$5 Dinners and Freezer Cooking: A Guest Post

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Photo Source: Barb McMahon

Today’s post is brought to you by fellow mom and foodie, Erin Chase, also known as the $5 Dinner Mom. Erin recently wrote a book called The $5 Dinner Cookbook, a great complement to your arsenal of tools for crafting  good eats that fit the budget. Here Erin shares how her $5 Dinners can fit once-a-month-cooking methods.

I love to be in the kitchen. Everyday.

Sounds a little bit crazy, but I love the smells and the sights. I love having my children in the kitchen with me, teaching them about food and how if you blow on the bubbles as the pasta boils, the bubbles will disappear  — which is apparently quite impressive to little people!

Even those cooks who love to be in the kitchen need some time away! And that’s where I find OAMC or batch cooking, as I like to call it, comes in handy! There are always “those days.” You know the ones where you get held up at a doctor’s appointment and arrive home at 5:30 with no plan for dinner. And take out is no option.

OAMC, batch cooking, freezer cooking…whatever you want to call it…it can save the day!

Because I like to be in the kitchen regularly, I find that making larger batches of ingredients, like brown rice and dried beans, as well as doubling up meals, works best for me. I’ll double a recipe, eat half for dinner that night and freeze the other half for “one of those days.” Some of my favorite recipes from the cookbook that would do well in the freezer: Sloppy Chicken Joes (the chicken/sauce portion would freeze well) and Mini Meatloaves.

For recipe ingredients that I use regularly and take a long time to cook, like dried beans and brown rice, I prefer to make large batches and then freeze in meal size portions. When I go to make Cuban Black Beans and Rice or Tex-Mex Chili (both recipes can be found in The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook), I have the beans I need, or the rice ready to go. Keeps the time I spend in the kitchen to a minimum, and also helps reduce the dishes load as well!

I also regularly use the OAMC concept for baking and making snacks. Get it all baked and into the freezer in one day…then I can focus on making dinner each night for my guys!

— Erin Chase is the author of The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook and founder of $5 She lives with her husband and 3 little men in Dayton, OH.

Have you got a trick for once-a-month cooking that works at your house? Share it with us!

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  1. Love the logic and help you give us all Erin!

  2. hi erin, nice to see you here! congrats on the recipe book, that’s incredible. in addition to double batch cooking rice and beans as you do, I freeze fruit in the summer from pick your own orchards/farms. it’s a great way to spend time with the kids, and fills up the freezer. also, i just made my first batch of homemade veggie bouillon which is now in the deep freeze and will expedite soup and sauce making.

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