One of the reasons why once-a-month-cooking didn’t really work for me (beyond the insane amount of prep and assembly and cooking and cleaning time, and the piles and piles of dirty dishes) was that I didn’t feel I actually saved any money doing the meals. Don’t get me wrong, it was GREAT to have all the meals in the freezer! But in trying to get a variety of meats and meals, I could never find the majority of the ingredients I needed at good prices all at the same time, so I was paying full price for most of the ingredients. Bad planning on my part…
For me, I’ve really enjoyed doing much smaller meal “sessions” and I usually only focus on one or two main proteins. It allows me to make freezer meals based on what is on sale that week, and I feel like I DO save money this way.
For example, this week, Mission tortillas are on sale for $1.00 (the soft taco 8″ size) at Smith’s, and eggs are .88/dozen (or .79 if you have a Harmon’s close). So I stocked up on Wednesday, and I’ll spend a little time today or tomorrow doing some Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos (using tortillas and my canned chicken) and more breakfast sandwiches (using the eggs).
Another great recipe to do when tortillas are on sale? Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas! Yummy!! (And Old El Paso enchilada sauce was on sale at Harmon’s last week.)
Once you get an idea of the kinds of freezer meals that your family likes, and find the ones that you willing go back to time and time again, you can start watching for those ingredients to go on sale. When they do, pick up a few extras and keep them in your food storage. Then, when your main protein goes on sale and you’ve got some time to make a few meals, you can get your protein and then shop the other ingredients from your food storage! No need to do a big huge shopping trip because you have most of the ingredients already, and they were bought on sale!!