Have you ever just had one of those days where you lack all “want to” and gusto to fix dinner? It’s in the plan, you have everything to make it, but you just aren’t feeling it?
Insert Once a Month Cooking (OAMC). It solves that problem for you.
Ever forget an ingredient at the grocery store for your planned meal, and nothing else comes to mind to fix. Or the planned meal just doesn’t sound appetizing at all?
You guessed it! OAMC solves those problems too.
Having a meal in the freezer has also saved my budget on those occasions when I think I want to eat out. Then I remember that there is some Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup, or a casserole waiting for me in my freezer. That isn’t to say that we don’t eat out, because we do..on occassion. Honestly, I can’t wait until I have a whole freezer full of meals to choose from (I would be happy with half a freezer at this point!).
Basically the concept is to cook up a whole bunch of different meals or partial meals that are freezer friendly in one day (or a couple or even just do one extra when you make your regular dinner). I’ve been dreaming of doing a OAMC day, but frankly I’ve just not made it that far. Honestly, in the OAMC world, I’ve not made it far at all.
Here are some of my tips, from my very limited experience:
- Freeze your meat in a marinade. That way when you need it, all you have to do is take it out of the freezer and thaw.
- Freezing individual servings is ideal for lunches. For soups and broth, let cool first and then pour into a paper cup. Once frozen, you can pop them out of the cup and put into a Ziploc bag.
- Label, Label, Label. You will definitely want to make sure that you label everything, even if you think that you will recognize it later on. There are so many foods, that when frozen, look alike. Avoid the guessing game, by labeling when you put it in the freezer. I have guilty of this too many times to count!
- Cook like meals together. For instance; Hamburger meals, Chicken meals, etc. This will make your prep so much easier instead of having numerous different kinds of meat out.
What to freeze?
- I freeze lots and lots of soups mostly because when making them they take on a life of their own. By the time I am done I have a huge stockpot full and it just isn’t possible for us to eat it all before we grow tired of it, or before it goes bad (which just isn’t an option). To take up less space put them in a Ziploc bag and lay them flat.
- Pasta Sauces. Brown up a bunch of hamburger meat and add the desired amount of pasta sauce (perfect for the summer months when you have an abundance of garden fresh vegetables). Freeze in family sized portions. Perfect for lasagna, spaghetti, tortellini, or any other recipe that calls for a meat marinara sauce. Just thaw your frozen portion and proceed with the recipe!
- Endless amounts of baked goods. So very handy to freeze muffins, cookies, cakes, breads, etc for using later as snacks or in packed lunches. TIP: Pop a frozen muffin in your lunch box, and by lunch time it should be ready to eat. It also helps keep your other food cold.
- Various Casseroles.
- Breakfast Burritos. Scramble up a dozen eggs, fry up a pound of bacon or sausage, add some cheese and wrap up a bunch of burritos. Perfect for mornings on the run. I used to make up a bunch of these when I was still working and my husband and I would both grab one on our way out the door. When we made them, I would wrap them in aluminum foil. When ready to heat, remove the foil and pop in the microwave. Beats McDonald’s burritos any day!
- And although I’ve never tried it (but have been meaning to): Make your own frozen pizza. Why not? Homemade pizza is way better than those processed, lacking toppings, no choice, store bought frozen ones. I’m hoping to try freezing our new favorites.
Right now that is all that I have tried, but it is just a sampling of the endless possibilities you have with OAMC/Freezer Meals.
Once you get started, you’ll be Finding Freedom in no time!
What are your tips for OAMC or for making Freezer Meals? Have any recipes to share? How has it helped you?
I really can’t wait to see what you all bring, but please abide by the rules. (You can find them at the bottom of this post)