March Meal Planning for the OAMC

Today is my planning day for my Once a Month Cooking for March. So I thought I would write it all down, not only for me, but for those who might be curious on how my meals are going these days.

So last month I had the following meals on my frig:

Some of these were freezer meals and some weren't. But it was a good month to mix it up.

But I know March will lend itself to crazy, since I have a book to finish (writing). So I'm going to plan accordingly. This month the meals that are possible are:

  1. Corned beef and cabbage (MUST HAVE its Irish! Right??)
  2. Cilantro Lime Chicken
  3. Paprika Chicken
  4. Pork Chops
  5. Ribs
  6. Taco Bake
  7. Biscuits and Gravy with eggs
  8. Chicken, Green Chile, and Potato Chowder
  9. Pad Thai, yes again they loved it!
  10. Sesame Chicken
  11. No Fuss Chicken Cordon Bleu
  12. Meatloaf
  13. Hamburgers
  14. Chicken Packets
  15. Shepherds Pie
Now, since I'm doing this early, I did one better and already posted the recipes I will use before I've used them all. That means, while some are tried and true (have personal comments before the recipe) the others are not and could turn out horrible. But, I'm banking that most of these are going to be good.  The only one I'm semi-worried about is the Sesame Chicken. Never made anything like that one before. Most of the others I've made things similar.

So, now that I have this plan for my month, I feel I need to tell you that this is for a FULL month of meals. I know there are more then 15 days in a month but we nearly always have left overs and there are some days that we are out on purpose at an acceptable choice (allergy free) or at a friends house. BUT for the most part, most of these meals and recipes (save the Shepherds Pie, that will need some adjusting for our big family) will feed this family of 5 for at least two meals and sometimes three. And we always have lunch left overs too.  

And for lunches I usually make sure I have bread (both GF and reg), lunch meats, cheese, tortillas (corn and flour), soup, granola, fruit, chips (sometimes when my budget allows it), corn dogs (homemade), mac-n-cheese (both gf and reg), and string cheese. I also always have ramen, because I have a kid who seems to think it's God's gift to him. So since I love him, I buy it. Ugh. Maybe I should rephrase to, if I loved him more, I would not buy it? I dunno.

For breakfasts, I keep waffles and pancakes in the freezer along with frozen fruit, yogurt, GF cereals, and we eat lots of eggs and bacon. We love bacon.

So, tomorrow, I will edit this post  and add my grocery list for the above meals and month of groceries. And I might even post my receipt when I'm done shopping next week. To prove I really do this for under $300-400 every month. Yes. Family of 5. $400. You can do it too! You just have to stick to the plan and cook ahead.

Shepherds Left Over Chicken Pie

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup assorted chopped vegetables
2 cups chicken, pulled or chopped
1 cup gravy
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 - 2 cups mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
1/2 cup of cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Pour gravy and stock in a sauce pot over medium-high heat until it comes to a bubble.

Over medium-high heat, saute some oil and vegetables until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat and add chicken and gravy mixture to the vegetables and toss to coat.

Pour pie filling in a casserole and top with potatoes and cheese if desired.

Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Hamburgers for the Freezer

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
 1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Form 8, thin patties from the beef. Each patty should be slightly larger than a slice of cheese.

Cut each slice of cheese into 4 equal pieces; stack the pieces. Sandwich one stack of cheese between 2 ground beef patties. Tightly pinch edges together tightly seal the cheese within the meat. Repeat with the remaining cheese and patties.
Preheat a cast-iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook burgers until well browned, about 4 minutes. It is common for burgers to puff up due to steam from the melting cheese. Turn burgers and prick the top of each to allow steam to escape; cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside; about 4 minutes.

Cook's Notes:
For the juiciest burgers, be sure your ground beef is at least 20% fat.

Did you make a tight seal? I hope so, because it needs to be TIGHT to avoid a cheesy eruption as the cheese melts, creates steam, and tries to find its way out.

You can also fire up a medium-hot bed of coals and cook these on your backyard grill.

TIP: Flash freeze them on a sheet pan for 30 minute so, then freeze in zipper bags 2, 4, or 6 at a time. I love just forming a slew of patties all at once, then not having to worry about it.

Chicken, Green Chile, and Potato Chowder

This recipe you guys. OMGosh, completely amazing flavor. Bursts of flavor and you can taste everything! It got two thumbs up from my picky gang!

3 poblano peppers (they might be mislabeled pasilla at your super market)
3 cups left over chicken diced (I used left over Cilantro Lime Chicken but don't add until last step)
1 large onion, small diced
1 green bell pepper, small diced
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 stalks celery, small diced
3-5 slices cooked bacon
2 tsp minced garlic
1 quart chicken broth
2 tsp salt
2 cups milk (you could use unsweetened rice milk)
1/4 cup millet flour (or any flour really)

Optional: Cheese and Green Onions, but son #3 didn't have either and loved it. I loved it topped with cheese.


