Once A Month Cooking – Freezer Cooking
Freezer Cooking which is often referred to as Once A Month Cooking is a great way to save both time and money. This is something that is all new to me. I am excited to give it a try. I don’t think I have ever been busy enough to consider it until now. Between the blog, being a wife, mother, chauffeur, soccer assistant coach, PTO and the list goes on and on, I just don’t have the time to cook like I used too. I decided to give the idea of freezer cooking or “once a month cooking” a go. I thought it would be something that might interest you so I am sharing it on the blog.
As you know we practice monthly menu planning so taking the idea of monthly menu planning to freezer cooking/once a month cooking is not a huge change for me. The big difference is that you spend a day cooking your meals and then freezing them to use later. So your time spent prepping is all at one time but then you have meals for the month ready to go. What it means is that I will spend 1 full day cooking and prepare 20 meals so that my family has dinner “ready” and all I have to do is put in in the oven, in the slow cooker or on the grill and we are good to go.
I am very excited to tackle this project here on the blog. There are a couple of ways to go at it.
- You can prepare a large quantity of meats/vegetables and use them in a variety of dishes.
- You can double your recipes or even triple them and repeat the same dish multiple times in the month.
I personally decided to look at the recipes that my family likes to eat and what I thought would freeze well. Of course in order to do this you do need freezer space and I suggest a food saver (or freezer bags). It is also very important to label and date your food before placing it into the freezer.
In order to be successful you need to be organized, shop one day, prep/cook another. Another tip is to start out small. Try 1-2 weeks the first time and then gradually increase to a month.
I personally choose to freeze in either disposable aluminum containers or line my casserole dish with foil. Once the dish freezes I can pop it out and wrap it in foil and freeze. Once I am ready to bake I just place it back into my baking dish and place it into the oven.
Once A Month Cooking – Freezer Cooking
Here is my plan for 20 meals.
Meatloaf ala Stockpiling Mom – Double
Homemade Marinara – Triple
Pumpkin Pancakes – Triple
Christa’s Chicken Casserole – Double
Christa’s Lasagna Squares – Double
Impossibily Easy Vegetable Pie – Double
Pineapple Chicken – Triple
Country Bob’s World Famous Burgers – Tripled
- Most importantly have fun! This truly needs to be a day that you devote to cooking your meals.
- Crank up the music and have a great time. Think about your reward at the end of the day! You will have dinner prepared for the next month!
- Clean up as you go (and ask for help).
If you are new (or even experienced) to freezer cooking you may enjoy these posts:
How to Freezer Cook Series – Part 1 – Sample Menu and Getting Started
How to Freezer Cook Series – Part 2 – Why Does Freezer Cooking Work
How to Freezer Cook Series – Part 3 – Planning Your Meals
How to Freezer Cook Series – Part 4 – Tips and Tricks for Freezer Efficiency
How to Freezer Cook Series – Part 5 – What Can You Freeze?
How to Freezer Cook Series – Part 6 – Freezer Storage
How to Freezer Cook Series – Part 7 – Tips for Thawing Your Meals
How to Freezer Cook Series – Part 8 – Make Your Own Freezer Pancakes
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Melissa is a football and soccer mom who has been married to her best friend for 24 years. She loves sharing recipes, travel reviews and tips that focus on helping busy families make memories.
Do you cook the meals fully and freeze or have them ready to cook only. I have been thinking about doing this, but was not sure if made ready to cook or fully cooked.
Ready to cook.
I’ve been doing OAMC for a few years now. Just had a full cooking day a month ago… have not really cooked a meal in that long as well. I love the Freezer Cooking Manual!
Thanks! I need to check that out.
My fiance and I do this. We usually grocery shop on one day and do light preparing (chopping veggies, deboning chicken, etc), then on the next day do the rest of the preparation. I usually do the cooking and then he cleans up the mess afterwards. The majority of things we do are just prepare ahead, thaw, then just throw them in the oven the night we want them (such as different marinated chicken)
This site has lots of good recipes http://www.food.com/recipes/inexpensive-oamc-freezer-make-ahead
My favorite is are the cheesy chicken bundles- http://www.food.com/recipe/cheesy-chicken-bundles-oamc-308932 which are especially awesome with a little lemon pepper added to the breading.
Thanks for sharing this!
I’m expecting my fourth in a month, so I’ll be preparing and relying on freezer meals to feed my family in the very near future! My family’s favorite go-to meals (that are great for freezing) are mini turkey meatloaves and burgers, lasagna, pancakes and spaghetti sauce (see turkey meatloaf recipe below)- many of which are on your list!
Take ½ pound of lean ground turkey. Add a liberal amount of steak seasoning (I use Montreal Steak Seasoning – probably around 2 tablespoons) and Worcestershire sauce (about 1 tablespoon). Add ¼ c dried breadcrumbs and one whisked up egg. Combine it together with your hands and divide it into 3 or 4. Free form it into mini loaves. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Top with a mixture of ketchup and BBQ sauce (just combine equal parts), and bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with a side of steamed veggies and bread or rice.
Thanks so much and good luck with #4. OAMC would be a great way to go!
Do you just prepare them then freeze or do you cook it then freeze? And if you just prepare them then freeze wouldn’t the cooking time be longer?
I just prepare and freeze, maybe 15 minutes longer I find.
I would also like to know, do you cook then freeze or just freeze? And then according to your recipes do you add any time to the cooking? And if so, how much? Thanks.
Each recipe varies but I find 15-20 minutes.
I’m definitely interested in freezing, with soccer and summer coming up.
Me too Jess! We should have a team effort 🙂
Several have asked about freezing or cooking first. I like to freeze most of my things before cooking- to me if I cook, freeze then ‘reheat’ it’s more like leftovers. I used http://www.30daygourmet.com/ as a guide when I started. You can usually find their book at the library as well.
Thanks Natalie! I do too. It is more like having re-heated food if you cook before you freeze. I will check that out!
do you freeze it in a pan(i.e if it’s a casserole?) or in a bag…i’m just thinking of the logistics of freezing that many pans, etc; but also how to get it in a pan once its frozen? obviously things like burgers would be easy. but what about other stuff that you need to seperate?? I’m trying to get prganized with my couponing and cooking and trying to decide if this will work!
@Amy – some people will freeze in their respective pan/baking dish. Then once frozen, remove the frozen product from the pan and wrap in plastic wrap, foil, zip bag or food saver. Be sure and label the final freezer wrap with the product, time to bake, date frozen, etc.