Certainly you have heard of OAMC or Once A Month Cooking. Sadly, while the idea is genius, I don't think it's for me. I like cooking too much to spend 1 or 2 FULL days a month cooking and every other night just popping something in the oven. However, I do give a big nod to the premise of OMAC for a bit of a saving grace.
Who hasn't been surprised by a sick child, a spouse that was called into work unexpectedly, the realization that 1 or 2 ingredients for the night's dinner have eluded you, a neighbor that needed a meal last minute, or even a long visit with a great friend that rolled right into dinner time? The fact is, things happen!
For my needs, I know that Ted has a lot of late clinical dates coming up (12 hours at a time for the day alone, without prep or post work) and over-nighters where he will be gone for 2-3 dinners per trip. And when those kinds of things happen I have no guarentee that Meredith will relinquish control of my leg as I helplessly shuffle around the kitchen with raw chicken hands. Dinner prep can quickly be seen spiraling down the drain.
So the idea of OMAC has been stewing in my head for months. I've been wondering how I can make it work for me. I think I finally figured it out and figured out the term for it. I'm a surprise freezer cooker. I sort of sneak up on my freezer, adding a meal here and a meal there until I have a nice stock pile.
The website Organized Home had some good tips that I liked and thought I'd share.
- Package the freezer meals first. ... Fill freezer containers before you serve the evening's meal. You'll have a tighter handle on portion control--and there will be no more scant cups of meatless sauce... (hanging out in the back of your freezer).
- Freeze casserole multiples before cooking. Twice-cooked casseroles are nobody's friend.
- I love this one! - Package properly. ... Invest in three or four same-sized oven-safe casserole dishes. Is it beef stew tonight? Spritz the dishes with pan spray, and line with a sheet of foil long enough to wrap completely around the food. Spray the foil, too, then ladle in the stew. Gently tuck the foil up over the food. Freeze overnight, then release the foil from the pan. Wrap, label and freeze in freezer bags. To use, pop a foil-wrapped entree into the casserole dish, thaw and re-heat. Simple!
- Track inventory. ... A small magnet-mounted whiteboard can be placed on the freezer door to track frozen assets. - When I was trying to keep track of food I just did a small list taped to the inside of my cabinet and crossed off what was gone and added new below.
Other than that I'm going to just double things that will freeze well when I am able. As long as I'm cooking, I might as well double the parts I can. Some things I know I can double and freeze are Shepherd's Pie, Sloppy Joes, Egg Rolls, and Mini Italian Turkey Burgers - all of which are so yummy! So far I have just done it with the burgers and egg rolls, but both were great.
Sounds kind of corny but I'm really excited to make a more conscious effort to fill my freezer. It's so nice to know that when something comes up, I don't have to worry about dinner. A nice back up plan or even go-to when I just don't feel like cooking.
If you have a great freezer recipe you'd like to share, let me know!