In response to the comment from Renee', yes, I still do Once A Month Cooking. There's quite a satisfaction in seeing my grocery bill cut in half by pre-planning my month's dinners, breakfasts and goodies. (I like to tell Danny, "Do you realize we are feeding our family for the same price a family half the size does?" Isn't that SO AWESOME?!) The task in itself becomes easier after you have a good list of what your family eats. It is even easier if you have the recipes entered into a program so you can print out the ingredients and compare them to your pantry before shopping day. When it comes time to make my list of meals, I pull out a spiral notebook and create a few sections: chicken meals, beef meals, soups, breakfasts, desserts. Or I pull out an old list and decide if I'm going to repeat it or think of different choices. Then the family chimes in on their preferred meals and I fill in the sections.
It is very rewarding. If I'm too tired to cook, I already have ready meals. If I have unexpected company, I have plenty to provide. If a neighbor has a new baby, I can bring over dinner and dessert and have time to make a card. It saves me time. It saves me money. It saves my sanity.
An even easier method I like to use is buying large amounts of meat and precook it. If boneless-skinless chicken breasts were on sale, I'd buy 30. Then I could cook them in the oven, chop them, and bag them in two cup increments. Or ground beef goes on sale, I'd buy 10+ pounds and cook it up with chopped onions and bag them in 1 lb. increments. Then when OAMC-day comes, it is waaaaaaaaay easier. I would just be assembling meals and hardly heating my kitchen at all.
I like to cook. I like to bake. But I don't like to feel like a slave to the kitchen. I don't like to hear "What's for dinner?" and not have a response. Recently we had an Enrichment group from church do a cooking class on 30-minute meals. That's exciting and an improvement for many families, but if all your dinners were 30-minute meals, you'd still be spending 30 minutes EACH DAY on cooking them. That's 15 hours a month just cooking dinner. And that doesn't count clean-up time for each day. Pre-planning your menus cuts down on waste. Every onion, every piece of chicken has been counted and planned for. And doing OAMC provides you the opportunity to buy bulk packages (generally cheaper per ounce).
I highly recommend the book "Dinner is Ready" by Deanna Buxton. And I just found out she's created more books. So I'm headed over to her site right now to learn more.