Amish Cheeseburger Soup

I am guest posting at Marathon Mom again today, and I will be sharing this delicious Amish Cheeseburger Soup recipe plus several more, come see me!

~T

Amish Cheeseburger Soup

(Click recipe title for easy printable)

Amish Cheeseburger Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 8 Tablespoons Butter, Divided
  • 1-½ cup Carrots, Sliced or Roughly Chopped
  • 1-½ cup Celery, Sliced
  • 1 whole Small Onion Chopped
  • Fresh Parsley, Snipped
  • Basil, To Taste
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth
  • 8 cups Peeled And Cubed Potatoes
  • ½ cups Flour
  • 3 cups Milk
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces Velveeta or a more real cheese like 16 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated is lovely
  • 16 ounces, weight Sour Cream

In a skillet, cook ground beef and set aside. In a large stockpot, melt 2 tablespoons butter and saute carrots, celery, onion, parsley and basil. After 10 minutes, add the chicken broth and potatoes, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender.

In a saucepan, make your roux by melting the remaining butter. Add flour, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until bubbly, about a minute. Slowly, add milk and cook on medium, stirring constantly until thickened. Add to the broth and veggies. Turn the heat to low and add the cheese and beef. When the cheese is melted, stir in the sour cream. Taste and add more seasonings according to your liking.

Delicious!

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A Soup-A-Thon At Marathon Mom

Hi everyone,

  Brandy, from Marathon Mom, just had her 8th baby boy, so I am guest posting today & tomorrow! Soup-A-Thon

Come see me!!!!  🙂 

http://themarathonmom.com/3-hearty-soups.htm

~T

 

Bakeaholic Mama & Valentine Mailboxes

Hi everyone! I am guest posting today at Bakeholic Mama, so come see me there.  Carrie (aka Bakeaholic Mama) is, and I quote……

A “Food obsessed wife and stay at home mama of 3 kiddos and a black lab.” 

  She and I just recently got to know each other via Facebook. I love meeting new people! Come on over to Carrie’s place and say hi today!

  I am sharing the “Non-Recipe Recipe” for Raspberry Sweeties:

Raspberry Sweeties

  Just in time for an Oh-so Romantic celebration with the one your soul loves.  🙂

No, not Super Bowl, Silly…..

VALENTINES DAY!!!!!!!!!

dume,lean,on,me,love,random,cute,love,finger-090bc2b9e38d82916c3a4a845d552eaf_h

(via)

  Speaking of Valentines Day, check out this Oh-so ADORABLE idea I found at The Anderson Crew blog:

Valentine Mailboxes for the little people in your life you love most.

  You’ll need:

~Some old candle stick holders, my mom got mine for me at Goodwill for $2.00 a piece. {No I didn’t remember to photograph the before. They were plain wood. BORING!}

~ A mailbox for each kiddo, found in the Dollar Spot at Target RIGHT NOW!  {Go, run! Before all the other moms snag them!}

~Letters: stickers, wooden, magnet, you name it.  I REALLY wanted to find big colorful letters in all different prints, but alas it was not to be so. I check Walmart AND Hobby Lobby and finally settled on these sequin ones.  Not what I wanted, but cute none the less.

~An old magnet.  You know, like the free kind people give you with their business card on it.  You’ll be cutting this, so make sure it’s not your Insurance agent or someone important.  Then cut to shape and glue to your letters with a hot glue gun.

 ~You could glue direct to the mailbox, but JUST IN CASE we ever switch colors between kids, or I want the letters off for say cleaning purposes, I decided magnets work best for us.

~ A can of spray paint for your old 2nd hand candle stick holders. {Please don’t make me go all the way out to the cold shed to take a picture of the black spray paint, use your imaginations, ok?}

You can do any color spray paint you want, but I chose black to match the letters I had to buy since I live in a tiny town with no choices.

 {Sigh} Where or where could 2 inch tall colorful print letters be? 

