Monday, January 2, 2012

I Only Cook Dinner Once A Month

I only cook dinner for my family once a month. That's right, I spend a whole day, slaving away in the kitchen, literally! Before we implemented Once A Month Cooking, my family lived off frozen convenience meals, such as Lean Cuisines, Healthy Choice, and Smart Ones. They were quick and easy and  dirtied little dishes...however they also cost us a fortune. There was no way we were able to continue spending $240 a week on just dinners. Crazy I know but it was what we were willing to pay to have dinner on the nights The Hubs worked late and I was running Sassy Britches to cheerleading practice and Girl Scouts.

That's when I read about Once A Month Cooking...of OAMC as it is referred to. You plan your meals one day, shop for an entire month's dinners another day, and then on the third day you cook all the meals, label and freeze them. Then on the nights you plan on serving them, you simply heat and eat- very much like those TV dinners. The ingredients, bought mostly in bulk, end up being cheaper, fresher, and healthier. I love that I dirty all the dishes once, except for what we eat off of and what few pots, pans or Crockpots we use to heat the food in.

I have found this to be so incredibly helpful. Couponing has also played a major role in the success of OAMC for my family. When I find a great deal on basics, such as condensed Cheddar cheese soup or canned diced tomatoes, I stock up, knowing that they can be used in my recipes. Having a stockpile is helping to continue to lower what we spend a month in groceries sicne many months, I find myself having most of the ingredients I need on hand. My shopping list is getting smaller and smaller!

So on December 31st, the Hubs and I set off for our grocery shopping, hitting up just three stores- Gordon Food Service (GFS), Costco, and Publix. We purchased 40 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast, 10 pounds of ground beef, 5 loaves of bread, and more. Some of our purchases, such as quite a bit of the chicken and at least 5 pounds of the ground beef will carry over into next month or further as in the case with the loaves of bread.  Our grand total?
My dining room table, AKA prep station

TOTAL SPENT: $302.83
for what we believe will be about 2 months worth of food
(that's less than $40 a week for a family of 4)!

 And that's not even using a lot of coupons, since this was the end of the month, I was pretty wiped out of coupons, having just cleaned out my coupon binder of all those that were expired.

Yesterday I committed myself in my kitchen, except of course for the hour and a half break I took to go to church service of course! Earlier that morning, I boiled and baked all the chicken I needed for my 17+ recipes and browned all my ground beef. I used my trusty Crockpot to help melt down some our the sauce mixtures I was going to be using. I chopped and diced all my vegetables, and put them into pretty little prep bowls. I then labeled and laid out all my freezer bags and ingredients with their corresponding recipe card so when I returned from church, all I really had to do with measure out the ingredients and put into the bags then freeze! Easy peasy!

And in a total of about 8 hours tops, I completed a total of 41 meals. Now all I have to do it heat and eat! The only hard part now is remembering to take whatever is planned out the night before to defrost!


  1. That looks great! Maybe a little note on the fridge or something to remember to take out something for dinner the next night.

    ~Love , Nea

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  3. Awesome idea, but what happens if you don't want anything you have cooked? That would be my problem. LOL

  4. Great job! I do the same thing for my son's food. Once a month all of his meats and casserole/soups are cooked, divided and frozen. It really helps that his gammy got us a nice upright freezer when he was 2. His foods are special due to his autism and it would take my every waking moment to keep him fed if I didn't do the once a month thing. But of course you are saving $'s too. You are a very smart momma!

  5. No recipes or shopping list. Thanks for the post, I guess?!