Once a month I get together with a friend and we spend the entire day cooking up a storm. This is the week of OAMC for February. On an average OAMC day we prepare anywhere from 15 to 20 main dishes and 2 side or appetizer type items that will be frozen and used throughout the next month. I have been doing this for nearly a year now and I cannot live without it!!! It is an absolute life saver for a busy Mom or a busy anyone or for anyone who loves to cook good food and eat good, home cooked meals on a daily basis but doesn't nessecarily love, have the time or have the energy to spend 1-2 hours a day in the kitchen making it happen; or someone who wishes they didn't have to eat out so much because of their busy scheduele because it is not healthy or is too expensive; or if you want to reduce the amount of grocery trips you have to take in a month; or if you spend half of your grocery budget in the frozen food section; or even if you just want to reduce you grocery budget. Did I mention that we make all these meals for and average of $50 a month!?! You may be asking but how?? Haha! that is a loaded question than MANY a person has asked me to answer. I have had MANY people ask if they could come do this with me or just come to observe or could I teach them how to do it. I have to usually turn them down. I feel bad but I cannot take the time to teach countless people all that is involved in this. Some day I may have the spare time but at this phase in my life I do not.
So lucky you I am going to share with you the best I can VIA blog on the ins and outs of my OAMC process. I will put up a few posts this week walking you through it with me.
Decide if you want to do this by yourself or with a partner. I personally love to spend time with people. It adds motivation for me. Then you also get to have another persons recipes and opinions to help break up the dulrums of the same ole same ole for dinner. Now there are some KEY elements in picking you partner. Now if you are unlike me and are a self motivated person then you are probably able to tackle this on your own.
If you choose to go with partner here are the 3 KEYS
1: You need to have similar budget ideas. If one person like the finest cuts of beef at $6 a lb and you prefer to only buy meat if it is $.99 a lb or less (that is me BTW) then it will probably become an issue.
2: You need similar food tastes. Again if you just love your grandma's casserole recipes but they prefer filet mingion then there will most likely be conflict.
3: Speaking of conflict that is #3. You both have to be willing to work respectfully through conflict. Trust me you put two women in a kitchen for 12 hours month after month, you WILL have conflict. You will do things differently and you have to be able to let things go and if it is an issue you cannot let slide you have to be able to handle it with grace and love.
Find your recipes. Over the past year I have accummulated a decent amount of recipes that are OAMC compatible. You would be surprised what can be frozen pulled out heated up and taste like you spent all day in the kitchen. I started by looking through all the recipes that I know my family loves and seeing if they would work. Most do! It is just a matter of figuring out the best stopping place for the recipe to freeze. Then my partner does the same. After that depending on how many recipes you come up with you can scour the internet for any additional ones you want to try. From my experience with trying new recipes you have to have an open mind. Especially with a partner. I have decided I can try almost anything once and if it is a flop then I don't have to do it again. There have been a few flops but hey you have to live and learn.
Then you need to look through what recipes you have come up with and decide the final list. A few things to keep in mind when making your final decision.
1. Sales, what we do is find out what is on sale at the price we are willing to pay usually $.99 a lb or less. We will splurge on 1 or 2 recipes a month where the meat cost more but still under $2 a lb and rarely $3 a lb. Then we pick what recipes we will do according to the sale.
2. Variety. Do you want to eat chicken 17 times this month? If not, make sure you pick a variety of meals to prepare.
3. Time involved in each recipes preparation. It is fine to have 5 meals that require a large amount prep time but you also need to put in 5 that are just marinade type recipes that take minimal prep time and 7 that only require a medium amount of prep.
Ok that is enough work for one day. Tomorrow I will touch on making the grocery list/layout and shopping day. Susan and I are doing our shopping tomorrow and cooking on Wednesday. I will not be posting on Wednesday unless it is late in the evening and I am proping my feet up after a long but productive day. Over the next couple days I will also post a list of recipes that we use, how we decide where we cook and why and money handling. Then finally a Q and A. If I have any questions regarding any of this I will answer them on Friday.