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Cook Once for a Month: The Recipes

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.

The Foods You Will Prepare

  1. Three beef pot roasts
  2. Three roast beef sandwich meals (You will have leftovers from the pot roasts to prepare three meals of roast beef sandwiches--suggestions follow the recipe for pot roast)
  3. Two pots of Chili
  4. Three pans of Lasagna Roll-ups
  5. Two pans of Macaroni and cheese
  6. Four servings of Meatballs
  7. Four Meatloaves
  8. Two meals of Orange Chicken
  9. Three meals of Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  10. Two meals of Sloppy Joes
  11. Two meals of Teriyaki Chicken

In one day you can create 30 days of dinners for your family. Avoid the fast-food crutch, give your family more nutritious meals, and save LOTS of money!

Here are the detailed instructions!

Beef Pot Roast


To Prepare:

For each roast you are preparing you will need:

  • One 3-4 pound beef roast (see note below on best roasts to use)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
  • 1 can cream soup of your choice (mushroom, mushroom with roasted garlic, celery, chicken, golden mushroom)

Place roast in 2-gallon zip-lock bag. Top with vegetables, dry onion soup mix, and cream soup concentrate (do not add milk or water). Freeze for up to 3 months.

To Cook:

Remove bag from freezer and allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator. Empty contents of bag in crock pot; simmer on low 8-10 hours.

Suggestions for using leftovers:

  • Layer sliced roast beef on toasted sandwich rolls. Heat a can of Campbell's beef consume to use as au jus.
  • Warm slices of leftover roast beef in the microwave. Place the warmed roast beef on open-faced sandwich rolls. Top with your favorite cheese (cheddar, provolone, etc.) and toast until the cheese is melted. If you wish top with sliced tomato, pesto, barbeque sauce, etc.
  • Reheat chunks of roast beef in leftover sauce from pot roast. Serve over cooked noodles, cooked rice (instant is OK), or mashed potatoes.

Best Cuts of Beef for Pot Roast

  • chuck pot roast
  • shoulder steak
  • bottom round rump roast
  • brisket



To Prepare

For two batches of chili:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • Four 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • Two 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Two 15-oz cans kidney beans
  • 2 packets chili seasoning mix
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Sauté ground beef and onions in large stock pot until meat it crumbled and no pink remains. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat; allow to cool for 20 minutes. Pour into two 1-gallon zip-lock freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To Serve:

Remove one bag from freezer and allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator. Empty contents of bag in crock pot; simmer on low 8-10 hours.

Lasagna Roll-Ups

To Prepare:

  • 3 packages of no-boil lasagna noodles (12 pieces per package)
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 cups ricotta cheese
  • 6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Bring a large stock pot of water to boil. When water is boiling, remove from heat. Drop in no-boil lasagna noodles one at a time (to prevent sticking together). Set your timer for 10 minutes. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!). As soon as the noodles have soaked for 10 minutes you must remove them from the pot of water.

While waiting, prepare a surface on which to lay your soaked noodles--2 or 3 impeccably clean kitchen towels should do the trick, or some parchment paper on your countertop. Paper towels are NOT recommended as the pasta will stick to them.

While waiting for the noodles to finish their delightful soak, stir together in a large mixing bowl the eggs, cheeses, spinach, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Scroll to Continue

By now the noodles have been rescued and have cooled a bit. Spread a bit of the filling (about 1/3 cup) on top of each noodle. (You should leave about 1-inch of the pasta uncovered.) Roll each noodle up (from short end to short end). Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set each lasagna roll on the prepared cookie sheet; place in the freezer and freeze until firm--about 2 hours.

Once the lasagna rolls are frozen, store them in zip-lock freezer bags.

To Cook:

Remove the desired amount of lasagna rolls from the freezer. Allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator. When time to cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place about 1 cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan. Place lasagna rolls in the pan, seam side down. Cover with additional sauce (about 2 cups).

Bake in preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Top with grated cheese if desired.

Macaroni and Cheese


To Prepare:

For two batches of macaroni and cheese:

  • 12 ounces of dry penne pasta or elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 cups shredded medium Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream

Spray two Ziploc VersaGlass 64-ounce containers with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse, drain, and set aside.

Melt butter in large (3 quart) saucepan. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in cream; cook until sauce thickens. Add 2 cups cheddar cheese, parmesan, and mustard and continue to cook until all cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Whisk in sour cream and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cooked pasta and ladle into prepared pans. Cover, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.

To Cook:

Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly.



To Prepare:

  • 3 pounds ground meat (93% turkey, ground beef, or a combination of beef and pork)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp.. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients until you end up with a smooth meat mixture. (Your best tool for doing this is your hands--if you don't want to touch raw meat, use disposable food-handling gloves).

