Kosher Once a Month Cooking II: The Budget Breakdown (Part 1)

I am very excited to be hosting Shaindy Gerstein from for her second installation of Kosher Once a Month Cooking (OAMC). I know we all learned so much – and got so much inspiration – the last time she guest posted! Since December is Menu Planning Month, I love the idea of working OAMC (AKA freezer cooking) into that plan as well!  In today’s post, Shaindy is sharing what’s on her monthly menu – and how much it will cost to prepare it. 

For me, this time of year always brings feelings of renewal. We made it through the Yom Tov season and now have to start getting back on track – eating healthier, saving money and spending more time with our family. Once a month cooking (OAMC) is how I’m doing it.

Planned the right way, you won’t need to buy pricey, unhealthy convenience items, won’t need to spend hours in the kitchen, and you and your family can enjoy yummy home-cooked meals all month long.

When I saw Mara’s post about December being Menu Planning month, I knew this would be a great time to tell you about my most recent Kosher Once a Month cooking day.

I began doing OAMC to save time and was shocked at how many people said they did it to save money. Does my OAMC really save money? Let’s see…

On my most recent OAMC day, I made:

  • 3 quarts Lentil Soup
  • 2.5 quarts Vegetable Soup
  • 2×4 pieces of BBQ Chicken
  • 2×4 pieces of Cranberry Chicken
  • 2×4 pieces of Maple Glazed Chicken
  • 6 pieces Mushroom Scallion Stuffed Chicken
  • 1 9×13 Apple Kugel
  • 2 8×8 Broccoli Kugel
  • 1 9×13 Carrot kugel
  • 1.5 quarts Quinoa, Black Bean, & Corn Salad
  • 2 8×8 Zucchini Kugel
  • 24 Cinnamon Swirls
  • 1 Orange Walnut Cake

This amount of food will probably last my family of 4 for at least a 4 Shabbosim. I figured that we would eat 1 quart of soup, 2 chicken dishes, 2 side dishes and 1 dessert each Shabbos. (I divided each 9×13 dish in half). I would still need to add in some “fillers” (salads, fish, additional sides, etc…), but the main dishes for each meal have already been taken care of.

So, how much did this all cost?

The chicken cost $59. Before I set out on my shopping trip, I crossed off all the ingredients that I already had in my pantry, so the rest of the grocery shopping cost $53.40 ($58.40 minus $5 for apple juice that was on sale and not needed for my cooking day). So for, $112.40, I have (almost) enough food for 4 weeks. That’s $28.10/week or $14.05/meal.

I was also curious to see how much this would have cost if I would have needed EVERYTHING on the shopping list. I went to my local supermarket’s website and priced out all the items, using store-brand items where I could.

Every single ingredient (except the chicken) would have cost $119.60. Not bad considering that I would’ve had a lot of basic pantry ingredients leftover for future cooking!

Stay tuned tomorrow and Friday, when Shaindy shares her plan and recipes for this budget-friendly OAMC menu!


  1. Shaindy has great ideas here but it just wouldn’t work in my house. We are a family of 6 ka”h and we also have a lot of guests every Shabbos. I enjoy cooking and like to make different foods every week. Definitely, her plan works for a small family that doesn’t host much. I will be interested to see her next post.

    • Brina, keep in mind that the principles can work for any family, even if the specifics should be tweaked. During the fall chagim, there were many times when I intended to make one kugel and doubled the recipe to have more for a later meal. I know that our freezer space is at a premium, so if I try the KOAMC plan, I would probably just make 3-4 recipes at a time — and you could bet that we would eat a portion of those recipes for dinner that night!

      • I’m thinking of doing this for meals during the week more so than for shabbos. We are still a small family and the kids really don’t eat what we like yet. But I find the afternoons hectic and hubby likes to eat @ 6pm so having meals in the fridge could help quite a bit. Also, adjust the # pieces up/down depending on hm ppl you’re feeding.
        In terms of Shabbos, if its just us then I do really simple but if having company then I go all out so this method wouldn’t work for me for shabbos either.

        • I would love to work on a dairy menu plan with kid friendly, freezable meals for either lunch or dinner. I already have some recipes saved, but unfortunately don’t have time for a dairy cooking day. Please email me if you’d be interested in testing it out!

          • AILUY REDEF says


            I know I am replying to a post that is a ‘few’ months old, but I have just stumbled upon it.
            The post is from December 29, 2011 at 7:47 pm and it reads:
            I would love to work on a dairy menu plan with kid friendly, freezable meals for either lunch or dinner. I already have some recipes saved, but unfortunately don’t have time for a dairy cooking day. Please email me if you’d be interested in testing it out!

            I LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!! testing recipes out. So if you can bear parting with the recipes pleas email them to me, AILUY_REDEF@HOTMAIL.COM, and will try them out for you, following any and all instruction as to cooking, storing, freezing, defrosting, etc.
            Thanks in advance for the opportunity.

  2. I think it’s a great idea but how much time did all his cooking take you?

  3. I don’t cook our food once a month but typically at least once a week, I make up large batches of desserts (cookies or bars) so that I always have dessert for Shabbos for us or to take as a hostess gift available. I also almost always make my challah in advance (usually on a Monday or Tuesday) and I make 5 pounds of flour at a time which gives enough for 2 Shabboses. Whenever I make a kugel (not very frequently though due to one kid having an egg allergy) I always make at least 2 or 3 pans and I try to do the same with chicken as well.

  4. I love it when you do posts like this. So fun and inspiring to see your frugal planning! Thanks.

  5. What do you save the soup in? I have a split pea soup that we are getting tired of quickly and would love to freeze it for a rainy day.

    • I freeze soup in old plastic soup containers that I have, but if you don’t have any you can freeze soup in plastic freezer bags. Just lay them flat when you put them in the freezer, so you can stack them once the bags are frozen. Make sure to defrost them in a container or tin, so that they don’t leak in case there is a small hole in the bag.

  6. Awesome! Thank you for this AWESOME post!


  1. […] Part 1:  How much did this all cost?? Part 2:  Menu, cooking plan, labels Part 3:  Recipes […]

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