups freeze fantastically well.

Are you willing to do anything besides microwave? Goerge forman? boil pasta? theese will open up even more possiblities for you.

Date Posted: 8/15/2012 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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Mostly I'm looking for meals that I can take to work. My only option there is microwave.  I've been told I'm a very good cook, and I do love to cook and experiment.  Most of my recipes come from "playing around" in the kitchen.  I have homemade canned vegetable beef soup and minestrone soup recipes that are both very good in the winter.  I'm just looking for new ideas.  I guess I'm tired of taco salad, cheezy hamburgers, spaghetti, chili, etc and am looking for new ideas, something out of the ordinary.  I guess I just need to grit my teeth and bear it and get through this cow and make sure the next one is cut up into more roasts so I can have more options. 


Date Posted: 8/15/2012 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I've made the following and frozen/reheated successfully - meatloaf/corn/green beans, various taco soups/chilis, hamburger patties, breakfast tacos(I eat them for other meals too), spaghetti has done ok..

Date Posted: 8/25/2012 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 460
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Just about any soup that isn't a "creamy" type, and.or with pasta in it, will freeze and thaw out well.  I make a vegetable soup (weightwatchers approved!) where the base is chicken bouillion and some tomato paste, garlic, carrots, lots of cabbage, green beans, and zucchini (or squash or just about any chopped up vegetables!). If you wanted to beef it up, so to speak, some hamburger meat might do well in that.

What about meatloaf?  Maybe a "shepherd's pie" type casserole?





Subject: single serving crockpot?
Date Posted: 8/28/2012 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2009
Posts: 1
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I've done what you are doing now.  and still do from time to time. 

you can expand some of your options if you get yourself a single serving sized crock pot that you can keep at work.  You should be able to find a used one cheaply at thrift stores like Goodwill. 

I make all kinds of stews, casseroles, and soups and freeze them in single serving sized containers.  Then, first thing when I get to work, I empty the "food-cicle" into the crock pot and turn it on.  By lunch time, it's ready to eat! 

Date Posted: 2/23/2013 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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I'm not allowed a crock pot in my room at work, and any food left out in the break room is assumed to be community property, so the crock pot is out.  I'm slowly expanding my recipes, and have a dozen or so that I can make now that I actually like.  I tried a new one today, we'll see how well I like it.  I made English muffin pizzas.  They were very inexpensive, at about 25 cents each, and they tasted good hot.  I'll see how well they freeze.  I also modified an old recipe and substituted pasta for potatoes in my favorite soup.  Again, it is a wait and see.  It was amazing when it first came out of the pot, even better reheated.  I'll see how it holds up to freezing. 

I'm now hunting for more English muffin recipes, I still have three packages of the things to use.  The Amish discount store had them for 50 cents a package today, so I bought six to play around with. 

Date Posted: 3/2/2013 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 707
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Something I found to be a great purchase was a Stanley wide mouth thermos. If you fill it with hot water first it will keep the food nice and hot for 4 to 5 hours.  You can put any kind of leftover in it.  I like the Stanley brand because it's stainless steel, so there is no glass to break if it drops.

Date Posted: 4/1/2013 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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Are you still looking for ideas?  I second Nancy's thermos idea.  My 12yo son's school doesn't have a lunchroom so the kids have to bring their lunch every day, and his favorite is something in his Coleman wide-mouth thermos.  (He prepares his own lunch and finds it easier to make a "thermos meal" than a sandwich.)  You can make a big batch of a stew or soup at home, freeze individual pre-cooked portions, thaw, and then reheat at home and put in the thermos or reheat at work in the microwave.

Subject: chicken pot pie.
Date Posted: 8/24/2013 11:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2009
Posts: 6
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I love in the winter to make a liquid base of chicken pot pie.. cream of chicken, diced potatoes, frozen peas, carrots, corn, chicken breast etc.. on a weekend day freeze in individual containers. Then night before I am ready to eat I make a can of large biscuits . That day I take 1 container and some biscuits in a plastic bag. Warm up separately, pour mixture over biscuits. Tastes fresh and I am not stuck eating it day after day. And technically I have breakfast and lunch covered that day.

Last Edited on: 8/25/13 12:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/1/2013 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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I have several recipes in my repitoirire now.  Right now I have meals for the next two months made ahead in my freezer.  I found these amazing containers on Amazon called Readitainers, they freeze and microwave well, you just can't microwave the lids.  The containers, sized from 8 oz to 32 oz all take the same sized lids.  You do have to bleach them if you put tomato base products in them, but I haven't found freezer products that don't require this.  They seem to hold up better than Ziplock or Gladware. 

I shop in an Amish grocery store for some of my meat, and wait for sales on others, so my meals are very inexpensive, normally less than 50 cents each.  I add a side of fresh or canned vegetables plus fruit.  Here are some of my favorite meals:

Spaghetti with either chicken or hamburger.

Chicken, bean and cheese burritos (I make my own refried beans, so these are really inexpensive)

Ham and bean soup (again, made from dried beans...very yummy...the ham was 89 cent per pound from the Amish store)

Chili (I'm making my next batch using dried beans)

Cheddar Potatoes with Basalmic Pork Loin as the meat

Rice Pilaf and Sausage (I used bratwurst that I got for 89 cents per pound)

Macaroni and Cheese (I acutally made this using one of those cans of nacho cheese from Sam's, so it is about 25 cents per serving and tastes just like Kraft when you reconstitute the cheese with whole milk)

Basalmic pork and red potatoes

Chicken noodle soup (diced chicken, which I buy and bake in bulk, LOTS of carrots, and Sam's club noodles.  I also add celery stalks which I take out later.  It also has chicken stock and other spices...much better than Progresso or Campbells)

Beef and noodles (browned and baked roast or steak, then cut up and put into Sam's club noodles and whatever else I want).

Not in the freezer, but canned:  Hamburger vegetable soup.  I make extras to give away, since anyone who has it wants to take a jar or two home. 

I have 5 or 6 other recipes that I make too, but these are the ones that I tend to keep in my freezer at all times.  I just wish that there were a cookbook for freezer cooking for singles.