‘Cook Once, Eat Twice’ Method Of Cooking

by Tammy Taylor

Many of us have something in common – we desperately want to serve our families healthy homemade meals but we’re being stretched in so many ways it’s often hard to find the time to do so. With good intentions we buy those healthy foods only to run out of time when the supper hour nears.  With hungry mouths to feed we give up & grab a quick drive-through meal instead.

The result is significantly more expensive and also less healthy than a home-cooked meal would be but whaddya do??  This dinnertime rush was a common problem for me years ago but things changed for me when I discovered the “Cook Once Eat Twice” method of cooking.  The idea is simple – cook LOTS of a specific food and enjoy it for the meal that day, then portion out & freeze the rest for quick meals later.  It’s been a game-changer for me.

COOK-ONCE, EAT-TWICE. No Need To Cook From Scratch Every Day, You Can Have Home-Cooked Meals Easier. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Here’s an example – recently I decided I was really in the mood for Wild-Game Savory Meatloaf – one of my favorite meat dishes made with lean ground pork from the wild hogs RancherMan harvests.   I can fit four loaf pans in my oven at the same time so I mixed up the meatloaf & filled the oven to capacity. In making my meatloaves I was able to use up several pounds of  meat from the freezer and turn it into delicious meals for both now & later.

RancherMan & I enjoyed the meatloaf for supper that night and of course I had to put a few servings in the fridge so he could enjoy meatloaf sandwiches, but the rest was sectioned up into meal-sized servings, each serving placed in a repurposed plastic bag (have I mentioned lately how much I HATE plastic bags & make sure to reuse them at least once before recycling or throwing away??).

Each of these meal-sized bags of meatloaf are then placed in a zippered freezer bag for freezer protection and a label is inserted  inside the freezer bag to identify the contents.  I can pull out a dinner serving of meatloaf and either use it as meatloaf or crumble it into the meat for spaghetti, tacos, etc.  How versatile!

The real beauty of this method of cooking is that all those food-preparation dishes like knives, spoons, cutting boards, mixing bowls, etc were only dirtied once.  Plus the oven was only fired up once saving both energy and time, yet we have about 10 meals worth of meatloaf waiting in the freezer for us to enjoy over the next several weeks.  I use this same procedure with other main entrees such as pork roast, stuffed bell peppers, homemade ravioli, etc.

COOK-ONCE, EAT-TWICE. No Need To Cook From Scratch Every Day, You Can Have Home-Cooked Meals Easier. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Now that I have all those different homemade entrees in the freezer, making dinner will be a snap.  When I’m planning supper for the next day I check out the contents of my main-entree drawer in my freezer to see what’s already cooked for us to enjoy.   I’ll decide what sounds good, pull out the main entree I’m planning for the following day’s meal and place it in the fridge to thaw overnight.

The next day when I’m preparing supper I simply heat the main entree, add a couple of vegetable sides and voila – homemade in minutes!  I’m also able to save quite a bit of money by using food I’ve already purchased and the meals are homemade so they’re significantly more healthy than commercially-prepared foods.

How do you streamline the dreaded rushed supper hour?

~TMH~

 

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51 thoughts on “‘Cook Once, Eat Twice’ Method Of Cooking

  1. Pingback: Wild Game Recipe: Savory Ground Pork Meatloaf

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  3. Nikki @ Growing Up Mom

    This is great, we do something similar where we usually make double of items we can use in other recipes. Whenever I make mashed potatoes or rice, I always make double. This way I have the base for a sheppards pie, fried rice, rice pudding, you name it. I also love finding cool ways to turn leftovers into new meals, like turning boiled dinner into corned beef hash. By the way, you totally have me craving meatloaf sandwhiches. I totally need to make meatloaf now. Thanks for the menu item for next week!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Ok Nikki, now my making you crave meatloaf sandwiches has made ME now crave meatloaf sandwiches!! 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  4. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    While I love the idea of Once A Month Freezer Cooking, I never seem to find the time to accomplish that task. Instead, I have found that the Cook Once, Eat Twice method has worked wonders for me. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  5. Danielle

    I love the cook once eat twice (or three or four times) method of cooking. When I make spaghetti sauce or soups I use this all the time! We store most of our leftovers in large yogurt containers, since our daughter eats so much we have lots of containers left over. Thanks again for linking up with Idea Box!

    Reply
  6. JES

    Yes, I try and do this too! Great tip! We also like to make a large batch of coleslaw or green salad to last the week (or at least part) for the side dishes.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      It’s sure streamlined our supper routine Jendi, and allowed me to be able to serve healthy homemade meals in a flash – hugely important when the day’s been long & grueling. ~TMR~

      Reply
  7. Ashleigh

    Happy Tuesday and thank you for sharing…such a good idea! You can never have enough meatloaf. Have a wonderful week and please come share and link up with me, live now! xx Ashleigh @SimplyWright http://www.wrightsimply.com/2015/03/those-messy-leprechauns-wordless.html

