This is my third month of OAMC (once a month cooking) and I’ve learned a few things about myself after doing this a few times.
1. I LOVE grabbing a meal out of the freezer, dumping it in the crock pot in the morning and having dinner ready without me having to do much of anything but dump a bag in a pot.
2. My hubby loves it because he is the “dish man” and it means less clean up and dishes every night.
2. I stink at remembering to take out the freezer meal the night before.
3. Hubby loves to set reminders on his phone to take a dinner out of the freezer the night before.
4. There are some meals that I don’t know if they will freeze well and I miss them, not cooking but the meals themselves. So I don’t do ALL freezer meals, some of the meals I do make the day we eat them.
5. Variety is key! This could get really boring really quick for meal selection if my family doesn’t step up their palettes! Seriously, I made a ham dinner with cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and rolls. Three out of four kids ate just ham, one child ate a small amount of stuffing with the ham. That is not a high percentage of success and is typical of most meals at our home.
So this month has some repeats from the last two times I did OAMC, which you can find those posts here and here. I also included some dinners that don’t require freezing and some that require actual cooking besides the one big cooking day.
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole – easy to make, fairly cheap and shocker, 3 out of 4 of my kids eat it!
Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup – new recipe, haven’t tried it yet so you can wait a month for a review from me or be brave and try it with me this month! I’m throwing it all in a freezer bag minus the chicken broth which I will add when I dump it in the crock pot. I am going to write it on the freezer bag to add the chicken broth as a friendly reminder.
Mexican Chicken – I will post this recipe soon! This is a basic recipe, a favorite of my kids and not healthy at all but that’s ok.
Chicken Stroganoff – Another hit with my kids. Really easy
Beef Taco Lasagna – Made this before and my kids liked it so another win in my book! Bonus, the recipe makes two so no need to try and double everything, the recipe is doubled for you!
Lasagna Roll Ups – another new recipe, although I figure lasagna is pretty basic. I made two of these but I didn’t feel well last night and was getting a little angry at the rolling of the lasagna so one pan is roll ups and the other pan is straight up lasagna.
Enchilada Casserole with noodles – another new recipe, this time with egg noodles not soft shells. Not freezing this one, well except for the ground beef which I already made and will warm up in the pan and then add the seasonings and cream cheese.
Bowtie Pasta Skillet – not a freezer meal but pretty quick to make and we enjoy it!
Meatballs & Spaghetti
Meatball Subs – another favorite here.
Ham & Cheesy Potatoes – I knew a ham could stretch this month’s dinners pretty far and for .99 a pound, it was $10 and I can get three meals at least out of this.
Ham and Swiss Quiche – A favorite breakfast of mine, I was reading up on other quiches so just make it and then instead of popping into the oven, freeze it but first put plastic wrap around it then the tin foil. Then when ready to bake, remove tin foil and plastic wrap, throw it in the oven at 375 for an hour. I will let you know if this works! Sorry to leave you hanging on this one.
Ham Balls – there is still one pan left from the last time I made these. I divided up the cheesy potatoes into three meals so I have some in the freezer to eat with these. Yum!
Unfortunately I did not put together a grocery list with this meal plan but I find it is just easier for me to inventory what I have on hand and make my own grocery list which will be different than what your list will looks like. If you have any questions on freezer cooking or the recipes, I’d love to help you out!
If this is your first time doing once a month cooking, I have a few tips for you.
1. Plan to spend a few hours making meals, don’t do this on a super busy day or when you are feeling tired and/or sick.
2. I have a Pinterest board with links to recipes and tips for Once a Month Cooking and another great board to check out is my Crock Pot Board if you want to create your own menu for the month. I have links to tons of great sites that list many, many freezer meals.
3. Plan to have a basic meal like cereal or frozen pizza, or maybe even order in some pizza. You will be tired and NOT want to cook another meal and yes, you could cook one of the meals you made that day but I like to
hoard save them and get off easy on this day.
4. Maybe you are more organized than me and I think I’m fairly organized, but just plan on forgetting at least one thing and that you will have to make a
bazillion trip or trips to the store.
5. Do NOT, I repeat do NOT, shop and cook on the same day. Been there, done that and it was awful!!! You will never want to do this again. This is what my kitchen looks like after a session of OAMC, so shopping, cooking and cleaning all on the same day would discourage me from ever doing this again.
6. I have cooked chicken in the crock pot overnight that needed to be shredded, diced, etc. for the meals and this was so helpful when my chicken was all ready and waiting for me in the morning. You could do this with ground beef as well and save yourself some work on the big cooking day.
7. Don’t forget to have a fat sharpie marker, saran wrap, tin foil, freezer bags and foil trays on hand for your food.
8. LABEL, LABEL, LABEL! Seriously, I forgot to do this once so it was a surprise for all of us what we were having for dinner. I write what the dinner is, if it’s crock pot or oven and if it is the for the oven what temp it needs to bake at. I also include if I need to add anything to it before cooking, like a can of chicken broth or cheese, etc.
9. Wear an apron. For real. It’s about to get messy in here!
10. If you can find a friend or two who want to join you, it is way more fun than doing it alone! Or maybe your kids or hubby will even help you out. After all, they benefit from this just as much as you will!
So there you have it friends, some new recipes, some favorites and a bunch of meals in my freezer!