This is something I’d LOVE to develop more in our household, and some would say I’m a failure at it since I’ve been flirting with the concept for about six years now without fully participating on a regular basis–but I find it’s a worthwhile interest and pursuit no matter how much I can manage.
Once A Month Cooking (also known as OAMC, Bulk Cooking and Freezer Cooking) is a very organized method of bulk meal preparation–for an entire month at a time! Or if you want to start small, you can try Once or Twice A Week Cooking or double and triple batching prepared meals to test the waters a bit first (I’m still at this stage).
Three Steps To Once A Month Cooking
- Pick one day a month to cook and prepare all (or most) of your family’s meals for the month ahead. Have the groceries on hand, the recipes set out, the phone turned off and the kids busy with their own schedule.
- During the month collect flyers and coupons, pricewatch! Bulk buy whatever’s on sale that you can use when cooking meals. Plan your month ahead, choose recipes around what the best buys are and what your family enjoys (no use saving money on a dish that no one will eat).
- After a full day of cooking, pack it all in the freezer. You’ll need to keep an organized freezer when you’re cooking a month at a time–make sure to pull aside any meals that weren’t used the previous month so you get to those first.
You’ll need shopping and do-ahead-prep time as well, depending on how much you need to do–that could set aside a day (preferably the day before batch cooking).
With bulk cooking once a month, you enjoy a freezer full of nutritious, prepared homemade meals, enjoy fantastic savings (by buying in bulk as well as cutting way back on take-out). Some dedicated participants have cut their grocery bills in half (and more!) with careful planning. And it’s a huge time saver as an added bonus.
OAMC Forums & Groups
- Frozen Assets: Cooking for the Freezer
- Recipezaar Forum: Cooking on a Budget: OAMC, Make Ahead, Freezing & More
- MakeAheadMeals · Make-Ahead, Freezer and Mega Meals Info
- Friendly Freezer
Once A Month Cooking Recipes
Tips & Tools For Bulk Cooking
- Robbyn’s Friendly Freezer (update: link changed to web archive since original web page no longer active)
If you are interested in bulk cooking yet don’t fully succeed at regular cooking sessions–please don’t get discouraged, you can still pick up great tips along the way until you get there. Stockpiling supplies and frugal helpers like Price Books, household organizers and meal planners are some of the big tips (and timesavers) that I accumulated along the way. You’ll find the OAMC community full of very thrifty and organized people.
Once a month cooking doesn’t have to be all or nothing – you can start by simply doubling or tripling your normal prepared meal size, meanwhile develop new habits and frugal skills just by following and learning from the OAMC community. It’s a very worthwhile pursuit and interest I think, and some great resources are listed above to keep you busy this weekend if you’d like to get started :).