    Reply
  8. Elle Mental

    Great Idea! It is so much nicer to have choices at your finger tips without having to do all the prep for a meal at the end of a long day. Since we are vegan, I do something similar, but instead of preparing a meat main course, I do all the cutting, chopping, grating and slicing of vegetables, put them in individual snap top plastic containers and put them in a larger container that holds all the small ones. This fits on the shelf under the cheese draw in my fridge. We call it the salad box. When I am ready to prepare a salad for lunch, all I do is tear the greens, put them in the bowl and then set the salad box out and my husband and I can compose our own salads from the contents of the box, (plus any other goodies in bottles and jars in the fridge, like olives and sundried tomatoes), there is no muss no fuss and food is on the table in a snap! When it is time to prepare dinner, I pull the salad box out again and put whatever ingredients I need from the box into my dinner preps. I fill it 2-3 times a week, each week there will be different things in it, one week shredded red cabbage, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, shredded carrots, broccoli florets, slivered red onions, cherry tomato halves, and artichoke hearts, another time it would be shredded, cabbage, snow peas, water chestnuts, oriental baby corn, half moons of carrots, and mushrooms. I make my own dressing according to what kind of salad veggies we are having. Since veggie preps can be time consuming, this is very helpful when I come in from the garden tired and hungry, needing to fix dinner! Oh By the way I gave you a shoutout and posted a link to your blog on my blog 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Wow – love the shout-out ElleMental – and love your broth instructions too. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  12. Rachel Rockwell

    What a great idea! I have to admit that I don’t plan dinners very well so I need to try this!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I’m not a big meal planner either Rachel, that’s why it works so well for me. I just bring out the main entree the night before to thaw in the fridge. A couple of sides and maybe some fruit and BOOM! Dinner is served. 😉 ~TMR~

      Reply
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  14. Sandra

    Great tips!! Cooking for a large family I love to keep things simple! Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre hop!

    Reply
  15. Jenny Marie

    I need to do this, now that we are into summer I hate to heat up the house cooking. This will really save my cooling bill. Hopped over here from Tuesday with a Twist

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Well glad you stopped by Jenny Marie! Today the sun came out & I’m taking full advantage of it – the clean laundry is hanging on the line, a container of sun tea is being made and I’m infusing some vinegar (that I use for hair rinse) with rosemary & mint. Sometimes just thinking outside the box can make for lots of easy ways to keep that heat outside where it belongs. ~TMR~

      Reply
  16. Pure Grace Farms

    Awesome, my kind of women, thinking ahead and saving some time. Pinning for later and in the freezer they’ll go! Blessings, Shari

    Reply
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  18. Kathy

    I love cooking meatloaf in batches – it is such a wonderful idea! I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday, Kathy

    Reply
  19. Joy @ Yesterfood

    This is a wonderful idea (especially since it involves meatloaf- yum!); so organized, and like you said, certainly more environmentally friendly. And here in Texas, the less you have to turn on the stove, the better. Nine months out of the year, anyway. 😉 I am so glad you linked this up with us at Treasure Box Tuesday. I also loved your post about solar cooking- again, in Texas where we have sun almost year-round, it would be a shame not to use solar cooking. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I agree Joy – the fewer times you have to turn on the oven here in Texas (especially in the summer) the better! ~TMR~

      Reply
  20. Lydia Larae

    This is such a great idea. I’ve been using the crock pot a lot lately since it always feels like theres so much going on when its time to make dinner, it kind of bumps all the cooking work to earlier in the day. But this, this is BRILLIANT! If I only had to cook dinner every other day, think of all the time I’d have….Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  21. diann @ The Thrifty Groove

    I have been doing this for years as well. i need to have a big cooking weekend soon because Spring is here and this is our busiest time of the year! Thanks for sharing at TTF.

    Reply
  22. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

    This is an excellent time-saver. We’ve been doing it for years. A similar strategy is to prepare a large amount of an ingredient (for example, peeling and grating carrots) and freeze it in recipe-sized portions. Some details of our methods are in this article: http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/2014/01/29/my-top-3-kitchen-time-saving-tips/

    Reply
  23. Gentle Joy

    I agree – I do it when I can and it REALLY helps…..instead of making a single meal of lasagna, enchilada casserole, chili, even pancakes……….I also love to use the crockpot – and put ingredients in there in the morning (when I am fresher and have more energy). I cook meat ahead and freeze it into smaller containers to use in soups or casseroles, so that is ready…..so I can dump stuff in there in the morning…………and it smells so good at suppertime….so we can add a salad and bread and it helps avoid the 5:00 panic (although we still do that sometimes too!!!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this. Gentle Joy

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I’ve been doing the cook-once eat-twice method for years now but I was slow coming to the game I think. This would have been so helpful when my children were small! ~TMR~

      Reply
  24. Blair @ The Seasoned Mom

    I love this way of cooking. It’s the only way I get a dinner on the table on some of our busiest nights. Thanks for sharing some new recipes! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh I agree Blair, although I’m almost ashamed to admit how many years I went into the kitchen with just the thought of making dinner for that one night. With some of us I guess it takes a little longer to get through. LOL ~TMR~

      Reply
  25. Glenda

    Brilliant idea! And really brilliant to cut the peppers in half!!! I never considered that and just stuff whole ones. SO COOL!!!!! THANK YOU!!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Very cool Glenda. glad you like it. The peppers freeze beautifully too, fully stuffed & ready to go. ~TMR~

      Reply
  26. Lisa

    I batch cook meatloaf as well. It is one of my favs too! I have never thought about the stuffed green peppers! I’ll have to do that next week! You are right. cooking once and eating twice is the way to go! so simple and convenient! Blessings, Lisa

    Reply
  27. Abbi

    I try to do this as well. Sometimes I am better at remembering to do it than others. I did do it tonight. I made enough calzones for 3 meals plus I fried up hamburger for even another meal. The work done ahead does really feel good.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Ummm… Calzones. Good job Abbi! I agree, it feels pretty good to have the work done ahead of time. ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh yes Veletta I agree – cooking for two (down from cooking for SIX) was really a challenge for me so I figured why fight it? Cook for an army & freeze the rest! HA! ~TMR~

      Reply

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