If you are looking to save a ton of money and time, then consider the merits of bulk cooking. For many years I have cooked nearly all of our lunches and dinner for the week in five to six hours every Saturday morning. Allow me to share with you some reasons to cook in bulk,
*Note: This is a real photo of my dining room table and I cooked all the food on it in one day! *
Why Does Bulk Cooking Save Money?
BULK COOKING: eliminates"Fast Food Temptation"
If there is prepared food in the fridge or freezer, you really have no reason to resort to heading to a restaurant after a hard day's work. According to a 2016 article in Money Magazine, Americans now spend more money at restaurants than at grocery stores. Simply reversing this trend for your own family will save you money every single month.
BULK COOKING: allows you to customize your portion sizes
If you want that chicken and rice to last for two meals, just put it in two freezer bags and freeze it separately. If you only thaw one bag, no matter now much your ten year old claims to be "starving", you are hardly likely to go to the effort to thaw the second package for him. You will hand him a piece of fruit, a second helping of vegetables, or cheerfully reply, "Its all gone. But, you can go help your sister with the dishes now."
You must remember the rule of "boys and food": "Boys have an innate ability to consume any amount of food that you place in front of them." It's true! For boys, everything is a contest. Put 24 hotdogs on the table, and I guarantee you that you may deal with a lot of upset stomachs a few hours after mealtime, but they will consume every hotdog on that plate! So, package that food into meal-sized portions and only thaw what you want them to eat.
BULK COOKING: keeps you out of the store
Statistically speaking, the more often you shop, the more money you spend. There is an entire science based on getting you to spend more time and more money in stores. I took an advertising class when I was in college over 30 years ago. We studied a host of methods for getting customers to lay down their hard-earned dollars. Color, shape, texture, packaging, signage, product placement, end-caps, point-of-purchase sales: these words all spell one thing to national brands and grocery stores: M-O-N-E-Y!
BULK COOKING: ensures less food waste
Ask my kids to name my number one pet peeve and they are sure to reply, "Wasting food." I hate it!! My personal goal is to throw out no more than 3% of our food. As a result, I make certain that I know exactly what I have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. Before I even begin making a list of recipes or shopping for ingredients, I inventory these areas and make a list of "available ingredients". Then, I base that week's menus on what I already have in the house. This truly helps me spend less money in two ways: 1) Using fresh produce before it rots. 2) Using items in my pantry that have been sitting on the shelf for a while. If you don't know you have it, you won't use it.
Don't Be Intimidated!
Finally, don't be intimidated by books that tout the wonders of Once a Month Cooking. If you have this amount of organization and energy, then go for it. But, if the mere thought of this level of cooking raises your anxiety (it does mine) then, consider giving once-a-week cooking a try. Another method, which is very successful and less stressful is doubling every recipe that you make. Use one portion that night and freeze the other for another night. It's easy, doesn't take any extra time, and works wonders for starting a stockpile of frozen entrees!
What about you? Have you tried once-a-month or once-a-week cooking? Did it work for you? Do you have any thoughts or tips to add to my list? I'd love to hear from you. Be sure to leave a comment below.
Do all to the glory of God,