Tiny Red Kitchen: Should Making Dinner Take 4 Hours? YES! (Once a Month Meals Adventure)

I just spent three and a half hours making dinner.  Oh yes I did.  Most of it during nap time, so I wasn't managing toddler chaos and that helped. Lest you think I have lost my ever loving mind (after all, my shtick is I am lazy, right?) I'll confess I made TEN DINNERS in that chunk of time.  Spending  not much time overall, for what I accomplished.  The secret to making a bunch of dinners that 'fast'?  I finally subscribed to "Once a Month Meals" and tried their Mini Paleo Menu for September 2012.  I have one more week until my Diet Bet weigh in October 6th, so this week is all Paleo all the time.  For my first attempt, I am thrilled.  THRILLED.  And my back is a little sore.  

I have been curious about Once a Month Cooking  and even bought the book a year or two ago.  My friend Vida and I were going to cook together but I chickened out.  Or rather, I beefed out.  We do not usually eat a lot of meat so the meat laden entrees kind of grossed me out and I decided that it wan't going to work for me.  Now of course, doing Paleo makes the menus look better.  Once a Month Meals has Vegetarian, vegan and Diet menus too!  

I decided to commit and subscribe at the last minute of course.  I knew I was going to the grocery store of course and had already planned  lame spotty menu and grocery list.  I tossed it and signed up for OAMM.  THEN I proceeded to print off the directions, grocery list, and recipe cards.  It was easy to navigate, and I only [panicked a little bit when I realized I had to save the docs into google documents to adjust the family size for the menus, but it was fine.  I also didn't pay attention and am not so great at math...didn't realize until I got home from the grocery store I was making TWO OF EACH DINNER which is AWESOME.  I thought I was making five dinners, but I was making two of each for ten total.  BRILLIANT. 

Yeah, I'm kinda bad with meat and math, youda thunk when I bought TWO pork tenderloins I would realize it was for more than one family of four dinner.  NOPE.  Confused. Figured we were expected to eat A LOT of meat.  Whatever!

So I followed the tip of taping the recipe cards to the cupboards, BRILLIANT. I just did each step and other than a big ol pile of dishes I kept washing it was AWESOME.  There were some things, like the freezer baggie count felt wrong on one meal and on another the 12 mini meat loafs were more like 400 mini meat loafs by my measuring   And I didn't mix the chorizo and ground beef well enough so there were pockets of one then another.  Ah well.  I've never been a meatloaf girl anyhoo.

I loved that a few were low maintenance and the others had sauces etc to add in later.  I would like meal side dish suggestions but certainly can come up with my own.  If the FULL MEAL was all planned out and on the grocery list that would be nice, but this way I'll just bust out freezer veggies if I need a side.  

It didn't feel like three and half hours either.  From beginning the prep, including chopping (which they suggest you do the night before anyway) to all dishes washed and counters wiped down 3.5 hours...and I have TEN DINNERS!  I couldn't decide which we were going to have tonight, the herb crusted pork tenderloin got ousted to Wed and tonight we'll snarf down Bacon Wrapped Coconut Chicken Nuggets.    YEAH, doesn't that sound yummy?  Special thanks to Amy Hubbard who donated her leftover wooden skewers.....the ONE THING I forgot to buy at the grocery tore for today's Once  a Month Cooking adventure.  She saved me a THIRD trip to the store today.  (Maybe I'll invite her for dinner!)

This wouldn't work if you do not have half of your regular freezer empty, or even better a chest freezer.  We stockpile food like it's the end of the world, so our  small chest freezer is perfect.  And I cannot wait to eat the Thai Curry Beef Brisket, Fish Tacos and Chorizo Mini Meatloaves!  I am so glad I joined Once a Month Meals, it works better than the book would have too.  Everything is more portable and I didn't have to bring a book to the grocery store!

I promised I would take the girls to the park after I posted this.  I am trying to get them outside more since I am pretty bad about it.  And....the park is one fat block from our house.  Truly. My back is pretty tired and sore and I wanna just sit.  Ahhhh.....I wonder if I can bring a glass of wine with me?  Travel Mug?

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