The great thing about Once a Month Meals is that we take a once old school, and cumbersome process, and create a streamlined system you can follow.
Our hope — make freezer cooking easy, and freezer meals fast.
There can be a bit of a learning curve when you first attempt to make days, weeks, maybe even a month’s worth of meals, and creating your own resources from scratch can quickly become overwhelming.
The hardest parts of freezer cooking are:
- Finding and choosing recipes from all over the interwebs. (Are they freezable or not? Will my family like them?)
- Creating a combined grocery list for those recipes, manually. (So. much. math! Especially if you decide to double a recipe!)
- Organizing your cooking process for all those recipes AND their instructions. (Because let’s be honest, we all need a plan.)
When you become an Once a Month Meals member, all of the above are done for you.
Here, let us show you how:
1) Start with a Membership
To get started with Once a Month Meals, simply sign up!
Subscribe on a monthly or yearly basis, and either gives you access to ALL of our recipes and menus. That’s right: over 6,000 recipes, 600 menus, and 11 menu types (and growing!)
Each menu (pre-made or customized) comes complete with a shopping list, prep instructions, cooking day instructions, recipe cards, labels, and thaw sheet that can be customized for the number of servings you require.
And, as a member, you can save up to 5 menus at a time, as well as save all your favorite recipes!
2) Make a Menu
There are four ways to make a menu:
Make a menu by editing and customizing an already curated menu. Click here for more detailed descriptions of our menus.
Make a menu by finding a recipe you like and building a menu based on that single recipe.
Make a menu totally from scratch using the “Create a New Menu” Button
Make a menu based on your favorite recipes using your “My Favorites” list.
If you are completely new to freezer cooking, you should start small by cooking one of our Mini Menus.
Mini menus (5-6 recipes doubled to 10-12 meals) are shortened versions of our full menus (15 recipes doubled to 30 meals). They also tend to be designed for specific seasons or occasions, such as an all breakfasts or side dishes, holiday themed, or using seasonal produce.
**ADD MENU BUILDING RECOMMENDATION LINK
- What Menu Types Do You Offer?
- How Many Menus Can I Access Each Month?
- When Do New Menus Come Out?
- I’m new to Once a Month Meals. Which menu should I cook first?
- Make Meal Planning Simple with Freezer Cooking Mini Menus
3) Prepare to Cook
Before you rush into the kitchen, you will want to quickly consult your calendar and your budget.
There is an upfront time and cost commitment when it comes to freezer cooking, so you will want to plan for that. Costs vary depending on what menu you choose and your regional prices and sales, but typically our members spend approximately $200-$350 when shopping for a full cooking day (mini menus are less.)
You will also want to check your calendar and make sure that you have at least 8-10 hours free to complete a full cooking day. *PLEASE NOTE: This time estimate with vary based upon the number of recipes you make, and the amount of servings you are cooking for.
Shop and Prep BEFORE you cook:
We recommend that you grocery shop and prep on the day or night before your big cooking day (prep includes chopping produce and pre-cooking some meats and other ingredients). This will allow you to finish all of your tasks quickly and efficiently the following day. If you try to do it all in one day, you will be exhausted, and might not even finish in time.
Start with a Mini Menu:
Again, if you are short on time or want to simplify for your first cooking day, try a mini menu. Your shopping and chopping lists will be shorter, and your total time spent will be more like 6-10 hours. Some of our mini menus are designed to be even quicker than that, such as our “Dump and Go” (formerly Easy Assembly) menus .
(From here on out it’s pretty simple!)
4) Print Your Menu Resources.
After you decide on your menu and customize it to your liking, print your documents to get started!
You will need to print and read all of the following:
- Combined Grocery Shopping List organized by category for faster and easier shopping.
- Prep Instructions to help you prepare all your ingredients ahead of time.
- Step-by-step Cooking Day Instructions for fast and efficient freezer cooking.
- Individual Recipe Cards with detailed cooking and freezing instructions.
- Printable Labels for your freezer bags with thawing and reheating instructions.
- A Thaw Sheet for a full list of your menu’s defrosting or reheating instructions.
*Remember, EVERY menu of ours comes with ALL of these resources! Even the ones you customize and make your own!
5) Shop Your Grocery List
Go to the grocery store and purchase all the ingredients listed on your Shopping List.
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- Save Money on Once A Month Cooking
- How to Cut Costs on Freezer Cooking Day
- 5 Ways to Save on Groceries
- Budget Freezer Cooking Tips
6) Prep Your Ingredients
Chop, dice or slice to prepare all your ingredients from your Prep Sheet so you can begin cooking.
- How to Save Time on Freezer Cooking Day
- Preparing for a Successful OAM BIG DAY!
- Tips for Fast Freezer Cooking
- How to Save 30 Hours a Month with Freezer Cooking, Infographic
7) Cook Your Recipes
Follow your Cooking Instructions for step-by-step instructions on how to cook your chosen recipes.
8) Freeze Your Meals
Package and freeze your meals according to your Recipe Cards for proper storing.
- What You CAN and CANNOT Freeze
- Preventing Freezer Burn
- Freezing Containers
- How Long Do Freezer Meals Last?
- 10 Tips for Organizing Your Freezer!