Shoestring Cooking: Once-a-month Cooking (OAMC)

I first encountered OAMC (Once-a-month Cooking) about a dozen years ago. At the time, I was a vegan working at home, and didn’t have much use for it, but I loved the idea in a foodgeeky kind of way anyway. The thought of having actual good, healthy food in the freezer to grab in a time crunch was appealing, besides which I just love to plan things.

In the years since, I’ve used the principles I’ve learned from reading OAMC books to help out when friends and family have crises and aren’t up to cooking: I’ll spend a weekend day cooking all day, and when I’m done, they have twenty or more meals stashed in their freezers for later, at a fraction of the cost of buying TV dinners or eating out. One of my recent efforts made something like fifty-seven servings of food for less than a hundred dollars, and that included meat in each dish; my own family’s food would be likely to cost less than that, because it’s mostly vegetarian.

This week, I’m excited to be planning my own OAMC adventures. See, I’m starting back to school in September, and I’ll still be working, too, so I’m going to have very little time for hanging out in the kitchen making three meals a day from scratch. So I’m going to carve out a day at the beginning of every month (when I get paid!) and freeze enough food so that on the days when I’m too busy studying to put dinner on the table, James or the kid or I can just reach in, follow the directions, and make us some food.

Do you make some dishes that freeze well? Tell me about them, please!

I’m going to go through our standards, and look in freezer-cooking books, but I’m also eager to hear about your favorites. What do you cook that tastes good after it’s been frozen and reheated? I’m especially interested in stuff that matches how we usually eat. We don’t eat much meat, and when we do, it’s usually not a big slab of meatloaf or anything, but hey, if you have the ultimate freezer meatloaf, lay it on me.

For the next few days, I’ll probably be talking about this a lot, so if it doesn’t interest you, please accept my apologies in advance. And here’s a photo of the food in my next actual food post, as a teaser and peace offering:

Pork pie, whole, and a bowl of apples, and a bunch of test tubes of spices.

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  1. W H Stoneman wrote on July 15th, 2011 at 1:26 pm Uhr1

    Save your fork….there is a Beautiful Pie!!! My favorite entree!

  2. Emma in Sydney wrote on July 16th, 2011 at 1:31 am Uhr2

    We do more once-a-week cooking, but we need to get dinner for four of us on the table within half an hour of getting home 5 nights a week, as 2 of us are under 10, so we cook and freeze a lot.
    Today, for example, I’ve cooked a beef stew, a bolognese sauce and tomorrow I’m up for a chicken curry, dahl, and potato and cabbage soup as well as lentil and vegetable soup. That should have all the nights of the week sorted.
    Soups all freeze really well, but the real star is vegetable curry and dahl. Also slow-cooked baked beans, which I freeze in single portions and microwave to get some protein into my picky breakfast eater, aged 7. She’ll always eat baked beans, and mine are far better for her than the sugary canned kind.
    But you know all this, Serene. What a good friend you must be, turning up with meals for the freezer.

  3. Tané Tachyon wrote on July 17th, 2011 at 10:24 pm Uhr3

    My freezer is always pretty packed full with ice creams and things like berries and mushrooms that would otherwise go bad in the refrigerator because I don’t use them fast enough, so there’s not much room for stockpiling meals — I’m more a person who makes a big batch of something and puts it in the refrigerator to eat for a week. However, in the past there have definitely been times when I’d gotten tired of some big batch of soup or stew I’d made, mixed in some gluten flour and kneaded/shaped it into vegetarian burgers, and then wrapped and froze those individually.

  4. Serene wrote on August 25th, 2011 at 8:53 am Uhr4

    I am SO late answering this, but you inspired me to freeze lentil soup, and it came out really well. Thank you so much!

  5. Serene wrote on August 25th, 2011 at 8:54 am Uhr5

    After about a day or two, no one here (including me) wants the leftovers in the fridge. If it’s really yummy, it doesn’t last long, and if it’s not yummy enough to be devoured, it keeps getting passed over until it’s gross. When I lived alone, I could just make foods I knew I would eat.

    Oh, and the burger thing is… intriguing. :-)