Looking to trim the fat off your family’s food budget? This month, Marcy puts the freezer cooking method to the test, shopping for an entire month’s worth of groceries and cooking it all in one day. But will the theory satisfy the palette as well as the wallet?

Eating out is convenient, at least in terms of time. It’s just when the receipts are calculated that absurd amounts of money disappear before our eyes.

My husband and I realized this a few months ago when we were reconciling our budget. Somehow a sandwich from Subway here and a little Chinese there eventually not only takes a toll on our bodies but also on the hard-earned dollars sitting in our bank account.

In an effort to resolve the issue, we took a trip to Barnes & Noble for a date night to look for cookbooks that streamlined cooking. To our dismay, the only books we found were fad dieting books and also health dieting books with meals for diabetics or for those with high cholesterol. Not that those topics are unimportant, they just didn’t fit our desire to streamline cooking at home. We decided it would be best to divide up to search the entire store. When we did we came across an amazing cookbook called Once-A-Month Cooking, Revised and Expanded: A Proven System for Spending Less Time in the Kitchen and Enjoying Delicious, Homemade Meals Every Day by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg.

What enticed our interests in this cookbook was that it gave a month long menu, the corresponding shopping list (divided by section of the store), and according to the cover the meals were supposed to save money. These all sounded like great benefits, so we decided to give the book a try.

In easy to follow and understandable language, the book instructed us on how to first inventory our pantry, spend one night shopping (the first time took us four hours) and then to spend an entire day (termed “Cooking Day”) preparing dishes for the next month. We followed the instructions start to finish and in just five hours of cooking we had 14 entrees which easily fit in our side-by-side freezer.
While everything smelled great while we were cooking, the real test came in eating the food. The authors explained that the recipes had been tried in several households, and when we tried them in ours we enjoyed them, too – including a few absolute favorites like Chicken Curry and Taco Soup.

The verdict? For the cost of what we normally budget for just one paycheck for food we ate at home for seven whole weeks. That’s two paychecks of extra food money! My family loves this method so much we just had our second Cooking Day and are enjoying the next rotation of entrees.

How do you make eating a home a priority for your family?

– Marcy, Taking Clipping Out of Couponing