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Once A Month Cooking Whether you cook for a month or just double your dinners, this is the place to share ideas.

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Old 01-10-2002, 09:08 PM
Amanda's Avatar
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Question Once A Month Cooking (OAMC)

Does anyone do this? My DH doesn't like the idea of warmed over food. I am not crazy about the idea of standing in the kitchen for an entire day either.
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Old 01-12-2002, 05:26 AM
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OAMC, or batch cooking (where you make many similar meals) is great at reducing your budget and reducing the cooking stress in your life!

Bulk or OAM cooking can save you a load of money. You tend to eat out less often because you can't think of anything to eat or you just don't have time. It's already done! Also, you can take advantage of sales and buy in bulk - then cook in bulk and have at least the beginning portion of a meal ready, if not the whole thing!

I learned to do 2 things to help with that "warmed over taste".

If a meal is highly intensive in preparing, but no biggie to cook it, I typically make up a bunch of the meals, then freeze uncooked. Then, I can just take them out the night before serving, let them thaw in the fridge overnight, and put in the oven at the usual time, but I don't have to do anything to it. A good example is lasagna. I just make sure that I only cook the noodles about 1/2 way before preparation, make them up (I happen to use a loaf pan to feed my husband and I with leftover for his lunch the next day). I line the pan in plastic wrap, assemble the lasagna, freeze it, then remove it from it's pan and store in a large freezer bag, removing all the air. Then, I just peel off the plastic, pop it back into a loaf pan and let it thaw. Then cook! I do make sure I have lots of sauce covering all the noodles so that they don't dry out in the process.

For meals that aren't intensive in preparation, I might cook 1/2 way or 3/4 of the way before freezing. That way, they still have cooking time left and don't taste "warmed over".

When boneless/skinless chicken breasts go on sale (at 1.99 or lower) I grab as much as my budget can handle that month (we usually spend $200/mo on 3 people and 3 cats). Then, I can do many things:

Cook up a bunch and cube to toss into salads, casseroles, etc. I keep at least 3 bags of just cubed chicken (2c in each bag) for impromptu meals or if I really want to cook that night.

I do some strips or cubes that are frozen along with ranch dressing that will later become nuggets.

I do quite a few different marinades that I can prepare in bulk, and store 4-5 breasts (to feed us for one meal and have at least one lunch leftover) in bags with the marinades covering them. This way, the entire time they are thawing, they are marinading.

When I can get ground beef on sale, I usually do a few things with it.

I boil it (yes boil...less messy than browning, gets rid of more fat and has a small texture compared to the larger chunks in browning - great for tacos). I then set some of that aside and make taco meat in a deep skillet, ,where I let it simmer for an hour or two, then bag in 2Cportions for a meal. I use some as filling in spaghetti sauce or other casseroles.

I usually make a batch of meat balls and meat muffins (cooked in muffin tins instead of whole loaves). They store easily and can be added to anything.

I hope this gives you some ideas to make some quick and easy meals for the freezer. Even if all you do is prepare some of the basics in bulk ahead of time, it'll save you an awful lot of time in front of the stove.

Here are some websites with great recipes and plans for you to check out. Please let me know if you have anymore questions. - the authors of my favorite freezer cookbook
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Old 01-12-2002, 10:54 AM
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Hi ya Aslansavz,
All I have to say at this time, after raeding your last posting on OAMC etc., is BRAVO. My eyes were glued to the screen. Again Bravo,
Ciao for now,
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Old 01-16-2002, 02:43 PM
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Hi Amanda,

I was introduce to OAMC before Chrismas. Instead of meeting once a month, we meet every other week. The first day, I was exausted but the week after I had so much fun.

The organization has a day care that cost me $1.00 for the day for my two kids. We pay $6.00 for each person we want a plate for. That means that if I cook for 3 it costs 19.00 (3x6 + 1.00)

We are 6 people making the recepies. We decide on the recepies with the specials of the week at the grocery stores. We bring our recepies and vote for the ones we want to make.It's great and we choose 5 recepies in the quantities we want.

That means great economy......

Hope you try it out and let me know.

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Old 01-18-2002, 12:41 AM
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Hi, All -

I just recently received a book that sounds like a compromise:
Make-A-Mix (New Expanded Edition) by Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward and Madeline Westover.
ISBN # 1-55561-073-0

It contains "306 recipes to save time and money. Make with 67 easy do-it-yourself mixes."

It contains many mix recipes (67 to be exact, LOL) that range from ones that are Bisquick-like to ones where you make about 5 lbs of meat up at once, then freeze it in separate containers. After each mix recipe there are several (usually 5-10+) recipes and the corresponding page numbers.

It looks good to me because you can just "try out" one or two mixes at a time and see if you like it. If you do one (such as the meat ones) then you have a good 'head-start' on at least 5 dinners and can make more mixes as you want/have time. The meat is already prepared and seasoned, then you just defrost/prepare it and add things to it and continue with the various recipes. I think then it would taste 'fresh' everytime, too.

Some examples of the meat-type mixes are: All-Purpose Ground-Meat Mix, Chicken Mix, Meatball Mix, Cubed Pork, Mexican and Italian-Style Meat Mix.

Also mixes are included for beans, muffins, stuffing, cookies, brownies, cakes, hot chocolate, etc... It's very diverse!

I must confess I've not tried any yet, but I plan to very soon. I found it at Amazon(UK) - I think they have excellent reviews of cookbooks there, plus sometimes they provide sample pages.

This is my 1st post here, so I hope this works and this helps.

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Old 01-18-2002, 04:12 AM
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Hi Sherri and welcome!

You are right, that IS a good book! My friend Laura has it and I have been using the taco seasoning and chili seasoning mix for a couple of years now.

Thanks for reminding me about that, it's a great idea. Not as overwhelming as cooking entire meals and freezing them.
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Old 01-18-2002, 06:05 AM
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I am going too have too look for that book, I love make it yourself mixes. I am gradually trying too fill my cupboard up with them. It makes it easy too have them around, and so much less expensive than buying pre made mixes.
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Old 01-18-2002, 08:16 AM
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Here's the Make A Mix book at Amazon, and yes, if you buy it through Amazon it does help support this site

Make A Mix
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Old 01-19-2002, 06:53 PM
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I've been using the 30-day-gourmet for about 3 or 4 years. (their office is in the same town I live). It's GREAT!!!!!! The recipes are inexpensive and taste great, too. The Chicken nuggets and mozzerella sticks are fantastic. I've done OAMC for about 9 years (off and on). It time-saving, cost-cutting and allows for more time with family.

OAMC can be used with most recipes once you get the hang of it.
I usually do all my own cooking because I enjoy doing it. It feels great to have quick healthy meals available for my family. Yes, you're tired when you're done. Some things are worth it. This is one of them!! Depending on how many meals I make sometimes I "cook" only every other month.

If you are unsure about OAMC. Just do a week or two worth of meals. It gives you an idea without cooking ALL day long. A great starter book along with the 30day is "Once- A-Month Cooking" by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg.

I hope this answers some questions.
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Old 02-03-2002, 08:16 PM
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lewango.......Would you mind posting the recipes for the Chicken Nuggets and Mozzerella sticks? I'd love to try them.
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