Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Attempt at Once A Month Cooking (June)

 Once A Month Cooking is something I've always wanted to try.

I am always on the go/working/busy and eating healthy is at the top of our list lately.

I found this great once a month cooking site that offered a "whole foods" menu.  A new menu for each month.  My goal was to try this months menu (June) and if all went well I'd jump on the bandwagon and try to do this every month....

So here's how it went, and I'll add in my after thoughts at the bottom.

The list of ingrediants was nearing 4 pages long!!!  I hit 3 stores and tried to bargain buy where I could.  In the end, we still didn't find everything on the list and hubby had to stop and grab even more ingredients I was short on today as I was cooking.

The night before:

We spent a good 2-3 hours cutting, mincing, dicing, quatering, etc. all the ingredients to make cooking day a little easier.
 I got a late start after having to shop most of the evening for all the ingredients.  I had to get the yogurt going so it could sit and strain over night.  So I set my alarm for 1:45am to get up and do the 3rd step in the yogurt culture process.  Already, that was not such a fun thing to do.

Cooking Day:

I started my cooking at 9am

 This is what I started with:
Whole grain cornbread, pizza dough, apricot jam, and handmade taco seasoning.
So far so good.
Also got my yogurt straining by this point in the fridge.

The rest is kind of a blur!  I took photos of most but not all of the finished products.

This I am really looking forward to trying:
 This was the filling and the dough rising before the assembly

 Oh my gosh, they look so good!!  And smelled so good too!

Chicken salad, kabobs, and one of the 5 white pizzas

So here are my thoughts...
Would I do this again?  Not exactly.  Would I try once a month cooking again, yes, would I do it the way I did it today?  NO.  Here's why:
1st - I felt like I had to follow the recipes step by step and I would adapt things to work better and quicker for me
2nd - I wouldn't do this "whole foods" menu again.  I could have saved a whole lot of time NOT making all the dough, ravioli from scratch, taco seasoning from scratch, and SO MUCH more that I could have purchased some good quality items that would have saved me a lot of time and money even.
3rd - I wouldn't do a whole month's worth of meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) I'd probably stick with just dinners.  Lunch is easy for all of us to get (leftovers, pasta, tuna, sandwiches, salads).  Breakfasts, we are all pretty happy with yogurt, fruit, cereal, bagels - we don't really need fancy breakfasts.  
Dinners are what I worry about most though, so a month worth of dinners would be nice to have stashed in the deep freezer
4th - I'd pick a much more toned down menu.  Many of the ingredients on this menu were gourmet, so much so that I went to three different stores with no luck on a few items.  Gourmet = $$$$$
Had I read through the recipes a little closer I would have probably substitute a lot of these items for a lower dollar comparable product.

I think that after this experince, I have no desire to do this again - anytime soon anyway.

What I do plan to do...
Stick with our family's favorite meals and double the recipes on nights when I am cooking.  This will slowly stock my freezer with meals I know we'll eat and enjoy, and also not really add much time to when I am already cooking dinners at home.

12 Hours later (cooking marathon) I still have to make the yogurt pops and the coconut crusted chicken.  Both of these will have to wait as, like always, our schedule is busy the next few days.  So not sure this whole day spent cooking was worth the effort.  We shall see.  I may blog about how each recipes was as well.  Tomorrow night on the menu is the White Pizza.