Saturday, July 28, 2012


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Have any of you ever tried "Once A Month Cooking"?  I have thought about this for years but have never actually done it.  A few years ago, I bought a book called, "Once-a-Month Cooking: A Proven System for Spending Less Time in the Kitchen and Enjoying Delicious, Homemade Meals Every Day" by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. 

My curiosity got the better of me last week and I went searching the net to find websites/blogs dedicated to OAMC.  I found a ton!  There are sites out there that give you step by step instructions as well as menus, recipes and shopping lists!  These people make it look so easy.  I'm still not convinced that spending 1-2 days cooking NON-STOP wouldn't kill me, especially in my teeny-tiny kitchen.

I did learn a couple of things from all my reading that I wanted to share with you in case you have ever thought about giving this a try...

  • PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.  Never start out this project without a menu plan.  It's also good to write everything down, step by step, so you know what you need to do and what you need to buy.  I have decided that there is no way you can "wing" this!
  • Buy lots of freezer bags!  Not just the plastic zip lock bags...but the ones that are specifically made for the FREEZER!
  • Label everything with the date and with cooking instructions.  That way, in case someone else needs to start dinner, they will know exactly what to do.
  • Make space in your freezer!  Thankfully, we have a freezer above our fridge but we also have a deep freeze in our garage!  I can't make 'not enough space' as an excuse for not trying this.
  • Kitchen utensils!  I noticed in lots of recipes that  they required fine chopping, pouring, measuring, blending, zesting, etc.  I think it's helpful to have the kitchen equipment that you'll need out and ready to use.
  • Clean as you go along!  Since my kitchen is small, I do this anyway.  But in this case, it would be extra important so that you have whatever you need ready for the next recipe.
  • Clump "like" things together.  What I mean is....if you know that you have several recipes that need cooked ground beef....then brown 2-3 lbs at one time and then set it aside for the next recipe.  There is no sense in having to do that more than once if you don't have to.
  • Although none of the books or websites suggested this.....for me....I need to have an empty house.  That means, no littles allowed (unless you will use there help) during the prep time.  My kitchen is so small that there really isn't room for anyone else in there.  My girls usually fight over who gets to do what and then I end up extremely stressed.   I suggest a CD that you like to listen to, and a glass of wine.  Other than that....everyone OUT!
I have been reading, eating and sleeping this OAMC concept now for the last two weeks!  I think I'm ready to give this a try.  When I do, I will take you with me, step by step...with pictures!  I would like to get my cooking done before school starts so the first month or so will be stress free as far as dinner meals are concerned.  I'm in the process of making my master shopping list.  I'll keep you updated.

I wanted to leave you with some excellent websites/blogs that have great information, in case this is something you're interested in trying.  (great recipes) (excellent site) (another one with great recipes)

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!!


Therese said...

I have been doing oamc for a long time Nancy. We work in a 28 day cycle. I choose 10 different meals and we have them 2 or 3 times each.

In the 10 meals I choose, there is always one at least that doesn't need a lot of prep before freezing. I also have a menu list on our computer for summer meals and winter ones. One day I want to get a database that I click on the recipe and it puts the ingredients in a shopping list. Not really sure if we have a program that could do that.

Michelle said...

I'm looking forward to seeing how this works out in real life. I don't think I could get the kids out of the house for two days, though. Not with them all being so little.

I'm trying to do this a little bit, though, by making doubles of things I'm already cooking for dinner and freezing half for later. I'm not building up much of a stockpile, though, because we keep having crazy days and wind up pulling the freshly frozen meals right back out!

Nancy said...

Therese....I'm so impressed!! Good for you! This is basically what I would like to do...eventually. You should do a blog post on it so us rookies can see how it's done!!

Michelle...That's EXACTLY what my days look like...CRAZY and therefore, nothing stays in the freezer long, which I guess is a good thing. I think I'm going to do what Therese suggests...picking out 10 recipes/meals and double them. That would give me 20 least. I've spent all afternoon picking out recipes. Now I just have to decide when to shop!

Therese said...

Nancy, I will do a post on it again. If you want to find some posts that I have done already, there is a label in my sidebar called oamc.