Once A Month Low Carb Cooking
Low Carb Cooking, Once a Month or Once a Week
Maximize your low carb lifestyle by giving yourself more time by spending less time cooking. This is a collection of cooking tips promoting once a month cooking or multiple batches you can freeze and easily reheat. Sadly when looking at OAM cooking sites all of the recipes were heavy with carbs and actually not even that healthy to begin with. I wanted to provide a site that could combine my love of the idea of OAM with a low carb diet. Because this is not a diet right? It's a lifestyle.
I will gladly admit that the first time I did Atkins I failed miserably because I was not prepared for the long-term. This time around I have been much more successful in making it a lifelong diet change all due to my mother who does OAM cooking. I don't like spending an entire day cooking so I do multiple batches of whatever I am making during the week and do more prep-work cooking and portion freezing.
This time around I have experienced more success and less temptation with little to no amount of cheese products and no sugar alcohol loaded treats. Sorry Atkins bars, you just are empty calories disguised as health food.
How to do Once A Month Cooking
1. Hire a babysitter if you have young children. It's worth it not to have them underfoot.
2. Borrow good kitchen equipment if you don't have it.
3. Do the cooking with a friend or someone you can stand to have in your kitchen.
Make a plan
1. Decide which recipes you are going to prepare for a month of meals.
2. Create a shopping list and include storage bags or containers.
3. Decide the order in which you are going to make the food. You don't want to have to be reheating the oven, so do all baking back to back if possible.
4. Delegate responsibilities like chopping, bagging, and washing.
5. Cook as much as possible.
Deep Freezing Individual Portions
OAMC'ers call this "Flash Freezing"
Need to own a deep freezer...too difficult to do in the one attached to your fridge.
Large Cookie Sheets
Wax Paper or Tin Foil or Parchment Paper
When you have finished preparing or cooking your meals you can freeze them into portions by spreading them out on a lined cookie sheet and putting them into the deep freeze for about a half hour or hour and then bag. This keeps vegetables, ground beef, meatballs, chicken breasts, etc., from sticking together in a frozen mass making it easy for you to get a single portion out of a bag instead of having to thaw the entire thing. You can also then wrap the portions in parchment paper packets to cook as meals in the oven or microwave.
Freezer Recipe Meat Basics
Balls, Patties, Strips, Breasts
Sounds dirty, but pre-cooking or forming your meat into the appropriate shapes will drastically reduce preparation time.
Bacon -- Cook up a couple pounds and freeze in strips and crumbles for salads.
Beef or Sausage Crumbles -- Brown in a large skillet. Spread out on cookie sheet for deep freeze. When frozen, package. You can also add spices or taco seasoning. I have sometimes frozen crumbles with chopped onions and peppers, instant taco mix.
Beef and Sausage -- Meatballs, patties, or meat loaves using porkrinds and eggs as binder do extremely well. Pre-freeze meatballs and patties on cookie sheet before packaging.
Hams -- Probably the best meat to freeze, entire hams, cubed ham, sliced lunch-meat, it's so versatile.
Whole Chickens -- If you are adventurous and don't get grossed out by chicken gizzards. Freeze whole chickens, in their bags. You can wrap them in butcher paper if you want, but I only buy 2 per month to ensure that they are never frozen long term. Thaw for 2 days in fridge and bake two at a time.
Beef and Pork Shoulder or any crock-pot worthy meats I buy these when on sale and freeze and then put them frozen in the crock-pot before work, 9 hours in a crock-pot isn't going to hurt it. FOR PULLED PORK or BEEF like (Lloyds) put hot chunks of cooked pork or beef into kitchen aid with standard attachment add some bbq sauce and pulverize. I will never pull pork by hand again. Then I freeze it again so I can have home-made Lloyds whenever I want. I have not tried this with chicken because I don't want to risk that freezer taste.
Fish and Poultry Quick Tip -- Cooking, freezing and reheating always seems to give a weird flavor, so it is best just to have them in thin enough pieces to cook quickly from frozen. Cut filets and breasts into thinner pieces or strips 1 inch thick or less and pre-freeze and then package.
