Summer went by soooo quickly this year! It’s so crazy that it’s September already!
I know a lot of kids are back to school already, I’m avoiding it a little bit longer over here. 😉 But, the schedules are already filling up for fall time!
Most of us are looking for help with dinner time for these back to school days.
And these are the crazy days I’m so thankful to have dinner packed away in the freezer. I mean seriously, with piano lessons and Lego class (my guy is super excited about that one), homeschooling, and chasing around our 1-year-old. Rushing us all off to Awana classes and MomStrong Bible Study… The last thing I can do is spend loads of time prepping and cooking dinner every single night!!!
So, in case dinner time is crazy for you too, I thought I’d share how we use our membership with Once A Month Meals to help!
I love love love using my Instant Pot with my freezer meals.. guys, you don’t even have to remember to thaw your dinner!!!!! If you use your crock pot as much as I use to, you know that it’s a super bummer when you forget to get out your meat or whatever for your crock pot to be able to cook it all day long for you…. so in comes the joy of the Instant pot! Seriously, from the freezer.. some of my meals are as quick as 20 minutes from freezer to table! I’m not even kidding! This has been a game. changer. over. here. 🙂
So, Here’s what I do.
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I usually pick two days to be able to do my shopping, prepping and cooking. And I’m not about to pretend that it isn’t work.. because you are making a month of meals, but especially after you’ve done it a couple of times and you kind of find your groove.. it’s really pretty smooth! And all of the resources available to you with a membership with Once A Month Meals makes it so streamlined and simple!
I try to pick days that Ryan is home so I can have his help with the boys. and of course I take advantage of Sam’s Club order and pick up as well as Walmart Grocery pick up services! ahhhhmazing!
With Once A Month Meals you can choose to use one of their pre-selected menus like these:
- Gluten Free Dairy Free
- Real Food
- Instant Pot
- Slow Cooker
A lot of their menus are divided by season too. so as the weather gets cooler you can find fall/winter menus packed with comforting, warm stews, soups, etc.
Or you can build your own custom menu! (at time of posting there are over 8,000 recipes available)
I can build complete menus now with just my “favorite” list of the recipes our family has already tried and loved! But, I always throw in a couple of new ones to try, sure to be added to the favorites list! 🙂
These recipes can be for the oven, stove-top, Pressure Cooker, slow-cooker, Grill, easy assembly, etc. All of the recipes can be customized to your family size!
Oh, and these aren’t just for dinner!! You can select recipes for snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, add-ons, or side dishes.
After selecting my menu I put all the ingredients (listed in an awesome organized shopping list) in either my pick up order for Sam’s Club ( I get bulk things like the meat) or my pick up order for Walmart Grocery Pickup (Can you tell I don’t like going inside of stores?)
Next Once A Month Meals makes downloadable (and Printable if you wish) resources for your customized menu.
Besides the Shopping list you’ll get:
Prep Instructions ( it will tell you exactly what to do with those ingredients you purchased (like chop 9 onions or dice 6 carrots etc) * Hint here is to get the already chopped garlic as well as the freezer section chopped onions, bell peppers and such. It saves soooo much time and tears! This will also include how to prep the meat on your menu. Lots of times it’s just cutting up the big roasts and things.
Cooking List: What to do with all those things you prepped. Some menus will have some pre-cooking before freezer. others are little as “easy Assembly” and the instructions are literally.. “toss all ingredients into freezer bag/containers” *My favorite kind!!
Recipe Cards: Give everything about each recipe in one little printable card.
Freezer Labels: These are awesome! They tell you what is each recipe, and how to prepare it the day you want to eat it. And you can even print them right on to printer labels or just use tape to secure them to the bags or containers in the freezer. *instant pot ones do not need to be thawed. But if you make other kinds like crock pot ones that need to. it will tell you to thaw ahead of time and then how long you need to cook it.
Thaw List: The Thaw list will contain all of your recipes for the month and will tell you a summary of what will need to be done (thaw or not) and how long it will take from freezer to done. that way if you only have 30 minutes for dinner you can select one of your quicker recipes.
So, the first day I pick up all the ingredients and I like to do the Prep list right away. Usually, I store all of these prepped ingredients in baggies, bowls or Tupperware for the night.
Next morning I have everything ready to go and this is when I use the “cooking List” and get labels and get everything into my freezers! And then I don’t have to think about cooking for a whole month! (during the summer we stretched a month of meals out to nearly 2 because of all the nights I either just didn’t cook or we were away from home!)
And that’s it! This really has changed how we do dinner time around here and I love it. I know it can sound intimidating but Once A Month Meals really has taken so much of the unknown out of it, and makes it so simple. You just follow their instructions and you are good to go!
Have you done any freezer cooking before? If you have any questions about it, I would love to help answer them! Also, it’s been my experience that the staff and OnceAMonthMeals.com are all very helpful!
~Happy Cooking and Happy Back to School to you all,
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Want more info about our experience with Once A Month Meals? here’s the very first blog post I wrote about it: