Saturday, September 17, 2011

Once A Month Cooking -Edition 2

So awhile ago I mentioned how I started doing "Once a month cooking".  And a lot of you have been reading that post.  So I thought I would do a little update.

This summer (which now seems to be over already - but I refuse to turn on the heat yet.  Just can't do that when it is still technically summer.  Must move soon) I didn't do it as much because we just ate whatever came out of the garden.  But it seems that those days are over.  So back to OAMC.

I have made the following since the last post:
Gnocchi: I love gnocchi.  This recipe bakes it instead of boiling, and I really liked the results.  It made a ton, and now can easily have single serving dinners ready in no time.  I make a sauce from this recipe to go with it.
Empanadas: I used this as an idea, but really make any empanadas you like.  I use pie dough rolled thin as the crust because I don't have time to make it.  I can make about 12-16 empanadas from 2 pie crusts that come in the box.  And if you haven't made emapanadas - you should.  Quick and easy.  Put whatever you like inside of it.  I like black beans/cheese/veggies.  Or mushrooms/goat cheese/spice.  Or kohlrabe/potato combos.
Cauliflower penne: Think of this as a grown up mac n cheese.  This is one of my favorites.  Takes a bit time, so makes for a great freezer recipe because it is the number of steps that takes time.  Easy to make it in bulk.  I just freeze it before I bake it - so will need more time to bake or thaw it first.  Seriously try it.  My brother who has to have meat with every meal loved it! And he didn't need meat for that meal:)

Baked penne: I don't have a recipe for this as I just make it up every time.
A box of penne - boil until al dente
16 oz of ricotta
A ball of mozzarella (I like to use the balls and rip it up instead of using the pre shredded stuff)
A ton of tomatoes or a jar of sauce.  I used fresh tomatoes - score them, drop them in the boiling water before you cook the pasta- remove after a minute and plunge into ice water.  Then the skins peel right off. Chop them up.
1 egg
Spices - I like basil and fresh oregano

Once the pasta is cooked and drained - add everything else to the pot and mix with the pasta.  Once everything is a bit melted, pour into 8x8 pans.  Cook in 400 F oven for 25-30 minutes -until cheese is bubbling.
I freeze one tray and then thaw it before cooking.

Kabocha Soup
Vegetable korma: This makes an absolute ton of food.  I really liked it.  It says it makes 16 servings - I think it makes more than that.  So cut it in half if you are a bit nervous the first time!
Curry tofu quesadillas:  I don't really like tofu, but this was excellent.  Don't get the "tofu" taste but adds protein.  I just froze the leftover mix, and will thaw it and add to fresh tortillas.
Kabocha coconut curry soup: So so good.  The corn/cilantro relish makes the soup!  I use fresh corn for it.  Just slice off the cob and boil for a few minutes.  I also add a bit dollop of sour cream when serving.  Freezes great - just make the relish when you want to serve it.  I freeze soups in 1 qt mason jars as that is the perfect amount for 2 adult dinners.
Beet, rhubarb, orange salad
Roasted beet, rhubarb, orange salad: Oh my goodness. So good.  Fresh beets and rhubarb from the garden.  But I roasted and froze a bunch of beets, and will freeze some raw rhubarb to make again!
Chocolate chip zucchini bread: Had a giant zucchini from the garden. I got 4+ cups of zucchini from it.  So made half into bread and then shredded the remaining and froze it for another day.  For all recipes that say to use oil, I always use applesauce or yogurt.
Pumpkin chocolate chip bread: This is for muffins, but I am too lazy.  I made it into 2 bread loaves.  Cooked at 350 for 45 minutes or so - just watch it and test for doneness.

I think I made some other stuff, but can't remember.  So that's the update for now!

Do you ever do something that you think is so clever that you just smile about it every time you remember what you did?  Well I had one of those moments.  After making all this food, I throw it place it nicely in the crates in the freezer.  And then I have to remember what is in there.  I saw other people hang a whiteboard/chalk board near the freezer and list everything that is in there.  So I decided to make my own version.

What's in my freezer? 
And guess what?  That isn't a whiteboard.  It occurred to me that I could probably write right on the freezer.  And I did -and it does erase off.  And these little markers have built in magnets and erasers.  So this is actually the side of my freezer.  And color coded.  And don't worry - when it says "ground beef" it is actually just my homemade substitute.  I haven't secretly started eating meat.  Well other than what I mentioned here.
I'm so clever;)
So now you can go cook a ton, and remember what you made once it is in the freezer.


  1. Very clever indeed... the question is do I have time to accomplish such a feat with a baby due in six weeks and will my children erase the list?

  2. I would make about 3 meals in one setting - usually took a few hours. And did this a few weekends, and then all of a sudden the whole freezer was full. Maybe the girls could help prep some of the food and help assemble. But it has made weeknight meals so easy! And as for wiping off the list -hope you have a good memory! Our's is in the garage so no chance of that.