We have a Titus 2 night at our church once a month. Last month I “taught” a class on OAMC. I just thought I would share some of the notes from that session (and I apologize in advance about the formatting):
I. Starting Out
A. Check out some books from the library like:
1. OAMC by Mary-Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson
2. The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy by Nanci Slagle
3. Don’t Panic – Dinner’s in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, Bonnie Garcia
B. Research online – great OAMC sites:
II. Doubling your meals
*If you are too intimidated to do an actual month of meals you can start out by just doubling some of your weekly meals.
A. Pick meals that your family likes. Pick meals that you can easily double like lasagna and various kinds of soups.
B. Then make an ongoing list of these meals and put it on the front of your freezer so you will always know what meals are in the freezer so you will be able to use them up. – Even better, make up a weekly menu plan and incorporate the freezer meals into that.
III. Master Mixes – You can do the following two mixes and freeze them and make a lot of meals from them.
A. Chicken Mix
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
B. Meat Mix
Tacos or Burritos
Cheesy Beef and Rice casserole (especially easy if you have frozen precooked rice!)
*I love the forms in the 30 Day Gourmet book. They really help you be organized!
A. Picking out your recipes
1. Buy books listed above or borrow books from the library
2. Search recipe sites on the internet. I love Recipezaar. It is where I get a lot of recipes.
3. Know what ingredients freeze well and what ingredients don’t.
4. Make a hard copy of your recipes and have them handy for your cooking day. (It wouldn’t hurt for them to be in a protective sleeve either).
5. Start out by picking about 8-10 recipes and doubling them
6. Print off a monthly calendar and make a tentative menu plan. Fill in the month so that you don’t have meals that repeat every week.
B. Making your grocery list
1. Watching for sales
2. Knowing prices
3. Having a stocked pantry
1. Write out your list of what needs to be done and organize it
2. Make a Prep Day list and an Assembly Day list
* When I am doing my big cooking day I always start the crock pot meals first. I usually try to do a prep day ahead of time where I chop all of my veggies, make my pie crust, pizza dough and tortillas. I cook all my hamburger meat and chicken. This saves A LOT of time when you do your big cooking day.
I ALWAYS have a plan mapped out for my assembly day. This makes the day go by much smoother. You may not stick to it 100% but it really helps. I try to see what recipes need the stove and which ones must be baked and plan accordingly. You could even divide your recipes up as such – the “stove top” recipes, the “oven” recipes, the “crock pot” recipes, the “no cooking required” recipes such as marinades.
1. Ziplock freezer gallon size bags for things like:
c. Meat or poultry with marinades
d. Individually frozen calzones, muffins or other such items
*To avoid freezer burn you can use the straw method to suction the air out of the bags, especially if you don’t have a fancy vacuum sealer (which I don’t).
2. Foil lined pans for casseroles.
*I line whatever size pan that I am using with foil (2 layers) and then I spray that with non-stick spray and put my casserole in that. I flash freeze that and when it is almost completely frozen I take it out of the pan, wrap it up and label it and put it back in the freezer. This saves on buying foil pans and using up all of your pans.
Flash freezing means to lay something out individually (usually on a cookies sheet) and put it in the freezer until it is almost frozen and then you put those into a Ziplock bag type of containers or the foil that you lined the pans with.
1. I ALWAYS have a sink full of hot soapy water and I usually end up running my dishwasher at least 2 times.
2. I clean and wipe up spills as I go so that I am not looking at a nuclear disaster of a kitchen when I am done for the day.
What if you only have a top (or side) freezer?
This blog has a good post about only having a top freezer.
Another way to organize a top freezer can be found at this blog.
It is always a good idea to clean out your freezer(s) before you start.
You can also find a list of Top 10 Tips For Cleaning Out Your Freezer From Once A Month Mom, found here.
Another good post from Once A Month Mom is about Preparing for a Successful OAM BIG DAY found here.
And you can always go to my OAMC tab and see what sessions I have done.
I hope that helps you learn a little more about Once a Month cooking.
Also, for more Kitchen Tips, please visit Tammy’s Recipes.
Also listed at Blissfully Domestic.