For years I have heard about a cooking method of preparing a month’s worth of meals at one time and storing them in the freezer. I always thought this was a great idea, who hasn’t tried and failed to answer the question “what’s for dinner?” I know on many occasions it would be after 9:00 before we finally sat down to a meal after hours of contemplation.
A few months ago I decided to wade into the pool of Once a Month Cooking (OAMC). I started slowly, only doing about one weeks’ worth of meals since we were headed out of town for two weeks. The next time, I prepared two weeks’ worth of dinners. After a few attempts at the two weeks of meals, I decided I could step up to three. I found that there wasn’t a lot of difference between two weeks’ worth of meals and three. Last month, I prepared 21 dinners and as well as 12 breakfast sandwiches, all for under $140. I am hoping that I will be able to duplicate my success and prepare an entire month of dinners and breakfasts.
When I first started OAMC, I scoured the internet for resources, and there are quite a few! One of my favorite websites is Once a Month Mom. Tricia not only provides fabulous menus full of new and exciting recipes, but she also creates a shopping list for the entire month and breaks down the preparation of each meal into a step by step process. Tricia also has shares recipes for creating baby food OAMC style. She also provides information on upcoming grocery sales, so you know when to stock up on what.
Cook of The Month is another great site. The site has tons of great recipes, and will help you compile them into a meal planner, with a shopping list included. The site does pull recipes from books, which you need to have an actual copy of because the recipes are not online. However there are also a lot of great user submitted recipes.
Recipe Zaar has thousands of OAMC recipes, and a great community forum with users who can answer all kinds of questions. Most of my recipes in my current rotation have come from this site, because I love being able to read reviews and comments on a particular recipe.
If you are the type who needs the actual cook book in front of you, two great books are Once A Month Cooking, Revised and Expanded and Frozen Assets: Cook For a Day, Eat For a Month.
To prepare the menu, I like to go back through the previous recipes I have prepared and decide if they are worth having again. Most of them are, but who wants to have the same thing month after month. The easy and cheap to prepare recipes are often repeated because that’s how I like to cook. If I try a new recipe, I will only prepare one or two meals of it. The reason for that is, though I’m generally pretty good at selecting what my family will like, there are times when something strange slips through. It’s hard eating something you hated once three or four more times.
Tomorrow I’ll post my menu for the month, as well as the method I use to put everything together. I haven’t finished off this month’s menu yet, so hopefully I will have that done before tomorrow rolls around. I will also attempt to convert anyone who hasn't already jumped onto the OAMC bandwagon, so be prepared for that!