I am a huge fan of Once a Month Meals. If you are anything like me, you are extremely busy running kids around or fighting a hectic commute with long hours all while keeping up with a fast-paced lifestyle. Unfortunately, the first thing that is sacrificed is serving good quality meals. It was just too convenient to stop by a fast food restaurant on the way to the next event. Not only was that unhealthy, it started to really impact my budget!
As you know from my other articles, I love meal prepping, and OAMM is the ultimate in helping me prepare meals for the week in advance. The site has over 10,000 recipes that have been selected to help you put good, wholesome food on the table and cook them when YOU have time. Seriously, you can’t beat that!
I am an active subscriber, and I love it so much that I am a referrer as well. If you sign up, I receive a small commission, which allows me to keep this site up and running.
There is no more wondering when you’ll have time to cook dinner! Most of us struggle with balancing a busy schedule while providing healthy meals for our families. So, I love it when websites do the work for me…come one, you kinda feel like that too, right? I love researching and putting it all together, but at the end of the day, I need healthy meals and time savers!
I tend to be a visual person and wanted to give you lots of screenshots of the OAMM website to give you an idea of how it works and what to expect once you sign up.
What is Once a Month Meals?
Once a Month Meals is a website with a HUGE collection of recipes and meal plans that are curated to help you make up to a month’s worth of meals in no time! Before I joined, I ate out more often than I want to admit. It wasn’t because I enjoyed it. No. It was because I was so busy running my son around that I didn’t have time to make dinner. So, I would grab take-out and bring it home. That really made a dent in my budget.
And don’t get me started on how much food I wasted. I grocery shopped on Saturdays with the best intentions to make home cooked meals. As my week got busy, and I didn’t have time to cook, I had to throw out a lot of what I bought. Seriously! It was so depressing to load up my trash can with wasted food. Urgh!
How Does Once a Month Meals Work
Here’s the workflow for OAMM. After you join, make a menu from their fantastic selection of recipes. Make sure to name it something notable for future reference.
Once your menu is created, look for recipes to add to it. I found some Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pork Chops that sounded delicious. Add the recipe to the menu of your choice.
Can I Try it Out First?
You bet! If you want to try out OAMM, but aren’t quite sure if it is a match for you, then sign up for their free mini menu. This mini menu will provide five recipes, the shopping list, prep and cooking day instructions, recipe cards and thaw sheets – all you need to give it a try!
On the recipe page, you will see the number of servings, the number of ingredients and a quick description. I appreciate seeing the number of ingredients easily – I have always found the simplest recipes are the ones that taste the best!
The recipe page provides the ingredients, as well as the necessary containers and supplies.
It also explains how to make the recipe for immediate serving and the instructions for making this a make-ahead meal. In this case, it shows the process for reheating the meal. That was perfect for me for those busy school nights!
I also clicked on the heart to “favorite” the recipe. This allows for a quick reference so I don’t lose it.
Clicking on “My Menus” brings you to a page of your custom menus. Here, you can add or delete recipes from a menu, as well as add custom notes. One of the recipes I added was so good, that I added a note to double the amount of veggies since my family inhaled them!
From your menu, you may select a dropdown box to print the dynamic shopping list. Hands down, this is my favorite feature of the site. Check out the grocery list for my Fall menu. The check boxes help you during the trip to the grocery store.
It really helps that it lists out the quantity of the ingredients you need. I always take an initial run through my pantry to see if I have anything already. Then, I cross it out on the grocery list so I don’t accidentally buy it.
I can’t tell you how much this single option has impacted my planning (and cost savings!) I always print them and line out what I found in my pantry.
Choose the option to shop online. OAMM partners with delivery services for grocery stores in your local area to deliver the groceries to your house. I haven’t used this yet, but it would be a big help.
If you have used it, please let me know your experience in the comments below.
Selecting this option in the drop down on the Menu Page brings up a list of instructions for all the parts of the recipe that can be completed ahead of time. This is a Meal Prepper’s dream! Seriously! I chopped all the ingredients for the meals in the evening while I listened to my audible book.
Cooking Day Instructions
There was some strategy in choosing meals for this menu. I chose recipes that could be made at the same time to minimize the amount of time spent in the kitchen. From the dropdown, I chose the Cooking Day Instructions, and have a play-by-play of what I need to do to make these recipes. I chose some recipes for the slow cooker, some for the stovetop and some that just require combining. It allows me to make multiple meals at the same time. Woohoo!
I don’t use this function too much, but you can print the recipe card and put it in your recipe organizer. I don’t use the recipe cards like I used to. It is so much easier to keep them saved in your custom menu.
How many times have you frozen a meal only to quickly forget what you put in the container. I always joked with my husband that I was serving mystery meat for dinner because I didn’t label the packaging when I stuck it in the freezer. Ha!
After you cook all of these meals and freeze them, print the Thaw Sheet to prepare the meals for the days you want to serve them. This is surprisingly helpful as some recipes will reheat much better following these instructions. OAMM already tested it out.
Searching for Recipes
Ok. While the site has over 10,000 recipes, it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t find what you are looking for.
There is a snazzy filter that allows you to search by category, meal type, cooking day type, or serving day type. Of course, you can enter a term in the search bar to identify particular ingredients that you wish to use.
The first set of filters is the Category. While most of the categories are self explanatory, OAMM has a more descriptive definition of each. Here is the Category Filter FAQ.
While you can filter by Paleo, Weight Watchers Freestyle points, or Kid Friendly, I find that I use the season filters the most.
Using the seasons as a filter helps me find the fresh fruits and vegetables available at the grocery store. Such common sense, right?
Meal Type is easy. It is a filter for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.
Cooking Day Type
This is a filter that you can use to address what type of cooking you want to do. You can select bake, slow cooker, grill, progressive pressure cooker, etc.
This is where your strategy for meal prepping really kicks in. I try to multitask, and select several different cooking styles so I can work them simultaneously. As an example, I chose a slow cooker main course, a baked breakfast, and sent my husband to the grill. All of these will cook at the same time, minimizing my time in the kitchen while preparing the week’s meals.
What strategies have you implemented?
Serving Day Type
This is similar to the Cooking Day Type, but is meant (you guessed it) for the Serving Day. I don’t use this filter as much, as I freeze most of my meals, but you can use it similarly to the other filter to plan out your week’s servings.
Is There a Fee?
There is a small subscription fee, but it is well worth it when you consider how much time and stress it saves you. If you sign up through my link, I do receive a small commission which I use to keep this site running. I am a big fan of OAMM and use it to save money and provide healthy meals for my family.
Conclusion and Next Steps
Once a Month Meals is my favorite tool to help me with meal prep. It has saved me a lot of money from eating out, and allowed me to prepare healthier food for my family.
We send out newsletters about them when they open for enrollment all the time but wanted to pull all the information for our readers into one MEGA post to explain everything to you in one spot! Think of it as one stop shopping!
If you are anything like me, you’ll discover some awesome meal prep hacks using their site. I spend a couple of hours in the kitchen on Sunday to prepare for the week’s meals, and feel so accomplished!
If you are interested, please sign up on their mailing list. You will get great information and be notified when their site opens for enrollment.