Once-a-Month Cooking {30 Meals in One Day}

For me the hardest thing about extreme couponing is figuring out what to cook with all that food.  In fact, I started posting stockpile meal recipes each week for that very reason.  Because, really, what good is getting everything at rock-bottom prices if you have no idea what to make?

I first heard about once-a-month (OAM) cooking here, on one of my favorite blogs, Under the Sycamore.  The concept intrigued me, but I found it far too overwhelming to even seriously consider.

I mean, really, how do you know what recipes are going to taste good after being in the freezer?  How do you know how to best prepare them for storage?  How do you remember how to cook them once you’re ready to eat them?  How do you figure out how much of each item to get? And so on and so on.

I pretty much put it out of my mind until a couple of months ago, when I was contacted by a company called 30 Meals in One Day, wondering if I would be willing to review their cookbooks and software.

To be honest, I get a lot of requests for reviews.  I almost always say no because a.) reviews are a lot of work and b.) I want to write about things that are of interest to me and (hopefully) you without feeling like I’m trying to sell something.  The whole point of this blog is to spend less, not more!

But I took a look at the company website and I realized that this might be my opportunity to finally try my hand at OAM cooking.  I was curious to see how much time it would take, whether the meals would actually taste good, whether the end result was worth the effort, whether it would actually save time on a daily basis, and, most importantly, whether it would work with coupons.

As soon as I read the intro to the main book, Dinner is Ready, I started to get excited.  It sounded so easy and straightforward and the recipes looked tasty. As a vegetarian, there honestly wasn’t a lot for me to choose from, but since I wanted to make a variety of meat dishes for my family, I wasn’t too concerned about that.  I did choose several ground beef recipes that I knew I would be able to easily substitute in vegetarian protein crumbles.

But while the book was very easy to read and did a great job of explaining the whole process, I was especially thrilled about the 30 Meals in One Day software.  Once I picked my recipes in the book, (I was planning to do 10 but ended up choosing 13, for 26 meals), I installed the program, checked my recipes & created a meal plan, then printed a custom shopping list, meal plan, recipe cards (for ease on cooking day), and labels for each meal.  It was super fast and very easy.  In fact, the only problem I had was that my main computer is a Mac and the software is only for PCs, which meant I had to use my very old (and slow) laptop for the program.

Once I had my shopping list in hand, I could then “shop” from my stockpile.  I purposely chose recipes with ingredients I knew I had on hand but I was still amazed how little I would need to buy from the store.  I bought the rest of the items at Walmart for about $60.

The author recommends shopping one day then cooking the next, so I took her advice.  I went shopping on Friday and then woke up bright and early Saturday morning, ready to cook like a mad woman.

And cook I did!

The whole day went surprisingly smooth, and though I was definitely beat by the end of the afternoon, I was also very happy to see my freezer full of food.  I really got into a groove and it was actually a very fun and relaxing day.

And the food is really good!

Husband sampled a few of the meaty items while I was cooking & gave them all high marks.

We have since eaten 2 of the frozen meals–Scalloped Pork Chops and Ground Beef Stroganoff–both of which were a big hit with the whole family, which is quite an accomplishment.  They were a snap to prepare and there was virtually no mess.

After all is said and done, I pretty much think I’m hooked.

I can’t wait to try it again.  Next time I will probably plan my meals at least a month in advance so that I can print my shopping list ahead of time and work harder on matching up the store sales to my needed items.  I am also trying to convince a couple girlfriends to join me next time & make a girls day out of it–we’ll just triple the recipes and divide them into 6 portions instead of 2.

And now that you’re all dying to try this OAM thing for yourselves, I have some really good news!  One lucky reader will win their own copy of the Dinner is Ready book and software from 30 Meals in One Day. (And for those of you who can’t wait to see if you’ve won, here is some more good news:  Get free shipping with promo code CAROUSEL.  If you make a purchase from 30 Meals in One Day and then win the giveaway, they will issue a full refund of your purchase price!)

This Giveaway is Now Closed

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Printing a coupon or ordering a product through this link may result in a commission, which helps pay for the cost of running this site and keeps the content free. Read my full disclosure policy here.

{ 82 comments… add one }

  • Denise April 13,

    I would love to try the 30 Meals in One Day with the software. Every night is so grueling once we get home from work…no one wants to cook but everyone wants dinner! If I could knock out a month’s worth of cooking in one day, that would be awesome! I hope I win! Really need this!

    Reply
  • Brittany April 13,

    I think their labels would come in handy for me, plus their recipe books. I also have an old laptop that is probably too slow to handle new software, otherwise that sounds awesome.

    Also, I’d love to know which other recipes you tried. The pictures of your food look delicious!

    Reply
  • Brittany April 13,

    Also got them on my google reader! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Karen April 13,

    The software sounds really helpful. And I think I’m going to try one of their recipes – Cheesy Ham and Potatoes – tonight. :)

    Reply
  • Deirdre April 13,

    The recipe book with software looks good. I think I would like to try that. :)

    Reply
  • Chelsey April 13,

    The recipe book looks great! Plus those labels would sure be handy once everything has been cooked and ready to be put into the freezer!

