I had my 2nd foray into batching cooking today using a different menu planning website than the first time I did this a month ago. Instead of using www.20dishes.com, I used https://onceamonthmeals.com.
My goal is to cook enough at one time so I only have to cook once/month. 20dishes is great for doing a weekly prep in one hour but I wanted a service more geared towards prepping and cooking once every 4 weeks or so instead of weekly.
This meant learning yet another app which took getting used to. I LOVE the recipe builder in 20dishes; once I got used to the recipe builder in onceamonthmeals, I was okay, but it didn't feel as intuitive as 20dishes.
In 20dishes, I could visualize the whole week: the main course AND the sides for each. With onceamonthmeals, I had one menu for the entrees and a different menu for the sides. It just took getting used to.
I did, however, find the perfect use for my microwave (which came with the house when we bought it). It's a perfect "prep sheet" holder!! It's important to hang your prep sheets close to where you're working and in this case, it was right over my stovetop.
The entrees I made this time include:
- Turkey with gravy (a no-brainer using left over turkey)
- Turkey and Sweet Potato patties (again, a no-brainer)
- Shepherd's Pie
- Ground Beef Hash
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage & Brussel Sprouts
- Rosemary Pork Roast with Fall Veggies
- Creamy Slow Cooker Thyme Chicken
- Orange Rosemary Salmon
The sides I made:
- Roasted Wedge Potato Fries
- Steamed Broccoli
- Sauteed onion and Brussel Sprouts
- Sauteed Zuchhini & Onions
- Butternut Squash - baked
Prep work continued on the morning of cooking day: more chopping and dicing and slicing. I used the food processor more this time which was great. It was a life-saver!
I liked that onceamonthmeals has you doing quite a bit of prep work the evening before.
The squash was cooked, the ground beef was browned, and lots of veggies had been sliced in the food processor. This took about an hour the night before cooking day.
I kept cooking: sauteeing, baking, etc. Finally, I had lots of the pieces to the meals all prepared. I was ready to plate!!
Still, this isn't for the faint of heart. This is only one counter in my kitchen when I was finished.
I must say: having two people is super important!! My husband was busy with other projects so I did more of the prepping and cooking by myself this time. It definitely tacked on more time. I started at 10:20am and didn't finish cleaning the kitchen until 3:00pm!
Thankfully, my husband is super at clean-up so that went quickly.
Here it is 15 minutes later!!
This definitely took me more time, however, I made a lot more food.
Overall, I spent $146.60 - NOT including the turkey!! I made 48 meals so each meal is $3.05. All of the meat was local, free-range, and pastured. About 75% of the vegetables were organic. We have enough meals so I'm thinking I won't have to cook again until mid to late January since we'll be eating out some, as well.
As far as the two apps I used: I'm going to continue with onceamonthmeals because it suits me better, however, I really loved 20dishes and their menu builder. Both services are great, however, the onceamonthmeals is less expensive per month ($27 vs $10). Both give discounts if you sign up for a year.
There you have it!! I'm definitely tired, but it was well worth the effort. I'd love to hear from you if you give batch cooking a try!!