My dad hates leftovers. When Danny was finishing his bachelor’s degree, and we were living with my parents, we all took turns cooking. Danny and I had two days a week. During that time, it was just us, no kids, my parents, and my younger sister. My dad, I soon found out, hates leftovers (except roast beef or spaghetti). He would eat it the first time, but if it was produced from the fridge for an encore performance, he would snub it. Valentine’s Day 2002, while still living with my parents, Danny and I were particularly poor. Our $300 monthly income from ROTC went to my parents for rent/groceries. The student loans we were living off of went for diapers for our brand-new baby and gas for the car. Valentine’s Day was my turn to cook, Danny would be late with classes, and I was recovering from gall-bladder surgery just three days before. I really wanted to do something special. I searched online researching frugal ideas when I came across Once a Month Cooking. One of the sites that piqued my interest called it “Freezer Cooking”. So I decided to experiment with Danny’s favorite meal: lasagna. Now, if we had been living on our own, I wouldn’t have experimented with such an expensive dinner. But my parents were paying for the food and had most of the ingredients already. I prepared two pans in the same amount of time it would’ve taken one. Dad was none the wiser when we had lasagna again the next month. It was new, not leftover.
If a 9x13 pan leaves your family with leftovers, do what we now do. I prepare four 8X8 pans of lasagna instead of two 9x13 pans on cooking day. When it’s time for lasagna, I serve it up with plenty of vegetables or salad, and homemade soft Italian breadsticks on the side.
My mom took a recipe for a 9x13 chicken tortilla casserole and split it into 4 meals for my dad and her.
Do you have a slow week? Plan on cooking triple meals on two of the nights this week.
Your OAMC challenge this week is to do one of the following:
1. Double or triple one freezer-worthy dinner within the next week.
2. Take a favorite family recipe and freeze a single portion to see if it freezes and reheats well.
3. Make a list for yourself with the pros and cons of OAMC.
My OAMC goal January 2007: stock new freezer with 6 weeks of dinners. If accomplished by month’s end, make a full batch of brownie bites (to be frozen of course).