counter top covered with prepped ingredients for once a month cooking

Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month

The title, Once a Month Cooking, made me laugh. Cook once a month? I didn’t need a book to do that. I needed the motivation to cook the other 29 days of the month!

counter top covered with prepped ingredients for once a month cooking

I didn’t actually read that book until years later when I met up with co-author Mary Beth Lagerborg, when we were both on some TV show back in the early days of HGTV. I learned that “once-a-month cooking” is a method of preparing a month’s (or two weeks’) dinner entrees in one mega-cooking session, and then freezing them for use throughout the month.

While Mary Beth, along with her co-author Mimi Wilson has developed a specific and thorough plan for preparing many meals at one time, any effort that results in preparing meals now to be used later has decided benefits:

1. Convenience

Entrees in the freezer provide take-out convenience but with the aroma, appeal, and taste of home cooking.

2. Simplification

Nothing unravels the seams of family time faster than having nothing on hand for dinner. Knowing dinner’s ready to go promotes household calm and peace. 

3. Flexibility

Having your freezer stocked with entrees means you can welcome last-minute guests without feeling embarrassed, ticked off, or stressed out. A meal-stocked freezer allows a family to carry on even when the home keeper is traveling, has surgery, has a new baby, or when the holidays approach.

4. Economy

Take-out food is expensive. So are trips to the market at 5:00 pm. A quick stop for milk can result in a basket filled with impulse items.

Not what you may think

Contrary to what many believe, not all frozen entrees are high in carbohydrates and fat. The authors of Once-a-Month Cooking have been careful to develop recipes that freeze well, are nutritional, and are not high in fat. They’ve even addressed the challenge of freezer space, insisting that by following specific instructions, a month’s worth of meals for a family of big eaters can fit into the freezer portion of the typical refrigerator.

Trying to go from barely cooking to cooking for an entire month in one session may represent an unreasonable leap. Instead, work up to it.

Start small

When you make that meatloaf for tonight’s dinner, make two. Before baking, wrap one of them tightly, label and pop it into the freezer. There! You’re on your way. You’ve anticipated a dinner meal for another day.

Ramp up slowly

Do the same thing tomorrow and the next day. Soon you’ll be ready to advance to the next level of mega-meal preparation—preparing a week’s worth of entrees at one time. Then move to two weeks and perhaps eventually an entire month’s worth of meals. You might even consider turning your efforts into a social event by cooking together with a friend and then sharing the results.


Meet Mary Beth and Mimi at

If the idea of cooking for a day and then eating for a month appeals to you, I highly recommend that you pick up both Mary Beth and Mimi’s books, which are just terrific: Once-A-Month Cooking and Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites. They’ve done all the hard work for you, so you and your friends can relax and have all the fun.

Trust me, Mary Beth and Mimi know their stuff. In the decades since they first formulated their ingenious method of once-a-month cooking, millions of adoring fans have more than proven this is a system that’s here to stay!





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5 replies
  1. MJ MacNeil says:

    I purchased their book in 1986 of the same name (once a month cooking) and it has been my “saviour” ever since. The book is battle weary and lots of great ideas and recipes for “bulk” cooking. While my household has shrunk (children moving out) it’s still used and stretches my meals even further. It’s unbelievable how this method helps stretching one’s grocery budget.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Thanks MJ. I am going to forward your message to Mary Beth! She will be so excited to hear from both of us!

      I didn’t mention this in the post, but I’ll let you and other readers here know: Mimi Wilson was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dimentia, several years ago. It has been a horrible struggle, and if you know of LBD, you may understand. I would ask my readers of faith to pray for Mimi and her husband Calvin. This has stretched their faith beyond imagination, but they have never wavered. Not for one second. God is good … he knows our struggles, and gives grace in exact measure to our needs.


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