I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Once A Month Cooking

There are so many options when it comes to making a meal plan. One that I have found interesting is Once A Month Cooking. (OAMC) Some websites refer to it as Frozen Assets, which I found very amusing.

The idea is that you take one Saturday a month and cook all your meals you need for that month. So, let's suppose you'll be eating chili, spaghetti, shepherd's pie, meatloaf, and hamburgers in a given month. When you have your cooking day, you cook all the meat, onion, peppers etc in one skillet, then portion it out to each of the dishes you need. You can do the same with ham or chicken.

Of course, this requires a lot of prior preparation. You need to go through all the meals you want to cook and find out how much of each ingredient you need, then buy it all at once. You can follow the sales in your local paper to make sure you get the best deals possible.

This is attractive to me for three reasons:
1. All my cooking for the month is done in one (very long, very exhausting) day. But we eat out the night of the cooking session.
2. I save money because I buy all my meat for the month when the price is the lowest, and because I have meals prepared, we eat out only the night I marathon cook.
3. Days when we're out doing ministry things all day long, I just pop a meal out of the freezer in the morning and it's ready to bake when I get home. Toss together a salad and we're done!

There are some negatives to this method. What if I don't have the money to buy all that meat for the month? What if my freezer is the size of a postcard? Well, cut it back to a two-week, or one-week plan. Cook all your meals for a given week on the Saturday prior, and pop them out of the freezer when needed.

There are several ways to go about the cooking and storing. I have found a wealth of information here. I haven't decided this is the way to go for us, but it's a thought I'm considering. Who knew meal planning could take so long to figure out?!?

On a side note:

A little tip I recently read at Living On A Dime says that dirty dishes cause debt. If you have ever left your dishes overnight, had an emergency strike and not been able to wash them the next day, you know you've taken your family out to eat as the only other option.

A good rule of thumb is to wash as you cook, then finish the dishes when dinner is done. This way you keep a clean, organized kitchen, and don't fall into the trap of going out to eat because there are too many dishes in the sink to cook.

Did you know going out to eat is one of the top five reasons for debt??? We, as the makers of our homes, need to be prepared and organized to avoid this financial (and health) pitfall. We must keep our kitchens clean, stocked with sale items, and have healthy meals planned and ready for our families.

Isn't it the least we can do? What are your thoughts?


  • Victoria

    I have read before about once/month cooking and love the idea. I've not done it because of all the demands of children still in diapers, but it might be a good idea to have a girl from church come on that day to keep the kids occupied? Maybe 2 girls - one for kids, one to help me?

    What I have done to cut down on meal prep time is, instead of browning the 1-2 pounds of meat for that night's dinner, I brown 4-5 pounds at once. I use what I need then and freeze the rest. Then, for the next couple of times I need browned beef, I just take it out of the freezer, defrost it and am able to skip the browning step. Same with chopped vegies. Chop a bunch at once and freeze. So handy when all you have to do is throw the ingredients together.

  • Brenda

    I've read about this before and also about the cooking clubs. I agree that being prepared with meals is a HUGE thing we can do for our family--financially too! Before there were all these fast food restaurants around, people ate at home. They just did! I wish we were a bit more out in the country without all these options b/c then I would have to get with it.
    OK, keep talking. You are slowly inspiring me.

  • WendyMom

    Judging from the general lack of comments on these posts- I would guess you've hit on a subject that not a lot of us reading have conquered! I think it's a great idea in theory- but practical application is always the problem.

    One resource- the book "Managers of Their Homes"- I've used parts of it to help organize my day, chores etc- and I know there is a whole chapter on planning meals etc. If you buy the book, it comes with the worksheets for you to use and reuse as needed. They may even have it out on DVD?CD by now... not sure.

    Keep going- after I finish my 12 years of projects regarding school, setting up for next year and breaking down last, cleaning and organizing every closet and bookshelf in my house- I will surely be ready for another totally overwhelming task- like menu planning- and your experience will come in handy!!

    Love you- let's Skype soon- swim lessons for the next week and a half- so every day is go, go, go..

  • The Millers

    I have been doing Once/Month cooking for at least 6 years. I love it. It's exhausting, especially now with a toddler, but it's so rewarding when it's done.

    Julie - great to hear from you. It took me a little bit to recognize your picture.

  • JulieMom

    The Millers- Hope it's because I've changed for the better and not because, you know, well, because it's worse.


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