With autumn coming faster than a speeding bullet along with school for almost the entire family (4 in college including my husband and my youngest doing high school at home)~ not to mention more fencing classes for me to start teaching~ I knew it was time to put together meals for our freezer that would allow us to eat food that comes without someone asking "do you want fries with that?" I got out my trusty Once A Month Cookbook by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg~ the first (and actually only) freezer meal cookbook I've ever owned~ and started looking for recipes I would want to make for this month. I have been doing OAMC on and off for about 15 years. It pretty much got a bit boring after a few years, so I stopped doing it, but I seem to go back to it when our schedules are crying out for good food made easy!! I haven't perfected the system, but I have figured out how to morph meals into the OAMC genre. There are quite a few family favorites from the cookbook that I pulled out this time as well as some others that I've collected/made up over the years. I've decided this time to only make dinners for the week nights as I have so many new recipes I've been wanting to try~ this way I can make sure I am keeping my culinary skills honed as I cook during the weekends.
Saturday morning dawned early as I finished the last of my grocery lists~ that's right, I said "lists" as in more than one. This was due to the fact that I was planning on cooking 18 dinners on Tuesday as well as planning on a weeks worth of camping food. The kids and I hit the Salem Saturday Market to get the few items we didn't get in our CSA box from Gardenripe the week before then ran downtown to try to break our fasts with coffee and goodies from Little Cannoli Bakery. Imagine my distress when we got there to find a sign that said they were closed~ for good. Of course, the good news is that Joann, the owner's mom, was there and she told us Tim had not closed for good, but instead had relocated to South Salem at his new place, Bakery D'Amour. That is great news for those of us in Salem who love everything that comes out of the bakery! We ended up tyring to save time by hitting the downtown Great Harvest. I wasn't too disappointed as I tried a coconut rum cookie that was delicious!! Then we were on to United Grocers (a.k.a. Cash & Carry) to grab a few more things before heading back home to finalize what else we'd need before Tuesday's cooking craziness.
The boys and I spent most of the day scouring the supermarket shelves Monday (except the time I was actually at work for 4 1/2 hours teaching and running a Salem Middle School Fencing League Parent Orientation~ what was I thinking??). At least the evening was an enjoyable way to hang out with my teenage boys~ even if it included an interesting time at Winco as the boys entertained what seemed like half of the store with their rendition of "supermarket stomp" in the bulk section! Finally, I was done with all the shopping for our Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) adventure as well as most of our camping food!
The alarm went off at what seemed way too early, but I got up to start cooking anyway! After starting a pot of Italian Roast, I got going on Grandma Pitalo's (paternal grandma) spaghetti sauce. This takes at least 3-4 hours to get a really good flavor, so I knew it needed to be the first thing going. I had it bubbling on the stove by 7 o'clock (that would be a.m.), and I was on a roll~ especially since the next thing on the list was Grandpa Aziz' (maternal grandpa) pizza dough. After a bit, Mary got up and helped put together the calzones. David was up a little bit later and he did many of the dishes as did my "adopted" daughter, Danielle, who came over about noon to help out too. It went by pretty fast as we ended up getting the 18 dinners done by 2:30 p.m.I decided to reward the kids (and myself, if I have to be honest) by running up to EZ Orchards for shortcake plus I wanted to pick up some fruit for the upcoming camping trip. I know I could've made shortcake, but theirs is really good~ plus we were all a little tired from being in the kitchen all morning!!
The kids also decided to make stuff to get ready for camping that afternoon when we got back. Mary made oatmeal banana chocolate chip cookies while David started working on chocolate toffee s'more cookies. Danielle decided to work on one of our camping breakfasts with oatmeal huckleberry scones. The kitchen smelled divine!!
We usually end up going out or ordering pizza on cooking night, but I decided to use the tomatillos we had gotten in our CSA box to make up some salsa verde. I found a wonderfully simple salsa recipe that I was able to tweak just a bit with stuff I had at home. I then made some chalupas with small corn tortillas, turkey, queso fresco and sour cream. They were amazing! The cheese was really exciting for Mary and I because it tasted so close to what we had in Ecuador. The tortillas were so good plus they were fun to use as they are only 4" round~ I had picked them up at Cash & Carry just because they were cute, and we ended up using a bunch of them- I love when stuff comes together!!
I can't wait to be able to pull out a meal from the freezer instead of having to decide what to cook at the last minute for at least a few weeks. If this works out as well as I think it will, I am pretty sure that we'll be OAMC for the rest of the school year!