I am excited to welcome KOAB reader and organizing junkie Shaindy Gerstein for this two-part series about Kosher Once a Month Cooking (OAMC). As the name implies, OAMC means that you cook once and eat for a month, thanks to cook-ahead food that freezes well.
As a full time working mom with two small kids, I barely have time to eat, let alone cook!
After a long, hectic week, I want to come home to Shabbos, with a traditional homemade meal. If only I had more time to prepare one!
That’s when my internet research on work-life balance for the busy homemaker led me to once a month cooking. I fell in love with the idea. I could totally do it! Problem was that none of the menu plans were kosher.
Luckily, in my research I came across Once a Month Mom. Awesome site! They have tons of kosher adaptable recipes and a detailed tutorial on how to prepare your own menu plans. So I got to work. I read through all the posts and followed them to the T.
Now, after all the hard work, I’m so glad to be able to share my plan with you.
As Jews, we eat A LOT! It was almost impossible to include an entire month of meals into one day of cooking, so I mostly concentrated on Shabbos meals (of course, you can eat them during the week too!). Here are a few other insights into the way I planned the meal plan:
- Each dish makes enough for at least 4 people
- My menu includes:
- 2 x 4 main dishes
- 2 x 4 side dishes
- 2 x 2 desserts
- I tried to steer clear of crock-pots, so they can be reserved for cholent, if Friday is your cooking day. If a recipe calls for a crock-pot, the cooking time can be adjusted to cook in the oven.
- My menu only includes chicken dishes in order to make it more “budget friendly.”
Kosher Once a Month Menu ~ Poultry
Honey Chicken Kabobs**
2 x 4 pieces Turkey with Sweet Potatoes**
2 x 4 pieces cubed chicken breast halves**
Fajita spice mix**
2 x 4 pieces Shake ‘N Bake Chicken**
(I used store-bought Shake ‘N Bake, but you could easily make your own)
** This is a “dump” recipe and does not need to be cooked until the day it is served
2 8×8 Broccoli Kugels
2 8×8 Butternut Squash Kugels
2 8×8 Spinach Kugels
1 9×13 Sweet Noodle Kugel (I divide into 2)
1 9×13 Brownies (I divide into 2)
2 loaves Mandelbrot
Tips to Make the Most of Your Cooking Day
- You MUST read through the ENTIRE plan before beginning. You don’t want any surprises on your cooking day.
- Buy extra chicken. Once you are cleaning chicken, you might as well clean/cut as much as you need. You can also store chicken in storage bags with desired marinades and vegetables.
- If you have a large family or just want to have more in your freezer, then double this menu plan.
- If you like the idea of KosherOAMC, but don’t have an entire day to dedicate, you can divide the menu plan into 2 or even 3 days.
- If you like larger kugels, make 1 9×13 pan instead of 2 8×8 pans.
Label Your Food
- It can be hard to tell what each item is after it’s frozen, so make sure to label everything you freeze!
- You can use a plain old sharpie (I got 2 free ones from Target- thanks Mara!).
- Or you can print out these labels I made up, which are compatible with Avery template # 5163. If you do not want to use actual labels, you can print them out on regular paper, cut them, and tape them onto each item.
Tips for Storage and Freezing
- Make sure each item is well wrapped and air is squeezed out. Food can be stored directly in freezer bags.
- Do not use cheap freezer bags. From my research, people have NOT had success when using cheap quality
- Before you go shopping make sure you have enough of the items below. If not, add it to your shopping list:
- Disposable tins (8×8, 9×13)
- Freezer bags (quart, gallon, 2-gallon)
- When thawing items stored in freezer bags, place them in a tin or bowl. In case there is a small hole in the bag, you won’t have a huge leak in your fridge!
Stay tuned tomorrow for recipes and the step-by-step cooking plan to turn this menu into a month’s worth of Shabbat meals!