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Meet Cathy

On October 26, 2014 by Kim

OAMM member Cathy and her daughter used OAMM resources to provide her daughter with home-cooked meals to get her through her college semester. Genius!

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

I discovered OAMM in the spring of 2014 as a suggestion from Facebook. I noticed a few of my friends had liked your page so I went exploring.

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

I was in dire need to find some new recipes for my family, and I was intrigued with the concept of freezer meals. The layout of the program was simple and user friendly. The fact that the shopping lists and instructions were generated for me based off of my recipe selections was perfect for me. I don’t enjoy cooking! The thought of cooking only two days a month is what really sold me on OAMM. That meant more time with my family and more time on my hobbies.

What is your favorite OAMM recipe?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one! They’ve all been quite tasty. I think it’s a toss up between the Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas and the Chicken Piccata. Which is pretty funny considering the Chicken Piccata did not appeal to me in the least as I was prepping it. Funny how that works! Both recipes are now a part of every freezer meal adventure.

Give us a brief introduction to your kitchen.

I have a normal sized eat in kitchen that is divided by a peninsula – great for meal prep – and I’m blessed with a huge walk-in pantry. I pull all non-refrigerated food and spices from the pantry and put them on one half of my kitchen table, reserving the other half of the table for my recipes, prep lists, labels, freezer bags, and disposable foil containers. I utilize a smaller counter for completed meals that are cooling down and waiting to be bagged or put into foil pans.

oamm member chest freezer

This is the chest freezer that Cathy and her daughter filled for her fall semester.

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

Clear your calendar for the days you plan to shop, prep, and cook. I usually shop in the morning and chop slice and dice in the afternoon. The next morning I am ready to cook. You will be tired and want to veg out after long days in the kitchen.

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

Once I forgot to add one of the ingredients to a recipe, and it was already in the freezer –mostly frozen. I had to pull from freezer and reassemble. It wasn’t the prettiest presentation when I served it, but it was quite tasty.

Do you involve other people when you OAMC?

oamm member inventory

Cathy’s cheat sheet for her daughter, organized by type of meat.

I had this grand idea that my youngest daughter should use OAMM for college. (I wish someone had suggested this idea to ME when I was in college! Smart mom!) She lives in a campus owned house with limited time to prepare meals. During her spring break, she chose which recipes she wanted to make for the following semester, which equated to three different menus from the OAMM website. After printing them out, we decided it would be easier to do all the cooking at home since she didn’t have the kitchen essentials, the space, or the time to make them each month at college. In August, two weeks before she went back to school, we began our adventure. First, we scoped out ingredients we had on hand and placed them on the kitchen table. Then we went to the grocery store to buy the remaining ingredients. Shopping was not an easy task using three different grocery lists from three different menus. With all the groceries on the table we read through all the instructions and determined the order in which we would prep/cook each recipe. At this point I was a little apprehensive and unsure of what we had gotten ourselves into. However, we forged ahead the following morning after a few cups of coffee. The next 2 ½ days were spent prepping/cooking. In the end, we completed 35 recipes (81 meals). We made an inventory list of each meal we created.  (I loved Cathy’s inventory list! We have many readers ask us what to do once they have all the food cooked. A list like this helps you to remember what you have in the freezer and helps you plan to use it! It also makes it easy to see if you will need to put it in the slow cooker, bake it, or if it just needs to be reheated. In fact, each menu contains a Thaw Sheet Resource to help you get started with this. Obviously, Cathy and her daughter improvised since they were pulling from multiple resources. Good thinking!) The next challenge was figuring out how to organize it in a small chest freezer that we purchased for her to take to school. Ultimately, we chose to put the duplicate meals in a reusable grocery tote at the bottom of the freezer and the remaining meals stacked on top. On moving day we unloaded the freezer into cold grocery totes and reloaded the food once the freezer was in its permanent spot in her house on campus.

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

My daughter is enjoying her home cooked meals away from home. She loves the ease of making dinner each night and usually has leftovers for the following day’s lunch. She’s told me the hardest part is choosing which meals to make because they all look delicious. She’s already planning on cooking OAMM for spring semester while she’s home on winter break.

**Do you have a unique membership story or use OAMM in an unusual way? We would love to hear about it! Send it to info @ onceamonthmeals.com with the subject: I am OAMM. Talk to you soon!**

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