First, fire roast the peppers. You can either hold the pablano peppers right over the flame on your burner, flipping  occasionally until every inch of the pepper is charred. Or you can put them in the broiler for a few minutes. I used the toaster oven and it worked perfectly.

Once charred, throw them all in a ziplock or bowl and cover with saran wrap. Leave be for the time until you get the other stuff ready.

Chop the potatoes in small diced pieces. Add to the pot.

If you have a food processor, this next part is simple. Put the bacon and WHOLE veggies (Onion, celery, green bell pepper) in and click pulse a few times until you have finely diced veggies. Add those to the pot.

Now turn to the peppers (should have set 20 minutes ish). The skins of the peppers should come off easily. Then throw those into the food processor too and give them a good chop, not too small either.

Add your garlic, broth, and salt.

Now if you were doing this for the crockpot, you'd probably put it on low for about 4 hours. I did mine on the stove for about 2 hours on very low (or until potatoes are done). Wisk in flour and milk then let warm simmer again for another 10 minutes.

Last step, add the chicken 5 minutes before serving to just allow the diced chicken to get to soup temp (and not overcook).

Soooo delish!

Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 green onion, thinly sliced for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish

In a large bowl, combine onion, garlic, honey, soy sauce, ketchup, vegetable oil and red pepper.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste. Place chicken thighs into a slow cooker. Add honey mixture and gently toss to combine. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Remove chicken thighs from the slow cooker and shred the chicken before returning to the pot with the juices. Cover and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.

Gluten Free Bread Machine Recipe – Oat Bread

Tried and tested... the kids and I approve.

A great tasting gluten free bread machine recipe made with oat flour, perfect for sandwiches!

1 1/8 cup water
1/4 cup light extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
1 teaspoon gluten-free apple cider vinegar (I used Heinz)
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups + 3 1/2 Tablespoons gluten-free oat flour (4 oz.)
1 cup + 1 1/2 Tablespoon potato starch (5.2 oz.)
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon tapioca flour/starch (3.0 oz.)
1 Tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (use corn-free brand or guar gum, if needed)
1/4 cup non-fat instant dry milk (or use non-fat milk instead of water)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast

1. Add the ingredients above in the order listed to the bowl of your bread machine (while removed
from the machine).

2. For programmable bread machines without a gluten free setting, set the machine to the following
settings: Crust: Medium; Keep Warm: 0; 1st Knead: 5; 2nd Knead: 10; 1st Rise: 40; Punch: 10; 2nd
Rise: 10; Shape: 5; 3rd Rise: 40 (35 is what I'll try next); Bake: 65 minutes (or longer).

(I used Basic 1 program on my Oster Machine)

3. After about 1 minute mid the first kneading, help remove the flour from the sides of the machine by
scraping them with a rubber spatula. This take about 15 seconds. Let the machine do the rest.

4. Once baked, remove the kneading peddle, if still in bottom of bread, transfer to cooling rack to cool
completely, about 2 hours.

Amazing Gluten Free Oatmeal Waffles

My kids were really starting to hate this wheat free/rice free life, so when I found this recipe (and tweaked it) for waffles I had to try. And when we loved it, I had to share.

I make three separate batches and cook them all up in an evening. Then I freeze them in ziplocks until the kids want to eat them. In the toaster oven they go and they are perfect in just a couple minutes.

It's homemade, it's healthy, and it's freezer friendly! Winning!

3 cups GF oat flour 
1 teaspoon xanthan gum 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3 eggs 
1/2 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
1 1/4 cups milk, plus more if necessary 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Mix all dry ingredients together. 

Put all the wet ingredients in a mixer and mix until well blended. 

Add in the dry mix and then allow to sit 5 minutes. 

If the batter is too thick (it really varies depending on the day) then add some more milk and remix.

Cook on well oiled waffle iron until done.

Cool completely before bagging for the freezer.

Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins

If you have been missing chocolate cake, you MUST try these... MUST! (pics coming soon)

3/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) potato starch or tapioca starch
1/4 cup (3/4 ounce) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
6 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup (or so) Mini Chocolate chips
nonstick cooking spray

 Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together oat flour, granulated sugar, potato starch, cocoa powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum in a medium bowl. Add egg, sour cream, vanilla, milk, and vegetable oil. Whisk until batter is smooth. Add mini chocolate chips. Allow batter to stand for five minutes. Lightly coat tins with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake until the cake springs back to the touch, about ten minutes.