I came across this book 3 years ago and after several months of "talking" myself into it, began to cook using this method. The concept is to cook all dinner entrees for one month and freeze them. The night before you pull out the entree and let it thaw in the refrigerator. When making dinner you heat the entree, fix your vegetables, fruit, bread or whatever you will be having with the entree (suggestions are with the individual recipes). Voila...dinner is ready.
The book has a 2 week sample menu complete with grocery list, step by step instructions and a wide variety of entrees. I suggest you try this sample menu first to see if it works for your family. Even if you think your family won't like certain ingredients in the recipe, try it without any changes (unless someone is allergic to an ingredient) because they may surprise you and really like it. My husband is a picky eater and I didn't think he would like half of the recipes in the book - but after trying them without any changes, we found there were only 4 that he really didn't like. He does have some food allergies so I have made modifications, but they have been minor.
The sound of cooking that many meals in one day may sound overwhelming, and I will admit that the first 2-3 times of trying it I wasn't too sure but I have been doing it for 2 1/2 years now and the money savings have been tremendous. We spent $32.81 per person each week for groceries in 1995; $26.79 per person per week in 1996; and to date 1997 we have spent $24.50; These amounts include all groceries with the average for the evening entree being $.86 per person per day. The money savings have been great, but we have found that the time has been even better ... we cook together, if I'm not home my husband can pull out the entree, follow the directions and cook dinner. Our eating out has all but disappeared other than for special occasions and it is more of a treat then.
When we have company, we don't spend a fortune on entertaining, we just add a few complimentary dishes and a dessert and they feel like you've fussed over them.
I could go on and on with tips on how to shop, prepare the day before, seasonal items to look for, planning ahead, how to integrate your own recipes into this format, must have equipment to make the job easier, ways to save additional time and money by canning the items you use most such as tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, etc. But, this article would be way too long! If you are interested in saving $$$ on meals, time in the kitchen and introducing new foods to your family, I encourage you to check to see if your library has the book - try the sample menu and see how it works for your family.
The copyright date is 1986, 1992. Second edition 1992 published by Focus on The Family Publishing; Originally published in 1982 under the title "Freeze and Save" and in 1984 as "Dinner's Ready". 160 pages - most are actual recipes with a menu calendar, grocery shopping list, staples list, freezer containers and cooking day instructions before each section. The last chapter has equivalent measures, freezer storage tips, and an offer for a video on the process. ISBN # 1-56179-041-9
My husband, Steve, and I (Teri) both worked until 1995 at which time I quit my job to start our family ... we now have a 7 month old daughter and I am staying home with her. We have found with the Once A Month Cooking, the tips I have picked up from The Dollar Stretcher and other tightwad steps we have taken, that we are able to live on one income. We are still trying to get out from under some credit card debt that we had racked up before I quit work, but with all of that we are still able to afford for me to stay home and actually feel that our standard of living is better than it was with both of us working.
I would be happy to answer questions and give suggestions to people who are interested in cooking this way. They can direct questions to Teri Fladstol at email@example.com.
Sign up for our free eNewsletter Dollar Stretcher for Parents.
Looking for an answer to a frugal living question? Click here to ask a
Dollar Stretcher Stretchpert!
Copyright 1996 - 2013 "The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." All rights reserved unless specifically noted.
Contact the Dollar Stretcher at:
PO Box 14160
Bradenton FL 34280
"The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." does not assume responsibility for advice given. All advice should be weighed against your own abilities and circumstances and applied accordingly. It is up to the reader to determine if advice is safe and suitable for their own situation.