    Reply
  • Katie April 13,

    First of all, I love your site. I started reading it while nursing my baby each night. I think I’ve read every post you’ve ever written while home on maternity leave. My little chunk loves to eat at night so I had a lot of time to read! I so look forward to your post each day. My husband and I have been casual couponers for years but after seeing how people like you save money I’ve taken it to a whole new level. We even converted our coat closet to an extra pantry.
    My mom and I have been talking about cooking a bunch of meals like this for well over a year and now that I know there is something to help with that I’ve got to try it. I go back to work next week but as soon as the last day of school arrives (29 school days, not that I’m counting) I’m spending a day with mom and cooking. Hopefully, that’ll give me enough time to get what we need on sale. One question for you, how much freezer space to you have? Please keep us posted on how all the meals taste. I can’t wait to show my mom your post!

    Reply
  • Sarah April 13,

    I would love to try the Dinner is ready software. I’ve been wanting to try this for a long time. I’ve always thought it would be so beneficial to have it all cooked and in the freezer for those nights we have Girl Scouts, Karate, tball, etc and have to find something simple and quick to cook to avoid eating out.

    Reply
  • Sarah April 13,

    I liked LWSL on Facebook.

    Reply
  • Jena April 13,

    I have just recently starting reading your blog/website, I am loving in it! I have a small stockpile and would love to be able to make my dinners in one day and freeze, I work 3 over nighters in a row and my hubby would be so impressed with me if I was able to have freezer dinners! <3ing it

    Reply
  • Tara April 13,

    I would like to try the Lunch is Ready cookbook!

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  • Tara April 13,

    rss subscriber

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  • Tara April 13,

    facebook fan

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  • Tara April 13,

    twitter follower @huffychic

    Reply
  • Rachael April 13,

    I would like to try the Dinner is Ready software (or the 3 in 1) It looks awesome and if I did win it I’d buy the label system to go with it! My sisters could use this too since they are in college and don’t have a lot of time to cook right now. I’ve seen some other ideas similar to this program, but I like that this one has the software and label program as options.

    Reply
  • Rachael April 13,

    “Liked” LWSL on FB!! =-)

    Reply
  • Lindsay April 13,

    I’m getting it. Decided to splurge. I have been saving so much with coupons lately that I am going to justify the price by saying “a month ago I would’ve been spending that much on the food I would buy (In 1 trip to the store)”. After I try a couple recipes I’m having a cooking day at my house with all of my friends. :) Thanks for posting about this!

    Reply
  • Stephanie L April 13,

    I was jsut talking about this with one of my girlfriends. I am so glad you of all people were able to try it out! I think I would love lal of the products, but especially the software piece, bc that seems to be the easy, click, print, and go tool!! Going back to work in a few months and not sure how cooking dinner is going to fit in!!! This sounds like a great soulution:)

    Reply
  • Stephanie L April 13,

    I am an avid follower :)

    Reply
  • Stephanie L April 13,

    I “love” you on facebook and h ave referred you EVERY time someone asks about my couponing!!! They too love you:)

    Reply
    • Ruth April 13,

      LOL…I don’t normally comment on giveaway posts but this one cracked me up. :-)

      Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    I would adore the labels! I have a bad habit of forgetting how long somehing has been in my freezer. If I could cook label and store everything all at once it would help so much!

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    Following you’re every tweet!

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    Among other things I can now tweet about the great site you have! As a soon to be mom of 2 under 2 I can use all the help I can get! https://twitter.com/knittychick/status/58325480343994368

    Reply
  • Caasie April 14,

    I would like the labels. I would use the cookbooks and software but the labels are just the greatest idea. So neat and organized love it!

    Reply
  • Caasie April 14,

    I also follow you

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    Following on facebook!

    Reply
  • Jackie April 14,

    I love your blog — I am following you on network blogs.

    Reply
  • Jackie April 14,

    I am also following you on twitter

    Reply
  • Stephanie Phelps April 14,

    I would love to try them all but the labels look really cool. :) Having the cooking directions and all right on the label would make my life so much simpler.

    Reply
  • Stephanie Phelps April 14,

    I Follow LWSL via Networked Blogs

    Reply
  • Stephanie Phelps April 14,

    I like you on Facebook.(Stephanie Phelps)

    Reply
  • Stephanie Phelps April 14,

    I Follow you on twitter @my4boysand1

    Reply
  • Stephanie Phelps April 14,

    I tweeted I hope I did this right! :) @my4boysand1
    http://bit.ly/i3SfXf

    Reply
  • Stephanie Phelps April 14,

    I tweeted I hope I did this right! :) @my4boysand1 #2
    http://bit.ly/i3SfXf

    Reply
  • Stephanie Phelps April 14,

    I tweeted I hope I did this right! :) @my4boysand1 #3
    http://bit.ly/i3SfXf

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    I talked about you on my blog. It’s not as cool as yours, but it’s there! I just blogged about you! Yay! http://knittychick83.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-adventures.html

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Daugherty April 14,

    Reply
  • Wendy April 14,

    Well…I am just one of those gals that “wants it all”!! After looking at each of the products, when I saw at the bottom all three books with the software…I said “Yep, that’s for me!” I’ve never seen this particular one, I am definitely wanting to try this. So…I would love to start with the 30 meals a day. LOVE, love, love reading your blog!

