Last weekend I cooked literally all day for the 4th month in a row. Well, I had about a 5 hour break – 1 where I went to a BBQ plate fundraiser for my friend’s brother and about 4 hours where I went to see a production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe.
To prep, I figured out how much time everything needed to cook and for how long. That way I wouldn’t be changing the oven temp back and forth and could plan my day around the crock pot temps. I was fairly successful, but I need to figure out how long it takes my oven to heat up and how long it takes to cook certain things on the stove, like 2 pounds of ground beef or the like. Some things took longer than others, and I was cleaning in between everything instead of in batches. I still haven’t figured out which one saves more time.
So this time around, I planned for 6 weeks of meals instead of my normal four. The weekend I’d be cooking would be the Saturday before tech Sunday. In non-theatre terms, tech Sunday is the Sunday before a show opens. Some theatres do it differently, and this one in particular holds a 10-out-of-12 – which means we are there for ten hours with a two hour break in the middle. This is usually 10am-10pm with a break around 4pm-6pm. It’s a long day and the last thing I want to do is spend 9-12 hours cooking on Saturday and 12 hours in rehearsal on Sunday. With tech week coming up (the last week of rehearsals where we put all the technical elements in – lights, set changes, props, costumes, etc) and opening weekend, I knew I wouldn’t want to cook the following weekend either. Tech week is always a long week, with work 8-5:30, rehearsal 6-potentially midnight – after opening all I ever want to do is sleep and relax. So for this cooking spree, I added two weeks, to last me through tech week and the week after opening. I ended up making 71 meals (because I was short a chicken breast, oops) and 72 breakfasts. Breakfasts will last me 2 full months (so I don’t have to worry about it next month).
This time I also did my grocery shopping on Friday night and did prep work that night while the bacon was cooking. I chopped up the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and sausage. This made it simple to just dump the next day instead of taking more time to chop/prep.
To further see how much I’m saving, I broke down each recipe into how much they cost per serving. I’m hoping this will encourage me to save even more and find ways to make healthy and inexpensive meals. Since it’s just me, I have to be extremely careful about how much I spend.
My meals for the month are as follows:
* Cinnamon peanut butter muffins (12) – .20 each/2.40 recipe
* Double batch of lightened blueberry/raspberry muffins (24) – .48 each/11.52 each (this may fluctuate based on prices of the berries)
* Raspberry cream cheese danish thingies (12) – .70 each/8.40 recipe
* Bacon, egg, and avocado crustless quiche (12) – .90 each/10.80 recipe
* Sausage & egg muffins (12) – .43 each/5.10 recipe
* Zucchini herb casserole (6) – so far this is the only recipe I don’t like – .90 each/5.40 recipe
* Chicken stuffed with spinach & ricotta (8) – 1.30 each/10.40 recipe
* Cheesy chicken & rice (8) – I love this one. I made it last time. – 1.06 each/8.45 recipe
* Bacon chicken pockets (8) – made this one last time, too. – 1.14 each/9.09 recipe
* Pepperoni pockets (8) – made this one with no recipe, so we’ll see how this one turns out – .72 each/5.75 recipe
* Pizza dough (8) – .19 each/1.50 recipe (adding toppings, each serving will be about .38 each)
* Nachos (4) – 2.88 each/11.53 recipe (ground beef is expensive!)
* Sausage tortellini soup (10) – trying this one tonight. I hope it’s good! – 1.48 each/14.75 recipe (sausage was free since I have a few venison/sausage links from my cousin)
* Chicken noodle casserole (6) – 2.55 each/15.30 recipe (bought a mix package, which is why this was more expensive. If I made it from scratch, it would be less expensive)
* Creamy chicken ranch (5) – SO DELICIOUS. This is one of my favorites! – 1.66 each/8.30 recipe
I also made the cream soup whenever it called for it (instead of cream of chicken) for .66 each.
I also have a few leftovers from the previous month:
* Nachos (4)
* Pizza dough (2)
* Cheesy chicken & rice (1)
* Sandwiches (5)
As usual, I factor in at last 6 times going out to eat. This comes out to about 90 meals total.
In addition to all those meals, I also made some sweets:
* Fruit salad (9) .86 each/7.74 recipe
* Graham/chocolate ice cream (probably 10) – .54 each/5.40 recipe
* Merengue cookies (30) – .08 each/2.25 recipe
* Double chocolate peanut butter protein bars (18) – .34 each/6.12 recipe
* Fruit leather (18) – .24 each/4.32 recipe
* apple cinnamon oats (12) – .33 each/3.90 recipe
When I get heavy into rehearsals, I will have to take modified dinners with me – I’ve been taking the protein bar, a few slices of cheese, and either fruit or the fruit leather. I know it’s not a meal, but I’m trying to pick simple things that are more or less healthy.
Altogether, I spent about $160 on meals for 6 weeks. 72 breakfasts, 71 lunches/dinners, cookies, bars, ice cream, fruit leather, apple oats, and fruit salad. Can’t really beat that!