Freezer Meals with Once A Month Cooking

freezer meals
During deployments, I made freezer meals regularly using Once A Month Meals’ database. As we head into the school year I decided it was time to start stocking the freezer with healthy homemade meals. I wanted to share this process and my overall thoughts on the system with you. Part of finding joy in the every day is planning healthy meals and time spent around the dinner table. Once A Month Meals helps me get out of the kitchen and away from the stress of meal planning to sit and enjoy my children.

Freezer Meals Step 1

You begin by choosing your menu. I suggest, if you’ve never used Once A Month Meals before that you begin with their FREE MINI MENU (click on this link and scroll to the bottom of page) . There are a number of categories to pick from (Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Diet, Traditional, Instant Pot, and more). Once you have chosen your menu you can swap out recipes. They have a database of over 600 recipes to choose from.
Each menu comes with the following:
  1. A Grocery Shopping List organized by category for faster and easier shopping.
  2. Prep Instructions to help you prepare all your ingredients ahead of time.
  3. Step-by-step Cooking Day Instructions for fast and efficient freezer cooking.
  4. Individual Recipe Cards with detailed cooking and freezing instructions.
  5. Printable Labels for your freezer bags with thawing and reheating instructions.
  6. A Thaw Sheet for a full list of your menu’s defrosting or reheating instructions.
I also like using the mini menus to prep and store vegetables from our garden. Red Gryphon Tavern gives simple how to steps to build a menu centered around one ingredient.

Freezer Meals Step 2

Print off your grocery list and go grocery shopping. Pay attention to what you are buying. My list said mushrooms and I hadn’t spent enough time looking over the recipes first. I bought way too many sliced mushrooms when what I needed was whole ones for shishkabobs. Despite my own poor attention to detail, I was able to find and buy everything I needed for the entire month’s worth of meals in under two hours.

Let that sink in.

It took two hours to purchase a month of meals.

Make sure you have the necessary tools to properly store your freezer meals. Here are some of my favorites:

Pyrex Simply Store 8-Piece Glass Food Storage Set (4 vessels and 4 lids)Pyrex Simply Store 8-Piece Glass Food Storage Set (4 vessels and 4 lids)Jokari Hands-Free Baggy Rack Clip Food Storage Bag Holder, 2-PackJokari Hands-Free Baggy Rack Clip Food Storage Bag Holder, 2-PackZiploc Freezer Bags Gallon, 60.0 CountZiploc Freezer Bags Gallon, 60.0 CountAvery Shipping Labels with TrueBlock Technology for Inkjet Printers 3-1/2Avery Shipping Labels with TrueBlock Technology for Inkjet Printers 3-1/2

 


Freezer Meals Step 3

Take the prep seriously. Do everything on the prep instructions the night before. Then clean your kitchen creating stations for what you will be using. Have your crockpot and/or instant pot ready, a blender station, and a cooling station. Lay out your recipes or tape them to the kitchen cabinets. Have them close at hand for the next day. Print your labels. Now get plenty of rest.

freezer meals oamm

Freezer Meals Step 4

It’s cooking day! If you did the prep and laid out the recipes the night before then you’re ready to jump in. I started by pulling a meal out of the freezer to defrost for the evening meal. While I was busy preparing a month worth of meals Grandma’s Chicken Spaghetti was defrosting in the fridge.

I love how streamlined this process is. The cooking day instructions seamlessly move you from one recipe to the next to minimize your time in the kitchen.

Let your food cool completely before sealing, then seal and fill the freezer.

Freezer Meals & Final Thoughts

Last Saturday I spent the day in the kitchen making these meals. And I am so glad I did. Monday morning a head cold hit that the family has dubbed the zombie mom disease. I was in bed for 3 days straight. My one task every day was to dump one of the meals I had prepped out of the bag and into the instant pot or microwave. My family ate healthy meals all week without being infected by their mom-bie (as my son so lovingly called me).

I highly recommend Once A Month Meals. But don’t take my word for it. Try out the Free Mini Menu and see if you don’t fall in love too.

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