Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freezer Cooking Co-Op: Choosing Recipes

When choosing the recipes for a cooking party I enjoy allowing each person to have a chance to share a family favorite with the group. This may or may not be something new to the others, but it will no doubt have a different element that other families will enjoy trying. I love it when my kids rave about the meal and then ask, "Whose is this mom?" I can reply, "It's Mrs. Paasch's. It was her favorite when she was little. Her grandma made it for her," because we talked all about it at the party.

After the invitations have been sent and the RSVP date has been reached, I then contact the ladies asking for two recipes of their choice. Each recipe must serve 8 people or more and involve no raw meat. I do not require that it be a recipe specifically for freezing. It just must be a recipe that can be assembled fairly easily and is tried and true. Normally, I ask for recipes five weeks before cooking night and allow one week for a reply. It's always helpful to have a good month to make sure that various sales can be hit in preparation.

Once the recipes come to me, I then choose one of the two suggestions based on a few things. First of all, I try to achieve a balance in the types of meat used. For instance, we might prepare two chicken, two ground beef and one sausage and one vegetarian meal. Next, I choose a recipe based on its ethnic flavor. This way we won't end up with five Mexican dishes or four Italian. Finally, the recipe makes the cut if it has ingredients that will assemble easily and freeze well. Oftentimes, potatoes or creamed mixtures change consistency during freezing and thawing. These ingredients might need to be added at a different time in the cooking process.

At our last cooking party we prepared these meals:
Chicken Burritos
Cheesy Potato Bake
Ham Noodle Casserole
Make Ahead Sandwiches
Taco Soup
White Chicken Chili

Some other meals that we've enjoyed in the past:
Stuffed Shells
Chicken Egg Rolls
Pizza Pockets
Chicken Divan
Pizza Casserole
Beef Stew
Sloppy Joe Casserole
Beef Enchiladas
Tamali Pie

Do you see any recipes here that you'd like to have? I'd be glad to pass them on.

For those of you just stopping by check out earlier posts here and here. Tomorrow I will discuss how to make the ingredient assignment list and who pays for what. Thursday will cover the food preparation and Friday will feature the cooking night itself. Hope you are able to come back.


Terri said...

I would love to have your recipes for:

White Chicken Chili
Pizza Pockets

Actually, I'd love to have them all! They look very family friendly.

I came to your site from Money Saving Mom.


Anonymous said...

I have a question....so who provides the meat? I read that they need to provide enough non meat items for everyone to make their meal. Do people bring their own meat? I am a bit confused!

Jeremy and Marissa said...

I would love to have a copy of all your recipes! I came to your site from Money Saving Mom.
My email is marissa.gaither@gmail.com

Kim said...

I am new to freezer meals, so I'm printing everything out. I wish I had people interested at church or in other circles.

I would like recipes for Chicken Burritos, Cheesy Potato Bake, Make Ahead Sandwiches, Pizza Pockets, Pizza Casserole, Sloppy Joe Casserole and Beef Enchiladas.

Um, wow. I didn't think it was that many in my head!

Amanda T said...

This is a great series! I'm linking to you, again. I'm hoping some gals in my area will want to give this a try!

Kristen said...

I am going to be doing the freezer cooking, I am so excited. I would like the recipe for Pizza casserole and sloppy joe casserole please. Also I was wondering how your friend June is. Thank you.