  On a bright note, at least since I used magnets to attach my letters I COULD switch them out some day, should the perfect colorful letters reveal themselves to me!  

After the candlestick holders dried overnight, we attached them to the mailboxes with hot glue.  (Do something stronger, they keep falling off!) Then we used tape to make a ‘hinged door’ rather than the slide on and off lid these mailboxes come with.  Lord knows I don’t need mailbox lids getting lost, and yes, it would happen with Paxton into everything as much as he is!

Here is the finished product:

Ta-da!

Cute, right?!  I will be filling these with love notes, pipe cleaner sparkle hearts, stickers, heart window clings and GASP! maybe even a piece of candy. 

{Don’t get too excited, I am thinking like 3 M&M’s or something. Hey, my kids don’t get candy at ALL, they will be THRILLLLLLLED!}

The kids know they have a new treat awaiting them when I put the flag up.  I know this is opposite of how it works in the real world, but who cares, they LOVE it!

 Go forth, buy mailboxes and make your kiddos smile!

 Then come on over to the oh-so fabulous site of Bakeholic Mama!

~T

 

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Meet Penny

No Panic Here: I’ve got meals in my freezer!

Welcome back… it’s the final day of freezer cooking 101 with recipes included!  Hope you’re still along for the fun freezer ride and thinking about some friends you can round-up and start a Cooking Clan with VERY SOON!  The sooner you start, the sooner your panicky afternoons will be over  You know those days…

It’s 4:00 and you have nothing arranged to do with that frozen pound of ground beef???)  Oh no!  I shutter thinking back to those days.. glad they are over for ME!  

Get ready, this ones super-duper easy… but don’t let the ease keep you from making this one.  I introduced this to my mother-in-law and now she makes it all the time!  And she knows she can make it when the Grandkids are over and it’s a huge hit! 

Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

Cheeseburger stak frie casserole[1] (2)

2 pounds lean ground beef, browned and drained

1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup   (whichever suits your family best)

1 can cheddar cheese soup

1 can veggies of your choice  (corn, beans, peas)

1 20 oz. Package frozen Oven French Fries or Steak Fries or Tater Tots 

Assembly day:

Add beef and soups together.  Spread in 9×13 sprayed pan.  Top with can of veggies  (drained)  Arrange fries on top.   Cover with foil.  FREEZE

Cooking day:

Completely thaw casserole.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until bubbly and fries are golden.     this is another great one to do on time bake.  Just put the pan directly from the freezer on a cookie sheet.  Set your oven and come home from work or a busy day and supper is DONE!

ENJOY!   Add a salad and your family will love you!

cheeseburgerfries[1] (2)

    We kind of like comfort food and I would say this next recipe fits in that category as well.  This recipe came from my Don’t Panic cookbook as “California Quiche” and we have adapted it to fit our families and it is now “Ham and Cheese Quiche”.  One of these quiches is NEVER enough for a family of 5 or 6 with hungry teenagers, so some of us make it in a long 9×13 tin pan and some of us  (Like me, now that I have one away at college) make 2 pie pans so we can EAT one the day of cooking… it’s just too GOOD to put in the freezer right away when you smell it baking… and 1 goes in the freezer for later!!!   Either way, this quiche will make a lover out of you.. And yes, real men DO eat Quiche….  I’ve got several of them in the family to prove it!! 

Ham & Cheese Quiche

ham cheese quiche[1] (2)

Makes  enough for 1 family   (either 2- 9 inch pies or 1 9×13 pie)

2 (9 inch) pie crusts

7  eggs

2 cups milk

2 1/2 cups ham, diced

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

3 1/2 cups of a combo of cheddar cheese, co-jack or mozzarella, shredded   (divided use)

salt and pepper to taste

Additional options:  Broccoli  (I do half broccoli, half not for my family) or Spinach.   You can also sprinkle over the top:  Bacon bits, Parmesan Cheese, Parsley, or any other spices your family loves.  We like all 3!

Assembly day:

IF using 1 long pan:  Roll out 2 pie crusts in the bottom of the pan, brining the crust up the sides like you would a pie. 

