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05 February 2012 @ 10:06 pm
OAWC aka Once-a-Week-Cooking  

Makes: Life easier

It is peaceful here tonight as I type. Himself is as sleep in his crib, still recovering from a sinus thing, poor guy. The DSB is down having some “quiet time” after a very demanding work week. So in turn I am getting a bit of me time; writing, crocheting and having coffee with my chocolate while I listen to music.

Tonight’s post is about a particular type of food way called OAWC or Once-a-Week-Cooking. The whole concept is to plan ahead and make pretty much everything you would want to eat for the week in one day and re-warm from there. Its champions argue that this style of cooking is more budget friendly and less wasteful than regular cooking and further claim that it grants you more free time because it reduces both prep and cleanup. All true by the way since you do generally purchase in bulk and/or what is on sale and tend to use everything that is bought. Hardcore OACW’s actually cook once a month in a 2-3 day marathons and swear that they save even more than the folks who cook just weekly. I frankly lack the time for that but I will attest that the mere idea of having ready to warm food on hand has keep me out of many the fast food line and saved me hundreds of dollars in lunches out while I am working. I also enjoy the fact that by cooking double batches I have a steady larder of choices in my freezer just waiting for defrost.

I reinvented OAWC when I was in my 20’s. At the time I was a full time working student and my 1st husband was laid up with a broken arm unable to work. To say we were tight on cash was an understatement. So I did what any starving student would do whose income had just been chopped in half. I hit the Food Bank. That day I came away with two enormous boxes of nutritious goodies that had to be eaten ASAP (donated food is not know for its long shelf life). So I designed a weeks worth of dishes and got cooking. This one change extended our pantry immensely. It was that simple and I never went back to cooking every night from scratch.

As I practice OAWC I actually cook every other week. Thanks to that frozen larder I am able to rotate out a couple things to round out the variety and extend my labor. I also rarely cook more that three dishes at once. We just do not seem to need more than that. Along with cooking I tend to bake things like banana bread every 3 weeks or so. While I cook; I tidy the pantry, frig and freezer and prep things like carrots, trail mix and fruit for snacks. Leftovers get portioned out for work lunches. I also clean as I cook so there is not a huge mess at the end of the day. Of course, I keep things like frozen sausages on hand as well as cereal, sandwich and hot breakfast makings for a change. I find that for 2 adults and one podling we always have enough and we rarely get bored.

So what are This Weeks Eats?

Hard Boiled Eggs (quick breakfast with fruit)
Green Chili Pork (over rice, noodles or in a tortilla)
Baked Jasmine Rice (Lil’man’s favorite)
Chicken & Dumplings (DSB request)
Banana Bread (from the freezer)

So is not this obvious? For some I suppose, but then I watch the people shambling around the grocery store like blind zombies in search of fresh brains and I wonder why more people do not have scurvy or simply starve. Food for thought?

More recipes to follow… 

Frugally yours-


Tags: ,
galadrion on February 6th, 2012 08:13 am (UTC)
Probably more borderline scurvy cases out there than you realize, dear heart. As for starvation... well, there are probably several cases of malnutrition out there, but that's caused by the "solution" to this problem: so many people living off of fast food. Not starving, but not getting good meals, either.
Kestrel Catkestrelcat on February 7th, 2012 03:09 am (UTC)
I agree actually. My inner anthropologist was showing. :)

Amy-chaninnuendo_girl on February 6th, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
So you eat each dish approximately 3x a week for dinner?
Kestrel Catkestrelcat on February 7th, 2012 03:08 am (UTC)
Good Question
More like once or twice. There's leftovers from last week and things out of the freezer of course. And there are those nights when toast and peanut butter is all we want. A lot of what we cook is mix and match so there is more variety than you might think.

anthony_lionanthony_lion on February 7th, 2012 12:39 pm (UTC)
I don't often do an OAWC, but...

When I catch fish(fishing from a bridge on the Atlantic Ocean Road) I cook it all at once, and what I don't eat is plucked clean and frozen.
Later, when I have enough, I make 'Fish au gratin'(plucked fish, white sauce, eggs, macaronis, with crumbs on top.)...

Once, that ended up as two full trays in the oven, and was eventually portioned up into 14dinners. (Just add potatoes or shredded carrots)
Another of my favorites is potatoe dumplings. Thank goodness for my Kenwood and a large casserole as I only make it when I buy 4Kg bags of potatoes... Together with salted mutton, sausages and maybe bacon, it quickly turns into two weeks worth of dinners for me.
(I think i still have one or two portions in he freezer from last fall)

One tip: A freezer can be a wonderful moneysaver, but it can also be a waste of money.
How do you decide?
Take a look at how full it is and the age of the items in it. More than a handful items over a year old is bad.
(I'm slowly working to rectify this myself. I was all the way over at 'horrendous waste')
Kestrel Catkestrelcat on February 7th, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
Oh Gosh your fish dish and the dumplings sound awesome. I'd love the recipes when you have a moment. I'd love to make then for Lil'man and Galadrion. Honestly they sound well worth sharing with the community.

I agree about the freezer. It can be almost a dumping ground if your not careful. Me? I try and label everything that is not already and rotate out larder as regularly as possible. Oldest used first.

I wonder how your au gratin would be with salmon? hmmm...

anthony_lionanthony_lion on February 7th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
Re: (nods)
The gratin is simple...


That is what the coobook says ('The new plaid cookbook' by A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingrid_Espelid_Hovig"Ingrid Espelid Hovig</a>.) Unfortunately, this book has never been translated to another language as far as I know.

This works best with lean fish. I have no idea what'll happen with the fatter fish like Salmon, trout(trout is actually related to salmon), mackerel or herring.
It also works with raw fish, but you need to mace the sauce much thicker because it has a much higher water content. (1.5dl instead of 3 table spoons is mentioned in the book)

My dumplings, though...
is heavy eating.
REALLY heavy eating. As in 'can barely walk to the couch to crash' eating.
you also need a slave to peel a lot of potatoes first...

(you actually commented on that one when it was posted)
Kestrel Catkestrelcat on February 8th, 2012 05:35 am (UTC)
I had forgotten I'd posted on the dumplings. (rolls eyes) Must be losing my memory. I forget what else I have lost.

Gotta try the dumplings. Galadrion thinks with ham steak and mustard greens. So I guess that would make this a South Texas Norwegian fusion dish, no?

Am going to make the fish I think I'll go with cod or halibut. You are right about salmon being too oily. Which means tuna is right out. :)

Thank you for the recipes though. Time I tried something new.

anthony_lionanthony_lion on February 8th, 2012 07:11 am (UTC)
I know there are som similar dishes with salmon or mackerel. I just can't remember where I saw them.

The ham may work out fine with the dumplings. But make a small portion of dumplings the first time.
Kestrel Catkestrelcat on February 9th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC)
Shall do and I'll let you know how they turn out.