Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Freezer Meals with Friends

You guys!  This is genius, so I need to blog it for anyone interested.  That and I said I would ;).

I was invited to create freezer meals with a group of ladies I actually didn't really even know.  I of course said yes. :)  They had me at new friends and food.  And saving money.  And time.

The Idea:

Spend part of just one day preparing homemade meals that only need to be cooked, saving days and days of work in the long run.  And probably many days of ordering food because of exhaustion by the end of a busy day.

Also, by preparing these meals in bulk, it also cuts down on lots of $$.  

Plus, who wouldn't want to spend about 4 hours with friends, learning new recipes, chatting and encouraging/getting to know each other better?!

-This is best achieved with about 6 participants.  Too many would make it nearly impossible to fit in one kitchen, and too little means not a lot of work and meals can be made.
-I highly recommend a church group or any group do this, and store in a deep freezer for anyone who could use a meal.  What a way to reach out and minister!)

The Prep:

The "Hostess" and group choose the meal recipes for the month.  They need to be things that can be frozen, like soups, marinades, casseroles and crock pot meals.  I partook in none of this part, as Chet and I love about anything, and I was ready for new recipes any ways. :)

The "Hostess" (or anyone I suppose, but we were just lucky our hostess did) compiles the massive list of ingredients - and shops for them.  She must multiply each recipe by 6 or 12 or however many.  By massive, I mean, this person needs an SUV, good math skills and a babysitter.  This type of shopping cannot be accomplished without all of these things.  Our hostess went to the back of the meat department at SAMs Club and received an unbeatable price for meat in bulk.  I mean, when you are buying 90 lbs. of chicken breasts alone, you want a GOOD DEAL.  The first time I saw the ingredients stacked and scattered throughout her kitchen, it took my breath away.  They took over her kitchen.  It's a LOT of food.

The day or night before the big work, everyone gets one task to make the next day feasible to complete in about 4 hours.  The tasks include things like:
- Brown ground beef
- Cook chicken
- Brown sausage
- Cook and crumble bacon
- Make marinades

[I was able to brown about 15 lbs. of ground beef in about 45 minutes.  I just did small batches over and over.  It's not bad at all.]

The Day of:

Show up ready to WORK and sweat! :)
By the end of the four hours, I was a hot mess.  I had planned to photograph the entire process, but that would've meant less work and more germs touching my phone.  And I completely forgot about it 30 minutes in.  So much for that...

Everyone breaks down tasks.  For instance, my first task was to layer an enchilada casserole bake.  You spread out 6 (or 12 depending on if the meal is doubled) casserole dishes (we used foil and disposable ones, but some groups may opt for a more earth friendly deal) and start an assembly line finishing that recipe up.

Then you start the next.  And the next.

And so forth.

Working as a group and team made things go quickly and was so much fun.

Soups and meats with marinades go into gallon ziploc bags.  Line out the bags and start adding ingredients.

Label everything!  Our hostess printed out cutesy labels (if I would've been in charge I would've used a sharpie.  Thank God for creative souls.), so it looked like a genuine Pinterest project going on.

Use a large foldout table or two to start stacking meals on.  Peeking at the growing stacks energized me throughout the process. ;)

We plan to do these every other month or so.  I loved the idea and felt SOOOO accomplished filling our freezer with recipes such as Chicken Cordon Blue Bake, Lasagne Pie, Enchiladas, White Chicken Chili, Pomegranate Chicken, etc etc etc.  

The recipes chosen are very individualized to your group.  Also, if someone doesn't like an ingredient, it can be omitted from their dishes.  Super easy to please anyone!

Worth it folks!  Just ask Chet.  He's loved his breakfast burritos on the way out the door at 5am.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like such a great idea! I need to try this :)