That question stares many women in the face every day whether she works full-time outside or inside the home (or some combination of the two.) Dinner often feels like a mission to be conquered and quite frankly, we don’t always feel like cheering “mission accomplished!” while we clean up!
After facing this frustration for the ten thousandth time seven years ago, I decided that there had to be a better solution. I had no idea then that the frustration I felt, and an idea I discovered, would be a catalyst toward a life-saving way to think about getting dinner on the table.
The scenario I envisioned: What would it be like to have 10 to 20 meals in my freezer, ready to heat and eat? Wonderful! But would cooking all that in one session cause too much stress to make it worth it?
Before you skip the rest of the article because you’ve heard of one-a-month cooking, hang on. When I first heard those words and actually looked at the book, the idea seemed good but just too daunting to tackle. Who could cook that much at one time? However, I decided to try it with my own spin, and it worked out really well. Here are some ideas you might want to try:
- Make a list of dishes your family enjoys, even ones you haven’t fixed in a long time. (It’s important to make meals you WILL want to eat.)
- Think through the list not with “Will it freeze?” but with “What is the most labor intensive part of this recipe?”
- Make a plan to handle the most intensive parts of these favorite dishes in your prep/cooking session, which in many cases, will make the components easy to freeze anyway.
Here is just one example. Our family enjoys Chicken Divan. When I cook this for the freezer, I do all the parts that make it impossible to make quickly on a typical evening. There is chicken to cook and shred, broccoli to cook and drain, and then the assembly of it into a casserole. Once that’s done, it still needs to go into the oven for 30–45 minutes! But that is the part that is not necessary before freezing. You freeze the casserole after it’s already put together which leaves just the cooking part for the day you take it from freezer.
I’ve enjoyed this process for years—many times teaming up with a friend to make cooking/prepping day even more fun. You can modify the concept to fit your time and family size. However you do it, I’ll bet the resulting ease on busy weekdays will make you want to do it again and again.
by Karina Whisnant, Board Certified Christian Life Coach