On May 4, 2009 by Kelly

No matter what your food budget or your grocery means, there are lots of ways to do once a month cooking. You don’t have to buy your groceries through a traditional grocery store to make it work. Here is a reader that can tell you more about she is gotten creative on a tight budget. When I found Once A Month Mom at the end of February, I was really intrigued about the concept of once a month cooking.  I had heard about “freezer meals” through friends, but it had never really sunk in as a beneficial time- and money-saving opportunity.  That is, until I started reading Tricia & Cortney’s posts about their once a month cooking experiences.  A light went off:  You mean I can save time?  I can save money?  Really?  I was hooked! But I didn’t know exactly when or where or how to start.  Mentally, I was ready to start OAMC immediately, but I didn’t have the financial means to buy a month’s worth of food to get started.  And I didn’t want to wait while stocking up on supplies. Then I remembered that I had ordered food from Angel Food Ministries and I knew that would be a perfect opportunity to jump-start my OAMC.  Angel Food Ministries, or AFM, is a non-profit organization that provides affordable meals to individuals and families, young and old, without regard to income or financial need.  The menu changes each month, and there are several boxes and specials to choose from.  The price of a regular box, which you buy in advance of receiving, is only $30 and includes enough food to feed a family of four for about a week.  (For more information on why we use Angel Food Ministries read here). For the March AFM order, I had purchased two regular boxes and a fruit/vegetable box.  As pick-up day approached, I decided to make it my OAMC day.  But with it being my first freezer meal cooking experience, and not having quite enough ingredients and supplies to make a full month’s worth of meals, I planned instead to cook about 1-1/2 weeks’ worth supper meals.  I created my menu based on the food I would receive in my regular and fruit/vegetables boxes, plus some goodies I already had on-hand.  I would have gladly made more meals, but didn’t have all the ingredients to make complete meals since my decision to do freezer meals that day was rather last-minute.  The meals I selected included:

The verdict?  My OAMC experience was AWESOME!  I really enjoyed the very act of cooking.  There wasn’t any pressure to finish by a specific time, I didn’t feel rushed, my kids didn’t stress me out.  And after I made my freezer meals, there were several days when my husband had a meeting in the evening, or our son had baseball practice, or something came up and we needed to eat early or late, which meant that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to make something.  But since I had meals in the freezer, all I had to do was thaw a meal in the refrigerator, then pop it in the oven or heat it up on the stove…so convenient since our schedules were suddenly so busy! I have placed another order with Angel Food Ministries for April, and I will do more OAMC when I take my order home.  I am so excited and I can’t wait to get started!  If you are interested in any of my recipes for my OAMC experience, please feel free to visit my site. About DeAna I’ve been married to my sweetheart for 8 years, and we live in North Carolina with our son (5 yrs) and daughter ( 2-1/2 yrs).  I am a full-time mom, wife, employee, gardener, cook, baker, crafter, scrapbooker, maid, chauffer…you name it, I end up doing it!  Balancing my time and all my “duties” has been a struggle for me since my children were born.  My family means the world to me, so I try to find ways to do things more efficiently and frugally so I can spend more time with my family.  I recently started Balancing Act Basics, where I try to share some of what I’ve learned with others who also want to put family first so that everything else will fall into place.