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Once-A-Month-Cooking – Getting Started

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No one said it would be pretty

How it started:

I’ve know about Once-a-month Cooking (OAMC) for a long time. I’ve seen the books, articles in magazines and blogs. It always really interested me but trying to put together all of the details is what held me back from trying it out.

This weekend I came a cross Tricia’s website Once A Month Mom. I had been to her site before, but this time I really took a look around. I was so impressed by the detail that she put into planning the menus, shopping list and instructions. She even provides printable labels! What a time saver!

I looked over the menu and thought “I can do this!” – a bit of an optimist, I know. I loved that most of the recipes this month were already gluten-free because I’ve been needing to cut out wheat from my diet and I’ve found it hard to get started.

I was reading the comments left on the Once A Month Mom site when I came across Angela’s site where she writes about Gluten and Dairy free cooking. She did a great adaptation of the February OAMC menu that I was able to use to make all of my meals gluten free!

So that’s how it all started, next I moved on to planning. What made this entire process easy was that Tricia takes the time to create printable lists for everything.

Click here to see the different printable sheets: February 2010


First, I printed out her grocery list, instructions and recipes.

I decided that I was going to cut out the pork meals because I couldn’t find a good price on pork and thought I’d have my hands full already. So I edited the grocery list to remove the items for those recipes.

** I wanted to add that all the recipes, shopping lists and instructions are intended for 2 people to do together, I did not adjust the recipes, which I would highly recommend if you are doing this alone. If I do this alone again I will change the recipes (split them all in 1/2) so that it’s not quite so much work/food.


I looked over the shopping list and checked my kitchen to see what I had on hand. I compared my shopping list with the grocery store ads and coupons. Our local Giant Store had chuck roast and chicken buy one get one free. The ground beef was 1.99 a pound (I’m sure I could have done much better on the meat prices if I had more time to shop around.

I made sure I purchased most of my supplies in bulk, I even stuck with generic products as much as possible to keep the cost down. My total for everything I needed was around $180.00. Not bad for 42 meals. That made each meal cost around $4.30! ** remember that I did have some of the supplies on hand (ie. milk, flours, butter, spices etc) also this amount could have (and should have) been split between 2 people.


I really think preparation is key to having a successful cooking day.

  • Pre-cook all of your meats and chop up all of your vegetables
  • Clean the kitchen, clearing off all surfaces.
  • Check all of your supplies. Make sure you have enough Crockpots (borrow some from a friend like I did, Thanks Rebekah!) , pots, pans, ziplock bags, and freezer containers.
  • Plan ahead for where you will store all of your food once it is cooked. Coolers with ice are a great way to cool down your meals before you put them in the freezer if you don’t have enough space in your fridge. Another idea is to use coolers to store the food you have in your refrigerator so you can use your fridge for cooling meals. Thankfully it was freezing outside yesterday so I was comfortable using our porch to keep meals cold.

The day before “cooking day” I put all of the chicken in the Crockpot and Kevin was so sweet and cooked up all of the ground beef and peeled all of the carrots for me while I was at work. I did not cut up all of the vegetables that I needed and I regretted that BIG time the next day.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting about cooking day. I’d love to try to answer any questions you might have, just leave me a comment!
Just remember I’ve only done this one time but I sure did learn a lot in one day.

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  • Reply
    February 18, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Wow. I’m intrigued.

  • Reply
    Tricia (Once A Month Mom)
    February 18, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for all of the great coverage about the site. I am so impressed you did it all by yourself. Even I wouldn’t do that! 🙂 I love reading these stories as well. It is fun to see what others are doing and how they approach the menu. Happy Eating!

  • Leave a Reply

    Hey Donna