Friday, September 16, 2011

Freezer Cooking

Last Saturday, while most of the locals were enjoying the Grabill Fair, I and 3 other industrious/adventurous moms were inside the church cooking up a storm...

For 9 hours!

9 hours of work=96 meals x 4 hungry families = 24 meals per family

How did we get there you ask?

I will preface this story by saying that we think that NEXT TIME it will not take as long!

The original plan had us starting at 9:30 AM. Well, that was before we realized that the parade path for the fair was set commence directly outside the front entrance of the church! As I was pulling into the parking lot the road I had just driven on was being shut down. This prevented Sarah from getting to the church. She had to park as close as possible, load up her stroller with meat and supplies, and then walk to the church!

Carrie and I scooping pasta into baking dishes.

So while we were waiting for Sarah, we started the pulled pork in the roasters. A big part of the reason that we used the church kitchen was so that we could use the big roasters, pots/pans etc. Once we got the pork started we immediatley blew a fuse in the outlet that all 3 roasters were plugged into and we didn't know it! Ahhhhhhh....not until 2 hours later. Whoops! Luckily the janitor popped in every once in a while and helped us out a ton. He showed Becky how to flip the fix the fuse, brought us a big trash bin, and even took the massive amounts of trash out to the dumpster! What a great guy!

Becky, our happy meat mixer/chicken wrangler!

We each took on different jobs as the day progressed. All of us took turns washing dishes and putting utensils away. About halfway through the day we decided that 4 was the perfect number for this task. The logistics for purchasing and transporting all of the supplies/ingredients for a task this size is quite large. We were busy the entire time. We all always had something to do and we liked it that way! Then, once the meals are assembled, you have to store them until the end of the day. The industrial sized refiderator and freezer at the church working perfectly! I really don't know how we could have done this at one of our houses? Maybe if you just had 2 people working?

Our list of meals:

chicken enchiladas
broccoli cheddar soup
cheesy chicken and biscuits
white chicken chili
baked pasta with meat sauce
pulled pork

The chicken enchiladas

White Chicken Chili

Cheesy Chicken and Biscuits served with a green salad

A picture of how our dishes were assembled.

The bread dough that we used to make the calzones! It had risen. It had risen indeed!

Sarah taking a turn washing dishes. Everyone looks so happy!

Becky cleaning the floor! Isn't she beautiful?

All 96 meals divided up per family and ready to load! That's a lot of work but oh so worth it!

If you think that is crazy, brace yourself, we already have plans to do this again in October!

As the day progressed we decided that we would be MORE motivated to use the meals at home if we already had the next cooking day set up and on the calender. That way we would eat and enjoy our precious meals knowing that more were to come. Plus we just learned so much from our experiences that day and we took notations along the way. That way our shopping list can be more precise. We did overbuy on a few items and doing a cooking like this one soon will help us to use up those extra ingredients that we already have purchased and bring down the cost of each meal.

After dividing up all of the ingredients we each contributed $153.00.
Not bad for 24 meals. That's almost a months worth of meals! We also hope to further refine our process after collecting feedback from each family on what meals we like and want to try again!

Overall a fun and productive day! Now don't you want to try it? I admit is has been WONDERFUL all this week to know I have quite the selection of meals to choose from. How easy is it to put a meal in the fridge in the morning and then preheating the oven before dinner?

Totally easy!

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