What is Once a Month Cooking?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 30 April 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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Once a month cooking, also commonly known as freezer cooking, is a meal plan that can save people time and money through careful planning and time management skills. A month’s worth of food is prepared ahead of time, frozen and then reheated for each meal. For families in which both parents work and time for cooking is minimal, this type of meal preparation plan can allow a sit-down meal when it otherwise might not be possible. Some consumers find that amending the once a month schedule to once a week works better for their budgets and schedules.

The concept of once a month cooking is frequently traced back to the "leftover dinner night” idea. This practice was popularized in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s when mothers traditionally prepared family meals from scratch each night. One dinner a week, usually on Friday or Saturday, was totally comprised of leftover dishes from previous nights.

The once a month cooking process is generally broken down into four steps. First, one day of the month must be designated exclusively for cooking. For those who work regular nine to five, weekday jobs, this day normally has to be either Saturday or Sunday. People with high energy sometimes divide this task between two evenings. The key is to choose a time when interruptions are likely to be minimal.

The second step is research. To save time and money, a list can be made of all the sales and specials offered by local markets. This organizational phase can help eliminate the need to go back and forth between stores when shopping and often ensures the best deals are obtained. This is also the time to clip money-saving food coupons.

Once the research is complete and the shopping list is made, the monthly menu needs to be planned. A big dry erase board that attaches by magnets to the freezer or refrigerator door is a popular way to post the menu, as it provides highly visible access to each meal’s components and the ability to easily modify choices. Keeping the menu in a loose-leaf notebook is a popular alternative.

Food shopping is the fourth step. Since the process of shopping for once a month cooking is normally much more time consuming than a typical trip to the grocery store, equipping the car with several Styrofoam coolers is a good way to preserve frozen and perishable goods until they can be properly stored at home. It is advisable to purchase oversized coolers to accommodate the larger, family-size packages frequently bought for once a month cooking. Be sure to purchase enough storage bags and containers to accommodate all the food to be frozen as well.

Successful once a month cooking typically requires good organization and a big freezer. The initial foray may seem overwhelming and time-consuming. However, once the plan kicks into gear and free time becomes more available, once a month cooking frequently becomes the preferred method for preparing tasty, balanced meals while increasing personal and family time.


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Post 2

Once a month cooking does require some adjustment. If you want it to work, I suggest you cook with your husband or wife. I convinced my husband that if we cook together, it would take us less time and this is true. It's actually kind of fun to cook together, unless you get in each other's way.

The other issue for me was figuring out how much food I needed to make and what I would make. I found some menu examples online and started using them. I added and took out some recipes to suit us after a while.

This is definitely something that requires organization. You need to make a list of recipes, grocery list, wash and prepare ingredients and pack them for the freezer. But it's worth it because you will get extra time to relax, watch TV or go out during the week.

Post 1

I love home cooked meals and I also don't get much time during the week to cook. I usually cook once every two days and particularly more on the weekend.

I like the once a month cooking idea but that would take me the entire weekend. The meals I make are not quick fix and I might be a slow cooker too. I also agree that once a week might be a better idea than once a month.

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