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Freezer Cooking aka Once a Month Cooking (OAMC)

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  • Freezer Cooking aka Once a Month Cooking (OAMC)

    I couldn't find a thread on this already, but my apologies if this is a duplicate. I am interested in trying Once a Month Cooking (aka Freezer Cooking), where you do 80%-90% of the cooking for the entire month on one day, then freeze meal-sized portions to be thawed and re-heated throughout the month. Some items (hard boiled eggs, big ass salads) would still be done weekly/daily. The idea is to do however many different meal varieties you want for the month, and make a combined total of 30 dinners, 30 lunches, etc. (I might do 8-10 different varieties). Some people do a two-week version, or even just make a double/triple batch of a recipe and freeze the left-overs.

    Does anyone have experience with Freezer Cooking using only Primal dishes? Or just generally have good experience freezing and reheating specific types of primal dishes? There are a ton of websites out there about once a month cooking, but so many of the recipes are pasta based, bread based, etc. The reason I ask, is due to the freezer method. I have lots of great primal recipes that I make, but I just don't know what things will freeze well and not be bad when thawed (watery/mushy vegetables, freezer burned meat, etc., etc.). Curious if any other primal cooks out there have tried much freezer cooking?? I'd like to be able to have things fully cooked so the re-heating is possible in a microwave, at work, not something that needs to cook in the oven for an hour.

  • #2
    I batch cook, but not for an entire month. I do it weekly, which means I don't freeze it. My guess would be that everything would probably be fine, like stew, etc.

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    • #3
      i am not sure it is really a time saver. honestly, you would spend a whole day cooking, then every day you would have to spend some time reheating. crockpots are great, some recipes 5 minutes in a morning, 10 in the afternoon and you have 4-6 meals. Stir fry is incredibly quick if you have things sliced up ahead of time. I think the key is to reduce the total amount of time spent cooking. if you do freezer cooking where you spend the better part of a day cooking, then have to thaw and reheat every day, i bet over the course of a month you spend more tiem cooking than if you had planned and easy to prepare meals throug out the month.


      • #4
        Yeah, right now I cook once a week, too, and it takes me around 3 hours from start to finish. It is great, because then we just assemble a plate from the various options and nuke it for 3-4 minutes and we are good to go. I usually make 2-3 main dishes, 1-2 cooked veg dishes, and hard boiled eggs. Then, we have stuff for BAS on hand, as well. We both work full time, commute, and invest time in a side business during weekday evenings, so I'm really looking to reduce cooking from 4 Saturdays to 1 Saturday to streamline a little. We have, literally, about 30 minutes to eat in the evenings, and I want to spend most of that time actually eating, not cooking, even if it is quick, primal meals. The weekends are when we have time to cook, but I would still rather spend more time outdoors than cooking!

        I think I could do 4 weeks worth of food in 7-8 hours, as I would be making much of the recipes just 2-3x as large as I do now, and making about 2-3x as many recipes. I'm sure a lot of the meals would have common ingredients I could "process" once, use three times, etc. Also, since I would thaw meals in the fridge, in advance, the only time expended on weekdays would be the 3-4 minute microwave, per plate (2 of us) which is perfect time to set the table

        I think I'm going to try some of the following first: Chili (which is stew-like!), Green salsa chicken thighs (boneless), Beef roast (crockpot), and cabbage rolls stuffed with ground beef and canned diced tomatoes. Maybe just make a little extra during my weekly cooking, freeze one meal's worth of each, and then thaw a week later to see how the freezing worked.


        • #5
          Usually freezing problems include potatoes. I can't think of any primal meal that wouldn't freeze well.

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          • #6
            I think you'll be ok, maybe twice a month though? And, don't you enjoy fresh foods? Lots of things are pretty easy to throw together without much work.
            Any thoughts on the other PB stuff like playing, sleep, etc? If you don't have enough time to cook even once a week, I hope it's a temporary situation and not in any way permanent.
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            • #7
              i am in a similiar situation Ellen. I am a single dad, have 2 small kids, a job, house, and a side business. I really dont want to spent time cooking when I could be interacting with my children, we should share some ideas. Anymore many of my meals are single dishes that include meat and veggies.


              • #8
                Having always made large meals, I continue to do so even thouigh children no longer live at home. I make enough each time I cook, to freeze half or two thirds for a future meal when I might not feel like cooking or am running late with my work.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ellen View Post
                  I think I'm going to try some of the following first: Chili (which is stew-like!), Green salsa chicken thighs (boneless), Beef roast (crockpot), and cabbage rolls stuffed with ground beef and canned diced tomatoes. Maybe just make a little extra during my weekly cooking, freeze one meal's worth of each, and then thaw a week later to see how the freezing worked.
                  Just FYI re: cabbage rolls, traditionally they contain rice to help hold them together. I have had much better luck doing it lasagna-style, like this: You could definitely do it in the crock pot!
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                  • #10
                    Please share what you all find does/does not freeze well! (Does meat really taste good re-heated after being cooked then frozen? I've not done much of it...) Also, Ellen, would you share what the foods/dishes are that you currently make once a week that last so long and reheat well? I'm interested in doing some more batch type cooking--not necessarily even freezing, but doing cooking for multiple meals at once to be reheated a bit later...

