I met Trish from Once a Month Mom at Blissdom last year. She had not even started her blog and was at a blog conference AND had some super cute business cards! I was intrigued. It has taken me almost an entire year to actually take the advice of her blog. And what IS her blog about?
Once a month cooking.
That’s right, cooking all your food for the entire month is just ONE DAY. Does that sound awesome or what? Pre-dinner time is like the witching hour here and I was getting to the point where a banana and a hummus sandwich were gourmet. So, after months of talking about it, Staci, Mandi and I had our big cooking day last week.
Here’s the rundown so you can see how it works:
Once a Month Mom picks out about 3 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 8 dinner entrees. They give you the grocery list (divided up by groery aisle), the recipes (originals and doubled), labels with re-heating/cooking instructions for all your frozen meals AND step by step instructions for cooking it all in one day.
It is intended for 2 people and 2 families to share. But we did it with 3 and I think it worked well. Of course, Staci is single, Mandi and I have four kids under 4. So, our three families might not be as big as someone who would have 2 adults and 2 teens in their family.
We spent $300 and I got at least 19 meals EACH out of it. Plus a bunch of leftover cheese, cooked chicken and some carrots! And now, all I have to do is pick out what I want for dinner early in the day (or the day before) leave it out to dethaw, then throw it in the oven or crockpot. Then it’s piping hot at dinner time. ZERO dinner prep. How amazing and awesome is that?!
Here’s what we’ve eaten so far and how we liked it and/or changed it:
Pear Pancakes: LOVE THEM. They are delicious. Asa screams after eating one because he wants at least two!
Eggwiches: I had to adjust the cooking time: microwave it for 1 minute and then bake in oven for about 4 minutes. YUM.
Corn Dog Muffin: Asa loved it. Lydia liked it. I ate one but accidentally cooked it too much so it was kinda crunchy. We’ll try them again later.
Deconstructed Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Somethinortheother: YUM. Had tons of breadcrumbs on top so I might cut down on that next time. It was good because it had the casserole feel without the creamy soups.
White Chicken Chili: It wasn’t really white because it had black beans in it. But it was delish. And made TONS. We will probably serve this four times! Lydia and Asa asked for seconds. (And by asked I mean YELLED.)
Baked Ziti: I really liked this. It tasted fresh! I was concerned because we put fresh basil in it. I wasn’t sure how it would taste once it had been frozen and re-heated. We all liked it.
- BUY A GIGANTIC BOWL and a HUGE STOCKPOT.
- Feel free to switch up the recipes/directions. We did it EXACTLY as was written because we wanted to try it. But this time I think we’d not pour so much butter or buy different kinds of meat, etc.
- Talk about it. For example, I don’t eat hot dogs. I don’t think Lydia has ever had one. So, corn dog muffins isn’t a great food for us. I may have liked it with chicken sausage, though. Next time I’d like to add some organic, whole wheat and no-HFCS foods that we didn’t use this time. But you’ll need to make sure your partner is willing to do the same—and pay the difference.
- Think ahead. If you got the menu early (like when OAMM posts it) you’d have plenty of time to find deals with coupons or even cleaning out your pantry.
- Skip the deep dish pans. At least for these recipes, the deep dish pans were unnecessary. We could have used the normal 8×8 pans and been fine. This would have been very helpful when stuffing the freezer!
If you’re thinking about trying this I suggest YOU DO. We are aiming to do it again after the holidays. But actually, now that I think about it, it might be nice to have some food DURING the holidays b/c life will be so busy. Anyone up for a once a month cooking soon?
Here are some specific links to the Once A Month Mom site:
The September Menu, Grocery List, Instructions Labels and Podcast (this is the month we used, November’s was kinda Thanksgivingish)
FAQ (that’s frequently asked questions in case you were wondering)
Navigating the Monthly Menu (just some more good detailed info)
Flash Freezing (we had to stop and read this while we were cooking)
Thank you Once a Month Mom! My pocketbook, my sanity and my tummy thank you!
(oh yeah, and check out Mandi’s great recap!)