5 Dinners in 1 Hour

I love once a month cooking for Shabbos meals, but our weekday dinners have been less than ideal. We usually just have whatever is in the freezer, which probably means it isn’t as healthy as it could be. So, while browsing the web I came across Make 5 Dinners in 1 Hour. It’s a blog that offers a subscription to weekly dinner menus and the idea is that you spend one hour in the beginning of the week to prepare 5 dinners.
All dinners are cooked fresh (many use the crock-pot) and if plans change there are always some dinners on the menu that can be frozen for later. Brilliant! I loved the idea, but of course none of the menu plans are completely kosher so I decided not to subscribe (after receiving my free trial) because I think it would be too hard to “kosherize” all the recipes.
Then, one night I was browsing the links at the bottom of a Monday Menu Planning post on Orgjunkie.com and saw a link to a blog called Living, Laughing and Loving, where the author, Renee, implements the “Make 5 Dinners in 1 Hour” method using her own recipes. It made the whole concept really come alive, so I’ve been toying with the idea of trying it. Plus, now I have a new blog to follow.
So, why haven’t I tried it yet? Here are a few of the obstacles: 
  1. Time on Sunday to menu plan, shop and prepare the food. It only takes an hour to prepare the meals, but that hour doesn’t count the amount of time you need to plan the menu and shop for the food.
  2. Budget-friendly recipes. Many of the recipes I’ve seen use chicken cutlets, chopped meat and other ingredients that are waayyy more expensive when you keep Kosher.
Even though I love the idea, it might take a while to implement. Maybe I’ll try it by using some of my easy dinner ideas along with one or two crock-pot recipes. I’m not really sure yet, all I know is that I want to try something like it.
Is anyone else interested in this kind of menu planning? I’m curious what you think about it!

Until next time,

  • I have a new plan: prep food in advance as much as possible. Last night, while our meatballs and quinoa were cooking away, I had tonight’s fish in the oven and tonight’s minestrone on the stove. Tonight, I may prep and possibly even bake tomorrow night’s burritos. (On the other hand, I might just make hamentaschen instead…) We don’t get home until after 7pm, and anything that we can do to get dinner on the table faster makes both of us pretty happy.

    • Hi Caroline- you sound so organized! What I’m really trying to do is avoid cooking every night. It’s not something I find relaxing, so that’s why I was looking into this once a week cooking. I’ll let you know how it goes if I every try it.

      Thanks for reading!

    • I try… it really depends on the day (but my monthly meal plan helps a lot). One issue for me is that I cannot take meat to work, so I try to cook dairy/pareve as much as possible during the week, not only for financial reasons, but also so I can take leftovers for lunch. Tonight, I’m making a Chinese meal that should last for two nights, and I hope the same for the soup that I make tomorrow or Tuesday night. Helps that we’re going to friends for the Purim seudah! One less meal (although I’m bringing hamentaschen challah, so I have to make challah twice this week…)

      Stay strong, Shaindy! We all have to support each other…

  • I haven’t heard of just prepping all of your dinners and refrigerating them. I know that leftovers have a few days before they can start to get hinky, but refrigerating meals makes me a little nervous. Although maybe refrigerate some and freeze others?

    I have a couple of stratgies. First is prepping several of one dish at one time and freezing the extras.

    I also really like making two (or more) meals with the same base. So you could roast a whole chicken or two, serve some that first night, shred the meat and make BBQ chicken, chicken pot pie, or fajitas, and then use the carcasses to make soup. Then I freeze all of the above.

    Or I buy a bunch of chickens and butcher them myself (this is a little time consuming, but when I did it, I could only get whole kosher chickens, so…) I would use put the thighs into a vindaloo marinade, the drummies got spice rubbed, the breasts got made into a kung pao marinade and/or breaded, etc. and then all were frozen until needed.

    Any way you do it, cooking ahead is really helpful to our sanity, though!