Well, I did it! I successfully prepared and planned for a month of cooking even in the midst of waiting for this little angel to enter the breathing world =0) It is such a relief to know that we have a plan for food for the month, and a freezer of mostly prepped ingredients ready to go so I don’t have to do that part of the thinking too after giving birth. Honestly, I just adore Once a Month Cooking.
If you have not yet checked out or looked into Once a Month Cooking, you are missing out. Not only have I lowered our monthly food bill by about $200 (or more, depending on what I decide to make), I have drastically reduced my daily meal stress. Planning definitely pays! Here’s a previous series I did for Once a Month Cooking.
**I have found that I really like the chicken dishes for OAMC because they are so super easy to prep. It literally takes me minutes to put together 12+ chicken meals on prep day so they are a great addition to the rotation to help speed things along!**
Day 12 Family Life: OAMC Menu For October
You may be wondering how I figure out a menu for the month, so I figured I would try to show you a glimpse of the system that I have figured out and works well for our family. Here’s a snapshot:
As you can see, it is not anything fancy, but I have four sheets of paper altogether on the refrigerator, and I have each marked for weeks 1-4. This is just the top page. Here’s a picture of week 2:
These should be large enough to easily read the print, so if you compare the two pictures you will see that I have rotated several meals, especially breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to be the same each week, but the dinners change. I have kept weeks 1 and 3 the same for dinners, and weeks 2 and 4 the same. This makes things much easier for me with meal prep, plus helps keep costs down if I don’t want to get 46 chicken breasts, for example.
So, here are the meals that I have planned for dinners, as well as the number of times I have them rotated into the plan:
Crockpot Lasagna (2 meals) – In order to keep this THM approved, I will be using lean ground turkey and gluten-free brown rice noodles with low fat cheeses. YUMMY!!!! I planned this as our Sunday meal so I can get everything together easily in the morning and know we have a delicious meal waiting for us at night, vice going out to eat, which tends to be easiest usually. I will prepare the meat and vegetables in advance to make the morning go smoothly.
Slow Cooker Marinara Chicken & Vegetables (2 meals) – This was such a delicious meal (we ate one already). I kept it simple with some gluten free spiral pasta, and we all enjoyed it! YUM! Bonus, my 8 year old daughter took lead on getting it all together. She loved helping and it was easy enough to make for that to be allowed.
Balsamic Grilled Chicken (2) – I have come to enjoy this meal quite a bit and it is a regular in our OAMC rotations. It is simple, quick, and delicious on all accounts. I reduce the oil content of the dish to help keep it more in E territory for THM. The balsamic vinegar and spices are definitely what make the meal anyway!
Crockpot Lentil Soup (4) – I chose this recipe for its simplicity and ingredients that I always have on hand. It is a frugal addition to our rotation to help keep costs down, which is why it is a weekly meal. Plus, I love lentil soup, and nothing says fall like a warm soup at the end of the day!
Crockpot Chicken Fajitas (2) – These looked like a nice and easy meal addition, so we will be giving them a go this time. Plus, it is easy to bulk up this kind of meal with black beans and brown rice to help stretch it even further.
Crockpot White Chicken Chili (2) – A simple addition to our frugal rotation.
Garlic Ranch Chicken (2) – I just cook this in the oven at 350F for 30-40 minutes, or on 275F for an hour plus. I also do not drain the marinade…yummmm!!!!!
Hearty (Cheapo) Chili (2) – SUPER frugal meal rotation, in addition to being super yummy. I just love chili, and for fall, it’s even better!
Spaghetti Pie (2) – Does this not just sound heavenly?!?! Again, I am keeping this THM-friendly with brown rice noodles, low fat cheeses, and lean ground turkey.
Dijon Chicken (OAMC) (2) – Another regular rotation for our family. Very yummy meal.
Easy Meatloaf (2) – To keep this THM-friendly, I am substituting the breadcrumbs with 1/4 cup coconut flour. This is such a delicious meal to pare with mashed cauliflower. Another yum…I know it’s repetitive, but I just can’t help myself!
No Dough Pizza (2) – This recipe came from a THM member, so I am currently trying to get a link for it officially. The link provided is just my Evernote copy. Looks delicious!
Crockpot Spaghetti (2) – I have a few extras of this sauce in the freezer, so I wanted to make sure it goes into the rotation. I will use both Gluten-free and Dreamfield’s pasta so that everyone enjoys the meal as best. Dreamfield’s, though not IDEAL, is a great occasional treat for the THM mama =0)
Other recipes that I am making throughout the month for other meals include:
Overnight Baked Oatmeal – Use the THM version for the most health-friendly version, in my opinion. =0)
Italian Chicken Casserole – To make this work for our entire family I am going to use spaghetti squash in place of the noodles. If we did not have gluten free kids, I would definitely use Dreamfield’s pasta and be in heaven!
There you have it!
And, that’s the month’s plan for our OAMC agenda! I hope it helps to inspire you, too.
What About You?
Feel inspired yet? I find that OAMC is the best way to regulate and ensure the best use of all the food we have in the house, so instead of people just randomly foraging, a plan provides structure for everyone and keeps the food well stocked and rotated. Even if you work in only a few pre-planned meals, I think you will really enjoy the blessings that come along with it! Willing to give it a try yet?