Today's Functional Friday Topic :OAMC
When I first encountered OAMC, it was a just a strange tag I noticed tacked onto recipes I was seeing on my favorite online recipe site.
When I looked it up, however, I was surprised to find that it wasn't a new or complicated idea at all - it was just a different name for something I'd seen my mother do for years! Once A Month Cooking is the practice of big-batch cooking and freezing of meals for easy reheating later. I've seen it done quite successfully in individual portions (great for when people have widely varied schedules or diverse dietary needs) and as family-sized meals (a great alternative to bringing home a bucket of KFC or picking up subs).
OAMC is not for everyone, but it does have some clear benefits:
1. Real food ready in less time. Having been pre-cooked, OAMC meals just need to be reheated which means that there's no prep (and therefore no prep dishes to wash later), so food can be popped in the oven the instant you walk in the door. By the time everyone has put their stuff away, washed up and set the table, you're good to go! This is a great way to save money and still eat real food together as a family.
2. It's easy to keep track of what you have. No more getting elbow deep in a recipe only to realize you're short a key ingredient. One quick glance in the freezer tells you exactly what you've got and you know it's all there, ready to go!
3. Less grocery shopping and less food waste. Since you do a lot of cooking all at once, you can do a single run to the grocery store for everything you'll need for several weeks worth of meals. Prepping and cooking everything the same day or within a couple days of the shopping run means nothing gets shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten or accidentally goes bad before you get to it.
4. Convenience. When everyone in your house seems to be on a different schedule and a different diet, pre-cooking and freezing individually portioned meals can go a long way towards keeping the peace while maintaining budgets and waistlines! Make two or three meals each person really enjoys and divvy them up in small containers.
Whether you find OAMC a good fit for you or not, I strongly recommend that everyone keep at least two meals worth of pre-prepped frozen food in your freezer. Life sneaks up on us all - new recipes flop, schedules get out of whack, appliances go on the fritz. On stressful days when your best plans have fallen apart, there's very little as comforting as knowing that you can grab one of your backup meals from the freezer, slide it in the oven (or on the grill) and have at least one thing done with ease and no time at all!
Has OAMC worked for you?