Form the ground meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs (about the size of a golf ball). As each one is shaped, place it on a lightly greased shallow baking sheet.

Bake about 20 minutes or until the meat begins to firm and brown slightly.

YIELD = 72 meatballs (Divide into 3 containers, 6 meatballs per person for a family of 4).

To Use Meatballs:

  • Place one container of frozen in crockpot (slow cooker). Add one cup of water or broth and one can of condensed cream soup of your choice (mushroom, golden mushroom, mushroom with roasted garlic, cheddar cheese, broccoli and cheese, chicken, celery, etc.). Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes. OR
  • Place frozen in crockpot (slow cooker) and cover with 2 cups of barbeque sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over rice or boiled potatoes. OR
  • Place frozen in crockpot (slow cooker) and cover with one jar (28 oz.) spaghetti sauce of your choice. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over pasta.


  • 6 pounds of ground meat (I prefer 93 percent turkey but you could also use ground beef, or a combination of ground beef/turkey/pork).
  • 4 cups diced onion
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup seasoning salt
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Divide into 4 equally-sized portions. Place each portion in a greased foil loaf pan. Cover each pan with foil then place in a 2-gallon zip-lock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:

Remove one meatloaf from freezer. Tear off a long sheet of aluminum foil and place in your crockpot so that the middle of the foil is on the bottom of the crockpot and the two longs ends extend up the sides of the crockpot (slow cooker). The crockpot does not need to be completely covered with foil; you are merely doing this as an aid in removing the cooked meatloaf.

Remove the meatloaf from the aluminum pan. Place in the crockpot. Cover with ketchup or barbeque sauce. Cook on low 8-10 hours.

Orange Chicken

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3.5 pounds)
  • 2 cups orange marmalade
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce

To Prepare:

Place 4 chicken breasts in each zip-lock bag. Stir together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour one-half of the mixture in each zip-lock bag. Seal and freeze.

To Cook:

Thaw in refrigerator overnight. In the morning place contents of zip-lock bag in crockpot (slow cooker). Add vegetables if desired--peeled diced carrots, chopped onion. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over cooked rice.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

  • 12 medium russet (baking) potatoes
  • 2 pounds ground turkey or ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 (4-oz) cans green chilies
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder

To Prepare:

Bake potatoes (I like to place my potatoes in a 12-cup muffin pan. It makes them easier to handle) at 400 degrees F. for 55 minutes or until tender. Cool.

To prepare the filling, Cook ground beef and onion in large saute pan until the meat is no longer pink. Drain. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut a thin slice off the top of each one. Carefully scoop out the pulp, leaving a thin shell. Place potato pulp in a large mixing bowl. Add sour cream, chiles, butter, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder and chili. Mash well. Stir in cooked ground beef/onion mixture until combined. Divide evenly among 12 potato shells. Stuff into potato shells.

To Serve:

Arrange up to four frozen potatoes around the edges of a round, microwave safe dish. Cover the potatoes with plastic wrap, leaving one corner free for venting heat and steam. Set your microwave oven to high and the timer according to the number of potatoes you are heating.

  • Cook one frozen stuffed baked potato for two to four minutes.
  • For each additional potato, increase cooking time by about two to three minutes.

Rotate the potatoes halfway through the cooking time if your microwave oven does not have a rotating turntable.

Can top with grated cheese or sour cream and chives if desired.

Sloppy Joes

  • 2 pounds ground turkey or ground beef
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

To Prepare:

In large sauté pan cook meat over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain excess liquid from pan.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Allow to cool and then package into 2 freezable containers.

To Serve:

To reheat, remove one package from freezer and thaw overnight in refrigerator. At cooking time place contents of bag into large sauté pan. Heat at medium-high temperature for about 10 minutes or until bubbling and hot. Serve over hamburger buns.

Teriyaki Chicken

  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 pounds chicken breasts

To Prepare:

Mix together soy sauce, sugar, garlic salt and chopped onion and divide evenly between two zip-lock gallon-sized freezer bags. Place 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts inside each bag and zip closed.

To Serve:

Remove one package from freezer and thaw in refrigerator overnight. Place contents of one bag in slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve over rice. Garnish with sliced green onions and/or sesame seeds if desired.

© 2014 Linda Lum


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 06, 2014:

Bill, thanks so much for your support. When my daughters were very young this was a routine in our home. Now that they are grown and gone...not so much. But I thought it might be helpful to other families out there. Glad you liked it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2014:

I'm not a big fan of recipe hubs, but I have to tell you, this is very cool. My mom used to cook on Sundays for the upcoming week, but I've never seen a whole month mapped out like this. Nicely done. This gets my seal of approval. :)

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