Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites by Mimi Wilson & Mary Beth Lagerborg, St. Martin’s Griffin, published September 1, 2009
From the publisher:
“Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg are back with a brand new book that features their Once-A-Month Cooking ™ technique guaranteed to save time and money. Filled with all-new cycles – two one-month cycles, two two-week cycles, and three specialty cycles: gourmet, summer, and gluten-free – their trademark method remains the same: You shop for an entire cycle all at once, buying in bulk and saving money. You do all the food prep for the cycle the next day, freezing and refrigerating what needs to be kept cold, stocking the pantry when appropriate. Then, as the family assembles for mealtime, you do some quick finishing and it’s ready – fast and delicious!”
The recipes in Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites are super easy to prepare and most have less than 10 ingredients. The book is already divided by one-month or two-week cooking cycles complete with shopping lists, recipes and even order of preparation for each cycle. It’s so nice to not have to worry about what’s for dinner every night and just put the pre-prepared dish in the oven to heat up. Very convenient cooking. My only complaint is that there are very few meatless recipes, so you will have to substitute recipes if you regularly eat vegetarian meals.
Q&A with Mary Beth and Mimi on Once-a-Month Cooking™:
You were the first to publish a book about bulk freezer cooking, and many others have come after you. How did you think of this concept—and what made you feel it would work for so many women?
Mary Beth: Mimi developed this method at a time when we were writing articles together. She wanted me to call The Denver Post to see if they wanted us to write an article about it. I thought Mimi was crazy, and asked her to call. When the paper sent a reporter and photographer to her home within a week to do a food feature, we knew we were on to something. We’ve found over the years that Mimi’s three reasons for creating the strategy—to save time, money, and make possible good times at the table —resonate with most families.
Mimi: As a mother of three young children, I wanted to streamline my life without taking away from the things I loved. At the time, I was working with Hmong refugees in Denver, trying to sell their handwork. I studied my days by writing down how I spent my time in 15-minute increments. And I found I was wasting the most time in the kitchen. I remember the day I decided I would cook until I ran out of the food I had on hand. I put all the dishes I had prepared on the dining room table. When I counted 30 meals I was ecstatic, because I knew I didn’t have to cook dinner again for a month. Every month for the next year I used the method, once for me and once with a friend, so I was able to perfect it. If someone was having a baby, I’d say “You buy these groceries, and I’ll prepare you a month’s meals.” It became the gift I gave my friends.
What are your top three favorite recipes in the new Once-a-Month Cookbook Family Favorites—and why?
1. Country-Style Ribs (This slow cooker entrée provides great aroma-therapy!)
2. Corn Soup with Basil, Avocado, and Crab (This delicious soup proves that frozen entrees can be both elegant and delicious.)
3. Penne in Cream Sauce with Sausage (My son Drew keeps asking me when we’ll have this one.)
1. Lemon Chicken (It’s so fast and tasty! Great for unexpected guests; it can be on the table in ten minutes.)
2. Uptown Joes (Great for picnics or ballgames in wide-mouth thermos.)
3. Beef Pot Roast (I love this one for its smell. There’s nothing like coming into a house that smells good.)
What wisdom could you offer to the busy woman who has never tried this method?
Mimi: Even preparing two of any entrée at one time will show you how much time this technique can save! In the beginning, try this technique with a friend who can help you with the many tasks, even just answering the door, the phone, taking care of the kids, and making sure the ingredients are ready. The first time you try this, I’d recommend trying the free, downloadable one-week cycle from our website once-a-monthcooking.com or a two-week cycle from the book to get used to cooking in bulk. And don’t try to shop and cook on the same day if possible, to conserve your energy.
Beyond the obvious rewards of reducing food prep time, hassle, and grocery bills, what are you hoping Once-a-Month Cooking Family Favorites will do for busy families?
Mary Beth: My hope is that this technique will make it possible for families to spend more meals together around a table. The family dinner is a simple concept with profound, measureable advantages for children and parents. We relinquish it too easily to busy schedules. I want other families to discover that a warm meal and good conversation are simple, valuable gifts that anyone would enjoy. Mimi: and I truly believe there isn’t any other family activity that is more meaningful or productive.
Purchase: Once-A-Month Cooking retails in stores for $14.99. You can purchase it at a discount from Amazon here.
Giveaway: Thanks to Suzanne, the blog tour coordinator, I have a copy of Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites to give away to a lucky reader. You can earn up to seven entries for your chance to win. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
1. Check out the website Once-A-Month Cooking and leave a comment about something you learned. Please leave an email or way to contact you if you win.
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This contest will end on Sunday October 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm, central time. I will use random.org to select the winner and contact him/her. (If winner does not respond in 48 hours, I will pick another.) U.S. entries only. Good luck and thanks for entering!