Phew! I did it!  I completed all the recipes on my Once A Month Mom menu plan. No need to hit the gym today, this was a FULL body workout! I was slicing, chopping, boiling, sauteing, roasting, mixing, stirring, baking, you name it, I was doing it!…and guess what – I was having FUN! I cranked the tunes and got to work.

Right from the grocery list to the cooking, I found all the instructions to be VERY straight forward and easy to follow. I already had most of the ingredients listed in my pantry, so all I need to get from the store was fresh produce, frozen pie shells, tortillas and a few dairy items, and of course large freezer bags!

I started my cooking day with making the Carrot Cherry Breakfast Cookies. I wasn’t able to find dried cherries, so I simply substituted them with dried cranberries, which worked out great. I knew that these cookies would be a big hit with my family, and a GREAT “breakfast on the go” for those early morning ice times. So I doubled the recipe. Once A Month Mom took care of the ingredient conversions for me, all I had to do was change the number of people I was feeding from 6 to 12.  These cookies turned out AWESOME! I even had a “cookie monster” sneaking into the kitchen to grab a few when I wasn’t looking 🙂

Next up was the “Apple Crisp Muffins”. Again, I knew these would make for a GREAT “on the go” meal, so I doubled it as well. These muffins made my house smell AMAZING!!

“Peanut Butter Pancakes” were next – YUM! I threw in a handful of mini chocolate chips into the last half of the batter just to give a little variety.

I soaked my beans the night before, so I thought I would make the “Louisiana Red Beans and Rice” next. My kids LOVE rice and beans – this recipe has a few more ingredients then I put in my own, but I think they will love it just the same!

“Loaded Veggie Quesadillas” were 5th on the list. I make a lot of quesadillas in our house, but I have never made them with refried beans, so it was really nice to try a new twist” on a family favorite! I ended up making a couple extra for school lunches for the next day too.

I decided to make the  “7 -Veggie Slow Cooker Stew” next. This meal was super easy to prep for as all the  ingredients go “uncooked” into freezer bags. All I had to do was chop all the vegetables, divide into 4 gallon freezer bags and pour the sauce evenly into each bag. SIMPLE! Slow cooker meals are PERFECT for this time of year! With all the prep already taken care of, all I will have to do is thaw and let the slow cooker do the cooking for me! LOVE that!!

Since I was already chopping  butternut squash, it only made sense to make the “Winter Pizza” next.  This pizza looks so YUMMY!! With pesto as the base, and topped with cheese, sun dried tomatoes, roasted onions, garlic and butternut squash – it was really hard not to bake this up and have it right then and there!

“Chickpea Pot Pie” was next. Another “cool twist” on a family favorite. My little guy had a spoonful of the mixture as I was spooning it into the pie shells and said ” Mmmm, I could eat this all day” – that pretty much says it all right there!!

8 down….. 7 to go!

Making the “Vegan Enchilada Casserole” and the “Sundried Tomato Pasta Bake” next. Since they both have fusili pasta in them, I thought I would tackle them together.

“Spinach Lasagna Roll ups”  were next! I have never made lasagna this way before, a little more time consuming than the regular way, but they looked great, and it is always FUN to change things up!

Mmmm “Sweet Potato Cakes with Black Bean Salsa” two of my favorite thingssweet potatoes & black beans 🙂

Nearing the finish……“Pumpkin Risotto” is next.  I have never used arborio rice before. This was another meal that smelled heavenly while cooking.

“Tuscan White Beans” – I know this may sound weird to some, but I have never bought, handled or cooked with fennel before, mostly because I never knew how to cut one – I guess I can now check that off my list of “to do” before I’m 40!

Last meal for the day, was the “Slow Cooker Stuffed Acorn Squash” – I make a very similar side dish, as the lentil, rice, cranberries and pecans, but never thought of stuffing it into a acorn squash and slow cooking it – so clever!!

This is FABULOUS!! I now have a freezer FULL of YUMMY meals – which is going to be a great help with the busy month ahead! I LOVED how even though the style of cooking was very similar to my own, all the recipes were ones I had never made before, with some  “new to me” ingredients.  If the way my house smelled while cooking is any indication as to what these meals taste like…then we are in for some AMAZING meals!!

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