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Dinner Dilemmas Solution: Cooking Once for Three Months of Meals!

Welcome to another edition of Dinner Dilemmas! I am excited to introduce you to our guest blogger this week — Bekki from The Little Red Hen! Bekki is going to tell us how she cooks THREE MONTHS OF MEALS AT A TIME.
 Hi I am Bekki from Little Red Hen, and I am so excited to do my very first guest post here at Tatertots and Jello!  
I am the one who cooks for 3 months at a time and want to share a little about that with you. 
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I started cooking in bulk about 10 years ago. I was newly married and my husband and I both worked. Neither of us wanted to prepare dinner when we got home so we started cooking extra each meal and freezing it.  Even that began to feel like to much and I came across a book titled Once A Month Cooking.  I though it was the perfect solution and my husband was all for it. As we added babies into the family and I stayed home with them this came in handy for those first few months of sleeplessness. For many years this is what we did, around baby number 3 it got hard to find one Saturday every month for me to cook.  I started adding more and more meals until I now cook for about 3 months at a time. 
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The benefits of cooking this way are many. First I save a lot of money by buying in bulk and not buying convenience foods. We don’t eat out because there is always something available, and it’s much healthier. I have time to make side dishes or breads since the main dish is all ready done. I have a meal ready if someone needs one. Dishes are few since the prep work is all done, and best of all I don’t have to deal with hungry children while trying to cook dinner!
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To begin I go through my recipes to see what meals I want to make and what my family is asking for.. Then I copy them and put them in my go-to notebook which is just a 3 ring binder. This is the book I cook from  and you can read more about that here.
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Next I plan my shopping trip and go shopping. I wrote a post on that HERE.
I then prepare as much as I can the night before so that I can just throw my meals together without having to grate the cheese, chop the vegetables, or dice chicken.
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 HERE is more information on that. Finally I am ready to cook!
 It takes me about 20 hours in the summer and a little more in the Winter when I make more casseroles and stews.
This method of cooking can be overwhelming if you haven’t cooked in bulk before. So I recommend starting small. Pick a few meals and double them one week, then the next week is in the freezer.
Then you can gradually move up to a month or longer.
 022After I mixed everything up I try to get as much air out as possible and flatten. It saves so much space in the freezer to do it this way. 025I weigh all my meats so that the portions are correct since I am making more that one meal at a time and it helps with my portion control when serving the meal.018027001028
For more information about cooking day with a list of meals I made this time around, click HERE.
Thanks Bekki! In addition to all of that cooking Bekki also loves to decorate:
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collect milk glass:
and crafts!
And, a cute idea:

 This cute Menu Planner @ Babblings from Brooke
Ok, what worked for you this week?
is there anything you can share that helped your dinnertime go smoother? Leave a comment and also if you have posted about it, link up to the Dinner Dilemmas Forum — that way we can all help each other!
 XOXO
And, if you have something you would like to share on Dinner Dilemmas by being a guest blogger, let me know!

Comments

  1. A Busy Nest says:

    WOW! I love freezing meals too but I have never done 3 months worth!

  2. Diane {createdbydiane.blogspot.com} says:

    make ahead meals for months-now that a girl who knows how to PLAN! Love-it!

  3. I think I need a journal to write all of this information down. I LOVE these posts. I really want to cook more and eat out less and these are so helpful.

  4. Thank you for sharing this great blog. I love this idea.

    Ruth

  5. Thank you for featuring my Menu Planner! I'm flattered!

  6. I love seeing other people's milk glass collections! Her's is so fun!

  7. Connie Weiss says:

    This is a marvelous idea! I cooked ahead like this when I was on the hCG diet so that I could still cook for my family while dieting.

    Worked great!

  8. Oh wow, I am totally impressed. That is one very organized young lady! xxoo

  9. Hyrum and Elsie says:

    you're brave woman. and you must have a HUGE freezer!

  10. Love the Decor! says:

    She is amazing!! I could learn so much from this woman!!!

  11. Me, Myself and Pie says:

    wow. I'm so inspired. I usually do this when I make burritos. While in college, my roommate walked in on me making 30 burritos for myself and thought I'd gone off the deep end. I'm def. going to keep this 3-month idea for when I have kids! There are so many perks to it!

  12. Um.
    I…
    well.
    Speechless.
    Awesome.

  13. Thanks for the tips! Definitely will help me out once my hubby and I start adding little ones to the family!

    http://glitterandglambyjls.blogspot.com/

  14. I am so intrigued, I want to find this book pronto! I do some precooking and freezing but only with my Italian dishes….hmmm oh the possibilities!

  15. Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife says:

    WOW. That is insane! So encouraging to hear about..I am definitely going to have to start freezing more. Especially as we add more kiddos to the family!

  16. pk @ Room Remix says:

    I'm thinking that Bekki is one organized, motivated, talented woman! :-)