A peek inside my own freezer
To give you an idea of what a Low Carber's freezer looks like here is what most of my deep freezer is full of. I only cook for myself and DH so if your family is larger...double or triple it.
Fish - We live in Alaska and have great access to amazing fishing. I have portioned and frozen fresh Halibut flanks, Halibut Cheeks, Ling Cod, and Black Bass. This is one item you should splurge on at the market or always make a deal with a fisherman that way you won't be tempted to cheap out and get something breaded and mystery meat like.
Shrimp - I buy about 3 - 6 bags of large cooked, tail-on shrimp at walmrt. Simply toss in a hot pan with some butter and veggies and seasonings and it's a low carb shrimp helper in under 10 min.
Beef - I have quart sized freezer bags of ground beef and whatever portions of other cuts that are on sale....especially steaks I shop for those around Father's Day, 4th of July, and Super Bowl if they have a sale and hopefully a coupon. Bags of frozen cooked meatballs. Frozen meatloaf only works if you put it in the fridge the night before to thaw a bit.
Pork - I simply freeze whole packages of bacon. Sometimes I cut them in half frozen (right through the plastic and everything) and put the other half in a freezer bag if I don't feel like cooking a whole batch. Pre-cooked holiday hams, I get them small enough to fit in my slow cooker, then chop/slice and freeze. Ground sausage in quart freezer bags and cooked into rounds jimmy dean style. My favorite breakfast is dipping sausage in Walden Farms maple syrup.
Chicken - Frozen Breasts, because I just don't want to deal with any other cut of the bird. When I have time, I break down my own whole chickens, freeze the breasts and bake the rest to make chicken taco filling out of it.
Vegetables - Four or Five bags of walmrt Cauliflower or Broccoli, Green Giant Microwave Steamers and Just For One's (for lunches) when they are on sale, frozen blocks of spinach (I simply can't stomach eating canned spinach), bags of pepper strips, and chopped onions.
Breads - Low carb tortillas in both the small and burrito size and Sara Lee 45 calorie and delightful bread.
Cheese - I only store shredded cheese for my husband...cheese makes me stall.
Dessert - Low Carb Ice Cream...I eat mine out of a 1/4 cup measuring cup for portion control because I want half a serving and half the carbs.
Vegetable Freeze Well List
Meats and fruits always freeze well but vegetables are tricky.
Here are the most freezer welcoming vegetables for a low carb lifestyle.
Low Carb Grains/Flours
To keep in the freezer.
Chia Seeds or Chia meal
Flax Seeds or Flax meal
Almonds or Almond meal
Unsweetened Coconut flakes
These low carb "grains" or fibers can be put in your freezer to prolong shelf life. If you've never heard of them, they are packed with amazing health benefits. I buy seeds and use my coffee grinder to make meal when I need it. I do the same to make flours out of almonds and dried coconut.
Easy Chia "Tapioca" Pudding
::makes 1 serving::
1 tablespoon chia seeds
8 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon Vanilla S.F. Syrup. Davinci's or whatever.
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1. Let chia seeds soak in water for 5 minutes to gel then mix in the rest of the ingredients and let sit for 1 minute before eating.
Induction appropriate! Only 2 net carbs.
Sauces and other Liquids
Tomato sauces in order of thickness
Spaghetti Sauce - is something I don't even buy anymore, its mostly water and sugar.
Pizza Sauce - is my go to sauce because I can easily find natural-low sugar versions. It depends on what I'm making whether I will use this in a freezer meal.
Tomato Paste - If I am making something with lots of watery vegetables, I use this. It may seem too thick but once it has cooked with all the juices of the other things in my dish it turns out perfect.
You can always create your own happy medium by mixing paste with pizza sauce.
Other Sauces -
Try to avoid freezing milk or cream based sauces...they never turn out the same. For the rest, just make thicker than you normally would and add water when you need it.
Freezing Eggs Yolks/Whites
Don't do it, not worth the energy.