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|What is once-a-month cooking (OAMC)?|
|Once-a-month cooking is a way to simplify the lives of busy families. Food for a month (or a week, or 6 weeks) is prepared all at once, and frozen for later use. Most people who use this method actually make only the main meal's main course, although side dishes and breakfast items also fit well into this method.|
|Why would anyone want to do once-a-month cooking?|
|Preparing all the food you will use for a month is actually less time consuming, and more economical. Since the cooking is all done in one day, cleanup on the rest of the days of the cycle (month, week, or whatever fits your lifestyle) is much easier. Since you buy most of the food in bulk, you save money.|
|Is once-a-month cooking for everyone?|
|No! This method works best for busy families who can plan ahead. If you can discipline yourself to sit down and plan your main meal's menu for the next week or month, if you can find someone to watch the kids while you spend a day in the kitchen, and if you have enough cash to pay for most of a cycle (month, week, etc.) all at once, once-a-month cooking will work for you!|
|Do I have to have a stand-alone freezer to use once-a-month cooking?|
|No. The freezer attached to your refrigerator will work fine under the following conditions: 1) it's empty, and 2) you freeze most of the meals in freezer bags.|
|Won't it take a whole day just to prepare for the cooking day?|
|It doesn't have to! Just use our site, Cook of the Month! We make OAMC easy. Choose your recipes from our huge selection. We provide the complete shopping list and menu to make shopping easy, easy, easy.|
|Help! My power went out and I’m afraid all my frozen foods will thaw. What can I do?|
|If your freezer is not full, group the
food together in a pyramid and put whatever regular ice you have on top.
This crowding will conserve cold air.
KEEP THE FREEZER CLOSED. Every time you open the door, cold air escapes.
Find a friend who is willing to share freezer space.
If you think your power may be out longer than a day, find some dry ice. Be sure to follow the handling directions carefully. Do not touch dry ice or inhale the fumes in an enclosed space. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice should hold a 10-cubic-foot full freezer for 3 or 4 days. Place the dry ice on top of your food with a piece of cardboard in between.
When your power is back on, immediately inspect your foods. “When in doubt, throw it out”!
|Tip #1: Use heavy-duty freezer storage bags instead of containers|
|Many once-a-month cooking books tell you to freeze your meals in containers of a certain size (2-cup, 4-cup, etc.) These containers take up much more precious freezer space than do plastic freezer storage bags. Freeze the dish laying down, when it's completely frozen, stand the bag up to maximize freezer space. Almost every recipe can be adapted to use bags instead of containers. Sometimes you will need to freeze a meal in the pan you'll use to cook it. But once it's frozen, remove it from the pan and put it in a freezer bag. In a pinch, you can even adapt layered dishes to the bag method. Just freeze each layer in a separate bag. When it's time to prepare the dish, thaw each layer and assemble. This take less thawing time too!|
|Tip #2: Keep a running list of the contents of your freezer|
|This helps you in two ways, 1) you know what meals you have used, and what you have left, and 2) you know when it's almost time to do OAMC again!|
|Tip #3: Thawing a freezer-bagged dish|
|Put the frozen meal in the microwave and cook on THAW (30% power) just until you can remove it from the bag (if you can break it into pieces while it's still in the bag). Put it into the dish you'll cook it in, then thaw the rest of the way. Do not allow the bag to melt!|
|Tip #4: Use your food processor to chop, chop, chop!|
|This is one of the most time-saving inventions for the bulk cooker. Even if you have to find that instruction booklet, it pays to chop onions, green peppers, carrots and more in the food processor.|
|Tip #5: Protect your frozen food with extra ice in case of a power outage|
|OAMC is an investment in both time and
money. You don’t want to see all of your hard work planning, shopping, and
preparing go down the drain due to circumstances beyond your control. Think
of your freezer as an investment that needs to be protected. Not only will a
full freezer keep food frozen longer if there is a power outage, but it also
uses less energy when it’s running.
Before you find yourself with a power outage, take some time to protect your investment. This method is very simple. If your freezer has unused space, fill up that space as best you can with water. You can use dishpans, buckets, empty milk jugs or virtually any container that will fit. When you find yourself with food you’d like to freeze, simply remove the ice and let it melt outside or in your laundry tub. You’ll be relieved to know that a full, free standing freezer will remain at freezing temperatures about two days, and a half-full freezer about one day.
Another way to protect your investment is to talk to your friends about the possibility of a power outage before it happens. See if you can work out an emergency freezer sharing plan. And spend some time now finding out where you can purchase dry ice in your area.
|Why don't you have instructions for all of the recipes on your site?|
|Lots of the recipes the Cooks use for OAMC are found in some wonderful cookbooks. These recipes are copyrighted material. If you want to use one of these recipes, you must purchase the book in which it appears. However, you are free to use the recipes invented by the Cooks!|
|How do I submit recipes to the Cook of the Month site?|
|You can use our recipe submission page located here or send us the recipe via e-mail at support at cookofthemonth dot com. We are working on additional means to build out our recipe database and to provide our users with a more automated method to add their favorites. Another method to get your recipes added while helping out your favorite cause is to contact us about adding your fund raising cookbook recipes to our site!|
|I get that "Ooooops" during my confirmation page.|
|When confirming your account by clicking on the e-mail link or pasting the confirmation number manually, sometimes the confirmation occurs but your session was interrupted by something, e.g., network glitch, browser confusion, meteor showers, sunspots, etc. So, it appears your confirmation did not work when in fact it really did. So, if you get an Oooops message over and over again, try logging in with your e-mail and password you registered with. It might just work. And if it doesn't, just let us know.|
|Some things don't seem to work correctly. Why?|
|I did not receive my confirmation e-mail!|
|There are a couple of reasons this can happen. Usually spam filters can keep our e-mails from reaching you, so you can remedy this by adjusting your spam filter rules. Sometimes our e-mail is broken and the confirmation e-mail did not make it to you. You can request your confirmation e-mail to be resent by clicking on this link.|
|My browser does not display the quantity field. Why?|
|On some browsers and/or operating systems, users are not able to display the quantity fields of the recipe selector. We believe this is related to the size of the page and other issues. One suggestion to consider is to to set your font size on the browser to normal if it is set to large.|
|I loose the selections that I make. Why?|
|Where are the various reports?|
|The report selection is now located under the My Selections section of the meal planner.|
|Do you advertise or provide link exchanges?|
|We are always open to advertising opportunities on the Cook of the Month Site. Please use the Contact Us link or contact us via support at cookofthemonth.com to send us your suggestions and proposals.|
|I lost my password, how do I get it back?|
|If you loose your password, we will have to reset it for you in order for you to change it. For security reasons, we cannot tell you what it was or send it to you in e-mail. You can request an automatic password reset request by clicking here.|
|How to change my password?|
|You can easily change your password once you are logged into the site and you navigate to the your account area.|
|How to contact us?|
|The best way to contact us is via our comment/contact page which you can get to from here or from the bottom or the page or within the about us. You can also contact us via e-mail at support at cookofthemonth dot com.|
|Help me! This thing is broke or I can't find the answer anywhere!|
|Sometimes our site has a problem and you are the lucky one to find it being a problem child first. Please feel free to contact us as noted above, but e-mail is probably the best method when encountering problems. If you are experiencing technical problems, then please give as much information you can, e.g., browser type, operating system, error messsages and the steps you took that led you to the problem. The more we have, the faster we can solve the problem.|