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7 Simple Tips for Once a Month Cooking Success

on June 3, 2015 by Shannon Brown 12 comments

By Shannon Brown, Contributing Writer

A couple of months ago my sister and I got the bright idea to do a once a month cooking day together. We planned to have the kids hang out with the daddies while we whipped up dozens healthy, homemade meals for the freezer.

To be sure, we had Pinterest-y visions of making a month’s worth of meals in just a couple of hours.

7 Simple Tips for Once a Month Cooking Success

We dreamed of the time we’d spend playing with our kids each afternoon instead of cooking, how much more cheerfully we’d greet our husbands after work, and of course how much money it would save on groceries!

About 7 hours later, the cooking still not done, my sis had collapsed on the couch, and I was slumped over the kitchen counter exhausted. In that moment, we both agreed that we’d prefer to cook dinner every night to the marathon of once a month cooking!

7 Simple Tips for Once a Month Cooking Success

Luckily, I’ve learned a few simple tips for once a month cooking since then to help make the process much simpler, faster, and less exhausting!

1. Pick a Freezer Cooking Plan with Recipes that Your Family Usually Eats

Mistake number one on that fateful freezer cooking day was that we chose a Paleo meal plan. The problem: Neither of our families eats Paleo and we were not used to cooking that type of recipes.

Instead, choose recipes that you know your family will love, so the food doesn’t go to waste. It will also be much faster for you to cook recipes that are at least somewhat familiar.

2. Choose a Freezer Meal Plan with No-Cook Recipes

This tip will make your freezer cooking day go light-years faster, without adding any extra time on the day you actually serve the meal.

Look for something where the most you have to do is brown some ground beef. It will be much faster than than forming meatballs, browning them in the oven, letting them partially cook in the crockpot, then allowing them to cool before freezing like we tried to do!

Here are a couple of my favorite freezer cooking plans:

3. Get ready for Garbage

While freezer cooking you’ll need to be ready to deal with all the packaging and food scraps that will need to head to the garbage.

Make sure you have receptacles conveniently available for trash, recycling, and compost. This could be simply a grocery sack or your regular cans. Either way it’s much easier to have these right where you’re working.

4. Take a Break

I know it can seem counter-intuitive to take a break when all you want to do is get your cooking day over with as soon as possible. However, just sitting down to rest for a few minutes will let you come back rejuvenated and will help you get done faster in the long run.

5. Have a Snack

While surrounded by a month’s worth of groceries, it can be strangely easy to forget to eat. Everyone’s a bit different, but I always need to eat frequently, especially when I’m on my feet for hours in the kitchen.

If you start to feel sluggish, make sure to grab a quick bite to eat to get energized again.

6. Ask for Help

Freezer cooking is much easier when you have a helper on your team. Whether they simply wipe the counters, load the dishwasher, or read the recipes to you, having a helper on freezer cooking day is a huge asset.

Consider asking your mom, a friend, or even your husband to help out to make your freezer cooking day a success.

7. Do it kid-Free

Don’t get me wrong, I love to include my kids in the kitchen. However, for freezer cooking day, I find it is much easier to focus and get it all done quickly if the kids are otherwise occupied.

Luckily, with the tips above, you’ll be able to get it all done within naptime plus maybe a little screen time, or a little quality time with Daddy or Grandma. You’ll know what works best for your family, but I highly recommend planning ahead for this.

7 Simple Tips for Once a Month Cooking Success

Freezer Cooking Success at last!

This past weekend my husband and I did the unimaginable. We put away 20 freezer meals in just 3 hours. I never would have thought it possible after my initial freezer cooking disaster.

What a blessing it is to have these meals already prepared, so my family can have a much calmer wife and mommy in the evenings. Plus, I love that once a month cooking is a great way to save money on groceries.

If you’ve been afraid to give once a month freezer cooking a try, be sure to apply the tips above to keep it simple, and you’ll be sure to have success!

Have you tried once a month freezer cooking? What are you best tips for success?

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

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  1. Love this! I did some freezer cooking for the first time when I was pregnant with my daughter and we ate many of the meals in the weeks following her arrival. I haven’t done any since then (my daughter is now 2 months old!), but this post makes me excited to try it again. Pinning this! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • I did freezer cooking for the first time before my daughter was born and I was hooked. But it really can be tough to do it again in those early months. 🙂 Congrats on your new little one.

  2. My issue that I seem to have with doing the whole freezer meal thing is I don’t know what is a good container to freeze everything in. What do you freeze the food in ziploc bags, disposable aluminum pans, glass casserole dishes??? This is what has prevented me doing this thus far, I don’t know how to freeze the meals once they are made or prepared. :/

    • Great question Brittany! I would love to be able to freeze everything in a glass dish with bpa free lid, but I just don’t have enough of them at this point. Instead, I use gallon or quart sized freezer bags. Just make sure to lay them flat in your freezer. They’re much easier to thaw that way, and it helps save on freezer space. 🙂

  3. I have never tried freezer cooking.. so I will start first with a once-a-week cooking… because I don’t know yet how it’s going to improve my life and my routines… but Thank you for your tips, I will surely try this!

  4. I’ve always loved the idea of freeer cooking BUT with a family of 9 big eaters cookingbone meal is already A LOT of food. I can never freeze more than 2 meals at a go. Imagine the meat I’d have to have in the house to do 2 weeks’ worth of freezer cooking! I don’t know how the other big families do it.

    • The first time you do a freezer cooking day, it costs a TON! It’s hard to pull that much money up front for the meals. But then you don’t spend money on those meals for the next two weeks! So yes, when I do a full freezer cooking meal plan for a month, or even two weeks, I want to cry with how much money it takes!!

      But I think it actually helps my meal budget in the long run because I can better plan out things that are on sale, it definitely helps us from eating out, I can buy in bigger bulk, etc.