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:
Cheesy Potato Bake
Ham Noodle Casserole
Make Ahead Sandwiches
White Chicken Chili
Some other meals that we've enjoyed in the past:
Chicken Egg Rolls
Sloppy Joe Casserole
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.