Five Kids in Six Years, No Multiples. Our House is Always Crazy, Rarely Quiet, and Full of Love.

Five Kids in Six Years, No Multiples. Our House is Always Crazy, Rarely Quiet, and Full of love.

OAMC ages like wine…

…it gets better with time. Okay so it’s more like you get better at OAMC with time. My first experience with OAMC, once a month cooking, was back at the end of October. It took all day for me to prepare 27 meals, but I learned a lot [like stuffing manicotti shells with a beef mixture takes a long time] and we had a freezer full of meals. I took the whole day off [from my business] to cook, and even though I was utterly exhausted at the end of the day, I felt it was worth it. Now, half a year later, I’m getting smarter about OAMC and enlisting my crock-pot’s help. This month, I have spaced the OAMC tasks out a bit more. Instead of cooking on only one day, I cooked on two days, for about 2 hours each time. When I compare this to cooking all day from sun up to sun down, four hours is much more manageable and productive. Plus, I was able to do most of the work while the kids were napping [which helped intensify my productivity].

When I did my first ever OAMC cooking day, I specifically used recipes from a cookbook that were designed for being frozen. The recipes gave instructions for cooking day, instructions for packaging & freezing and the final instructions for serving the dish. Experience has now allowed me to be able to look at most recipes and figure out the cooking day, freezing & serving plan. So this month, I picked meals out of The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook, for my cooking days. Here are the 10 meals I chose to prepare this month {I make three of each meal for a total of 30 meals}:

I’ve linked up to the recipes I could find at the cookbook’s website, 5dollardinners.com, but apparently the rest are exclusive to the cookbook. I’ve listed the page numbers next to the meals, if you have happen to have the cookbook. And I’ve marked *CP next to the dishes that use a crock-pot.

Cooking Day 1 :: I didn't get pictures of the veggies I prepped.

On the first cooking day, I cooked a whole chicken in the crock-pot. This gave us chicken for dinner, and enough chicken leftover to make two whole meals with sour cream enchiladas [which I love]. I also prepped most of the vegetables I had purchased for meals – either freezing them or storing them in the fridge until I’d combine them with other ingredients on the second day.

Cooking Day 2 :: Eight pounds of cooked ground beef, sweet mashed potatoes and that night's dinner, Bacon Wrapped Apple Chicken, in the crock-pot.

On the second day, I cooked up 8 pounds of ground beef, made mashed sweet potatoes [that I divided into meal portions], made an apple BBQ sauce [that I split into meal portions], made ready-for-the-crock-pot bags of chili, filled freezer bags with shepherd’s pie goodies and divided larger packages [of things like bacon] into meal-sized portions and froze it all.

Overall, both cooking days were extremely productive and I found I was less stressed by spreading the cooking period over a couple days, instead of trying to get it all done in one day. By splitting up the time, I did not have to take a whole day away from my business. Plus, the crock-pot meals are really helpful this month, especially on nights we go to the gym. I can wake up, place the meal in the crock-pot and when we get back from the gym that night, the crock-pot has automatically switched to warm [I love the timer] and dinner is ready. I don’t have to think about what I can cook quickly after we get back from the gym. And I also created a scheduled meal plan, so that I can look at the schedule and see if I need to set anything out to thaw the night before. Now if only I did the same thing for lunch…

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