Meet Allison

On February 14, 2015 by Erin Fullam

Meet Once a Month Meals member Allison! She is a mom of two, and her second is brand new. She stocked the freezer to get ready for the birth and newborn days, but she also loves to freezer cook with friends.

You will definitely want to check out her blog posts detailing her OAMC adventures in the past (this was her first time, so she shares some great tips for newbies) and her large group cooking session. She has done an amazing job of creating a fun freezer cooking community with her fellow moms, so if you are at all interested in group cooking, you will want to check out her posts.

oamm member allison

How long have you been once a month cooking? How did you discover OAMM?

I did OAMC for the first time in 2010. I discovered it through a friend who had done it several times.

What circumstance pushed you to give once a month cooking a try? How has choosing to OAMC benefited you and your family?

At first, it was because I was teaching and exhausted at the end of the day. I’m not a huge fan of cooking (though, I’m getting better), so trying to come up with something new every night was too much. After a month of being able to pull things from the freezer and eat, I knew I wanted to keep doing OAMC. I don’t do it every month, or even every quarter, but I frequently OAMC when I know something big is coming up–like having a baby!

What is your favorite OAMM recipe or resource?

Hmm…I love the Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake. My husband loves the Rosemary Pot Roast. My favorite resource, though, is MenuBuilder, where you can recipe swap. I tend to be picky, so I love being able to swap out recipes for my tried and true favorites.

Extended freezer cooking space

Extended freezer cooking space.

Give us a brief introduction to your kitchen. 

I have a small, narrow kitchen–not very conducive to cooking. I usually work in the adjoining eating area, extend my kitchen table (it is bar-height) and work standing up all day. I set up one countertop in the kitchen with all the ingredients I am going to use during the day (minus things that stay refrigerated) and carry them out to my workspace at the table. Surprisingly, I haven’t had any major spills in the time I have been doing it (which is amazing, because I have carpet in my eating area–and I’m usually a magnet for spillage!)

OAMM member freezer

A full freezer!

What is the number one tip that you would give to a first timer?

Besides, use OAMC’s resources? Get a bowl or two to hold your Ziplock bags upright as you fill them. The last thing you want is to dump the last of the contents of your soup into a Ziplock bag and then have it roll over and dump out all over the floor. Also, an industrial-sized mixing bowl (like, 40 quarts or more). And plan to order in the night you cook, and make someone get it for you. You won’t want to make dinner. (I guess that’s 3 tips–but they’re the ones I dispense all the time.)

Tell us about a time when you experienced an OAMC or cooking fail.

I have had a couple of recipes not turn out well, usually because I don’t use common sense when cooking. I have learned that there are some instances where you need to cook it a little longer (or shorter) than the recipe calls for. Those are “call for pizza!” nights. But I can really only think of two times that has happened. And, you always have more than one of that recipe, so the next time you cook it, you learn from your mistakes.

Do you involve other people when you OAMC? 

Absolutely! It is WAY more fun to cook with someone else. I make my husband cut the onions. I usually set up group cooking with women from my church or mom group. I have also cooked an entire menu for another mom whose newborn ended up in the NICU. OAMC is perfect for things like that. I have also paid babysitters during OAMC with meals that I have made during the day they were watching my kid (I set that expectation up ahead of time, though!!)

A group freezer cooking together.

The group freezer cooking together.

How is OAMC hard? How does it make your life easy?

Hard: It is a long day. You’re tired. You get to the end of the day hungry.
Easy: I love being able to have at least 3 nights a week where I don’t have to think at all when it comes to dinner. I also love that I have some go-to recipes that are super-easy to double. I’m getting ready to have a baby, and so for the last few weeks, I have used some of my OAMC recipe favorites for dinners, and just made double to freeze one for later. By doing OAMC several times, it has gotten me into the “freezing mindset” and I can usually have at least one dinner during the week doubled and saved for another time.
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