                    My fave new meal is It sausage w/ onions and peppers cooked in marinara sauce. I slice up the sausage, sometimes sautee first w/ the peppers and onions, then toss them in the sauce to cook longer. This lasts for days if I make enough (although I usually don't and we eat it all within 2 days.) I'm thinking it would probably freeze well...

                    You may find this MDC thread helpful:

                    Paleo/Primal freezer meals/quick meals?

                    Some of the most helpful ideas from that thread:
                    'egg' muffins
           (similar to these, change spices/inclusions, lots of different tastes).

                    Crustless quiches/frittatas (similar to above, really, but I would <3 a quiche lorraine)

                    Cooked/shredded meat (chicken, pork, beef). Then split into bags, pour in whatever seasonings/sauces (bulgogi, chile verde, enchilada), freeze. Then just defrost and warm.



                    salmon patties

                    coconut based curries (mmm, yellow curry, green thai curry, etc)

                    sausage patties, precooked and flash frozen then put into a ziplock baggie)

                    beef stew

                    veggie pancakes
                    similar to:
                    with maybe something like arrowroot powder instead of flour to make it 'true' paleo? Or just adding eggs.

                    Stuffed cabbage leaves
                    similar to this, but will switch out rice with root veggies, plus lower tomato sauce so it's not as 'soupy':

                    No crust pizza
                    I made this one up, but it's similar to this one:
                    except no dairy, and tons more veggies on top, anchovies for dh's side, and I use tomato paste rather than sauce--makes it more pizza, less soup.

                    For the sides, I think I will go easy on myself and buy things like trader joe's greens mix, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, and fruits I can just pick up (grapes, berries, oranges) and eat, and, of course, nuts. Mmmm, nuts. :eat
                    meatballs (this recipe is very wet raw and leads to moist, light meatballs full of veg and yummy...I also like to make lamb based like this)
                    pancakes (banana-egg-cinnamon, coconut flour-based, almond flour-based)
                    muffins, snack "cakes" (I've made these and will soon try these recipes)
                    salami, snack sticks, hot dogs (these thaw quickly! we buy from US Wellness)
                    chicken nuggets (I made these with chicken thighs and almond meal like this...I froze a few cooked ones and they defrosted just fine...coating is a little soggy if you don't reheat, but still yummy)
                    chicken cordon bleu (directions here say you can freeze the raw rolls...)

                    And this fab blog is a pregnant/new mom squirreling away primal meals.
                    ETA: Also, has anyone mentioned curries? I'm thinking this awesome curry I make would freeze quite well.

                    Coconut Chicken Curry

                    1 onion, diced
                    3 tbs curry powder
                    1 tbs cumin
                    1 tbs garam masala
                    1 tsp ginger
                    1 tsp garlic powder+ 2 cloves garlic (I'm weird--do this however you want )
                    1 tbs lime juice

                    Cook together until onions are translucent, then add

                    1 can coconut milk (sometimes an extra half can is necessary)
                    1 cup bone broth
                    1-1.5 lbs skinless/boneless chicken breast or thighs, chopped into cubes
                    And you could use fresh, but for ease I tend to add
                    1 bag frozen cauli
                    1 bag of mixed veggies, usually zucchini, carrots, green beans and cauli
                    1 cup frozen peas (optional--not strictly primal)

                    With the liquids added, it should be somewhat soupy--everything should be under the liquid. Add more coconut milk and/or broth as needed to taste. (Sometimes I just add a little extra water.)

                    Bring to a boil then let simmer until chicken is cooked through.

                    Add salt and pepper to taste.

                    I like there to be lots of veggies in this, and have def. switched them up--most stuff works. I sometimes use frozen veggies when cooking soups/stews as I don't notice a huge difference and its sooooo easy (and sometimes, more nutrient dense than fresh as they were allowed to ripen on the vine and quickly frozen after, vs. produce that ripened on the floor of a truck on the way to my town.) The flavor will be a bit better w/ fresh, but just do whatever works for you!
                    Last edited by FairyRae; 09-21-2010, 06:45 AM.
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                    • #11
                      I do once a week or biweekly cooking for my lunches. I cook up a bunch of chicken in the oven. Divide it up into 6 ounce portions into containers, along with a mix of frozen veggies, olive oil, coconut oil and salsa. I take these to work each day and heat them up in a bowl for about 5 minutes. It's very convenient.


                      • #12
                        The Cauliflower Leek soup that was posted here in the forums earlier this week freezes well; I made some last night and froze it.
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                        • #13
                          I massively overcook on the weekend so, I'll can eat during the week. I have a freezer full of individual sized meal bags and I pull a couple of those out to eat every week. As I put it. "I cook for armies and if the army doesn't show up I have plenty of leftovers." Which also means that any time a friend happens by when I'm cooking, I always have food for them.


                          • #14
                            Me too. I pack lunch for two of us four days a week and so every weekend I cook up a pound of bacon, roast one whole chicken, oven roast or crockpot a roast, hard boil a dozen eggs, tear up fresh lettuce for salads, cook a bunch of greens, roast some root veges with bacon grease and make a batch of kale chips. Fish I do in the moment or defrost as needed. We have a lot of single servings of meat already cooked (grilled) in the freezer too. BAS's are a breeze and many combos for single dinners.


                            • #15
                              I've done batch cooking and its a huge time & money saver. Thai curry and marinated chicken, soups, quiches or frittatas-I did it with pasta & tortillas back then, but it was great having organic, homemade convenience food around.