    Reply
  • Wendy April 14,

    Follow you on Networked blogs…

    Reply
  • Wendy April 14,

    Like you on Facebook (have been for while!) Thanks for all you do and share with us!

    Reply
  • Stephanie Lowe April 14,

    I would love to try the Three-In-One Software

    Reply
  • Tiffany April 14,

    This sounds AWESOME!!! The sweet and sour salad caught my attention.

    Reply
  • Tiffany April 14,

    rss subscriber

    Reply
  • Tiffany April 14,

    follow you on twitter @tiffanyblogs

    Reply
  • Tiffany April 14,

    like you on facebook!

    Reply
  • Teresa Lawrence April 14,

    I just found your website today!!! LOVE it!!!!! The Honey BBQ Ribs look AMAZING! The software would be SO cool to have!!!! What a great concept!

    Reply
  • Teresa Lawrence April 14,

    I am now “following” with Google!!! :)

    Reply
  • Teresa Lawrence April 14,

    And now I have “liked” you on facebook!!!!!! Yay! Would love to win! Good luck to everyone! :)

    Reply
  • rebekah April 14,

    I would like to try their labels, they look pretty handy when the last thing you want to do is look up how to prepare your food. ;-)

    Reply
  • Jackie April 14,

    I “liked” your page on facebook

    Reply
  • Pam April 15,

    I would like to win the dinner meals software. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Tanya April 15,

    I’d love the lunch cookbook! I’m trying to pack my lunch to take to work more often. Some new ideas would be great!

    Reply
  • Tanya April 15,

    I’d love the lunch cookbook! I’m trying to pack my lunch to take to work more often. Some new ideas would be great!

    Reply
  • KK @ Coupon Crocodile April 15,

    I would love LOVE to try Dinner is Ready! I have wanted to try something like this for a while now.

    Quick question…how to do then prepare the dishes that you froze in zip lock bags? Do you microwave them?

    Reply
  • KK @ Coupon Crocodile April 15,

    Oh and I just started following you on Twitter (PreppyCrocodile).

    Reply
  • Traci April 15,

    I would love to try the recipe software! I’m a bit unorganized and am trying to get better! I think that this tool will really help me organize my meals, shopping and most importantly… ME!

    Reply
  • Traci April 15,

    OH! And I follow you on FB and RSS feed.

    Reply
  • Tracy April 15,

    I just found this website and it is now the first thing I see when I turn on my computer! Thank you so much for your time and effort. I am learning so much. Hopefully going to the store won’t be as stressfull (or expensive) with your help.

    Reply
  • Michelle April 20,

    I would love to try the Dinner is ready cookbook and software – or the 3-in-one software. I am a single mom of 9 kids – this would be a super time saver for me! This fall, I will be heading back to college – so I will definitely need to make some serious changes to the way I plan and make meals!

    Reply
  • Melanie April 20,

    I would love to try the Dinner is Ready software. Looks like a great timesaver!

    Reply
  • John April 24,

    I’d love to try the All-In-One software. I find it a lot easier to just use the computer than to search through cookbooks trying to find a recipe.

    Reply
  • John April 24,

    Just signed up to follow you on twitter – I’m JCSupSvc.

    Reply
  • John April 24,

    I discovered you a few days ago and immediately added your RSS to my reader.

    Reply
  • Shannon Evans April 25,

    I would love the cookbook for me I like to follow at my own pace the recipes instead of pausing to watch a DVD.

    Reply
  • Michelle D April 26,

    I would love to try the 30 meals in a day software and also the labels – I’m a label finatic!!! Thank you so much for this opportunity!

    Reply
  • Michelle D April 26,

    Just “liked” you on Facebook!!!

    Reply
  • Michelle D April 26,

    I am now following you on ‘twitter’!!

    Reply
  • Michelle D April 26,

    so new to the twitter thing so hopefully i copied the right link but here it is: http://twitter.com/#!/

    Reply
  • Michelle D April 26,

    Okay – just tweeted again!!!! at http://twitter.com/#

    Reply
  • stephanie mcmillan April 28,

    The Dinner is Ready cook book sounds like just what I need! I am a stay at home mom of five very active children who seem to be in every extra-curricular activity they can be in. Having 30 meals in the freezer would help things run more smoothly.

    Reply
  • Tessa April 28,

    Dinner is ready cookbook and software definitely!

    Reply
  • Tessa April 28,

    facebook follower!

    Reply
  • jennifer Simon April 28,

    I would love this I have tried with little sucess I am stay home four my husband drives trucks so he is rarely here and with after schhol events and soccer and church. I feel like I have 2 full ime jobs

    Reply
  • Kat May 13,

    I think since I am very computer oriented I would like the software! It looks amazing and easy to use!

    Reply
  • Kat May 13,

    Im a follower on Facebook!!

    Reply
  • Kat May 13,

    I am also a follower on Networked Blogs!! I look forward to reading more :) What a great blog!

    Reply

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