Monday, February 20, 2012

Cooking healthier and on a budget?

This is an age old question that we all ask. How do I cook on a budget? Not to mention it being healthy? Well ladies and gents, i think there are lots of answers to this question. But my favorite answer is that we keep what we do in our home is very simple. Once A Month Mom (OAMM) has a complete website set up for monthly menu's for 6 different diets. Everything from a traditional menu, to whole foods, dairy/gluten free, vegan, and more.

You can use the web site two main ways. The menu they give you is for half the meals of the month you will need. So you can cook monthly that way. Or, like us, you can cook bi-monthly and all of your meals will be covered in the menu's.

When we started using OAMM last year we used the menu's, grocery list, and cooking instructions they gave us. However, over time we have personalized our own menu as we got comfortable with how to use the site. Now we pick our recipes we want for our 2 week period, because we know how many we need after using the site for a while. We change it up for what we want to eat over the next 2 week period. Also, the changes we have made in our diets we substitute in what they call for in the recipe cards. For example; if they call for Canola Oil we substitute it for Olive Oil or if they call for Pork or Hamburger we usually substitute it for Chicken or Turkey. We choose to do this because we have made some other choices that we believe are healthier for us and we want the benefits of both worlds, and it has worked great so far. No problems with any substitution yet. *smile*

 Our freezer after one of our cooking days!

As far as how often we cooked, we chose to cook biweekly instead of monthly so all our meals would be covered and it didn't over pack our apartment size freezer. We also didn't want to eat the same things for one whole month. Every two weeks we change our menu. When we started using OAMM we would wait to put our daughter to bed and then stay up at night and cook into the wee hours of the morning. Then we switched to one of us, mainly my loving husband, cooking on a Saturday while I watched our daughter. Now we separate our recipes by type and ingredients and cook similar ones over a period of two to three days in the evenings so we aren't cooking all day or all night and it has been much better with our schedule this way. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It is whatever works best with you and your family schedule.

 The other part of the freezer after one of our cooking days!

I think the longest we have ever spent cooking is eight hours on a menu. That was at the beginning. Now average is around 6 1/2 hours with both of us cooking and clean up of the kitchen and dishes. It has really saved us time. We invest a small amount of consolidated cooking time twice a month compared to cooking each and every day more than once. We just pull out what we want from the freezer and either microwave, heat in the stove, or crock pot our meal. This was a huge help when I was so nauseous at the beginning of this pregnancy because I couldn't spend anytime in the kitchen without getting sick.

Another awesome and great thing is that we have saved a lot of money on groceries. First off, cooking in bulk saves you money. You spend less by getting more of the same ingredients than you would getting a lot of a few ingredients. Also the more you buy, the cost per unit normally goes down. Another thing, we stopped eating out as much. I found we were eating out more because of the time it took to cook rather than because we really wanted to go out. So the time crunch was taken away because the food was already cooked and just needed heating up. That simple fact saved lots of money too. The first few times we went grocery shopping our grocery budget was about the same because we were getting ingredients that we didn't have and building up our pantry. After those first few times, we saved 25% on our grocery budget. After about another couple grocery shopping cycles our budget went down 40% from our original cost! And that final total was not just our groceries, that was everything we had to buy at the store.

So I would say this site works great for finances, health, and ease! The food is absolutely amazing and yummy! Check it out for yourself:


  1. I freeze a lot of things in bulk also and then make fresh sides. Sounds like a great site! New follower from Circle of Moms, look forward to your future posts! Have a great weekend! You can find me at

  2. I love it too! It really has helped us save on time and money. Also, I know what is in our food. I don't have to guess! *smile* I checked out your blog, I will have to try some of those recipes too. Thanks for following! I hope you enjoy the blogs!

  3. HI Jordan, I love you. I am just making sure you can read my comments and that they publish ok.

    1. I did get your comment! I am sorry about before, I thought I had it set so that everyone could comment, but it wasn't working. I am much more tech-savy with this blog now!


"So speak and so do as being about to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgement will be without mercy to the one not doing mercy, and mercy exalts over judgement." James 2:12-13