My first time to experience monthly meal planning was...well...an enlightening experience. There are some things I would like to do again and some things I would definitely do different.
I prepared some meals with roast beef, chicken, Italian lasagna and bacon chicken ranch lasagna, and then fully cooked chili and spaghetti. The latter four turned out the best.
Here's some things I learned too late:
- It is best to cook your meats first then after cooling, add your veggies and seasonings before freezing.
- Just because the picture looks good on the front of a seasoning packet, doesn't mean it will taste good. Side note: One of the meals I prepared was absolutely AWFUL! It was so bad we all barely ate enough to be satisfied. The funny part was our cat wouldn't even eat it! Not sure what happened, but won't be trying any neat looking seasoning packets again any time soon!
- It would have been a lot more fun to cook with a friend.
- More preparation is needed than what I gave it. Go figure!
- I should have had a manual BEFORE I started this journey.
A dear friend loaned me a book Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet - A Month of Meals Made Easy a few days later. It has a wealth of information included in its golden pages and is a definite must for those planning on trying this endeavor. It not only lays out what you need in advance from choosing recipes to planning your shopping day, but spells out your cooking day to the T including tons of recipes to choose from. I enjoyed reading the information laid out in this book as well as getting to know the authors. You can find them here to order your copy. I have the older version, and it still has a lot to offer including many worksheets to help you along the way. It even recommends that you clean out your fridge before you start. Of all the nerve! :)
I am looking forward to experiencing Tara and Nanci's claims of lowering my dinner time stresses and saving time and money. Have you ever done monthly cooking before? I would love to hear how you did it and what I can learn from you.
Blessings as you prepare deliciously healthy and nutritious meals for your family!