If using 2 crusts, roll out each in a 9 inch pie plate.  You will just split all the ingredients between the 2 pans when you assemble.

Beat eggs with milk and salt and pepper.  Spread the  co-jack or mozzarella cheese over the bottom of the pie crust.  Top with ham.  Pour the egg mix over top.  Top with cheddar cheese.    Bake at 400 degrees for 40 min. or until knife inserted is clean.  Cool completely.  Freeze in a Ziploc freezer bag if it fits or cover with tinfoil.

Cooking day:  Thaw completely in the frig.  Warm in the oven at 325 for 15 – 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

hcquiche[1] (2)

Now, just to confuse you a little, I have a new and improved way to do all this…. yes, even an old dog like me likes a new trick once in awhile.  I always used to bake this first (which is why we had to eat it that night due to great smells)  The last time I cooked with my new group, we decided to try this one without baking and just put them in the freezer raw!  (I checked and you can do that safely with eggs).  GUESS WHAT?!?!??!?!  My family loved the frozen one even better this way because we didn’t think the crust was as soggy.  Not that the other one was completely soggy, but this one just seemed to come out better all the way around….   so there you go…  a new trick and the treat is ALL yours for trying! 

  The “new & improved” way to cook this is:

From frozen (raw):  Thaw several hours and cook at 400 degrees for 1 hour uncovered.

YUM!

quiche[1] (2)

Smile  I’m smiling!  How about you????

  Weeelllll….. it’s time to bring you to the 6th and final Freezer Cooking meal  (sniff, sniff)  and this one might be last but it is certainly NOT least!  By now you’re getting a feel for what kind of recipes do well in the freezer and this one is NO exception. I encourage you to find more meals that your family enjoys and try putting them in the freezer!  It’s another highly requested meal, not because it’s the prettiest, but because it is simply yummy, creamy and Ok I have to say it ONE MORE TIME… COMFORT FOOD!  I mean really, what is not to love about meat, pasta and cheese.  In fact, my BFF, Kristi and I have a motto when we try new recipes to determine if they are keepers or not for our freezer cooking…. the more meat and cheese the better, so most of our recipes have been “pimped” accordingly!    Gotta love that!    And since we are quickly approaching Thanksgiving   (please enjoy that wonderful holiday with family and friends and don’t by pass it like our society wants to!) and you are probably going to have lots of leftover turkey just waiting for another creative use…. now you have one!  This recipe is equally as good with turkey……  so let’s get making some chicken or turkey tetrazzini already!

Chicken Tetrazzini

Chicken Tetrazinni[1] (2)

2-1/2 or 3 cups broken spaghetti

3 -1/2 cups cooked chicken (cut up) (or Turkey)

1 cup sour cream

1 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

1 can cream of  mushroom or Chicken soup

2 cups grated cheddar or co-jack cheese

1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (optional) 

Assembly Day:

This recipe can either be done in a freezer bag or a Glad ware pan, which ever you have more room for in your freezer!

Cook and drain spaghetti. Mix all Ingredients together. Put In 9×13 baking dish. Cover and Freeze until ready to use. Can be frozen in a Ziploc bag too.  Rather than mix in a bowl, use the “Smoosh method”  SEE BELOW!

Cooking day:

Thaw completely  and pour bag contents into casserole dish to bake or bake in glad ware pan from freezer  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, uncovered.  You can also crock pot from the freezer bag.  Leave contents frozen (they are in a nice shape of your crock pot if you have been listening to bag instructions along the way )   From frozen, crock pot on low for 4-5 hours.  You are just re-warming and melting cheese, everything is already cooked.

Chk Tetrazinni[1] (2)

OFFICIAL SMOOSH METHOD: I can’t believe I waited until the LAST recipe to teach you the SMOOSH method!  Seriously, it’s the best. Rather than dirty another pan or dish, simply put all the ingredients in the bag and gently “smoosh” them around until the ingredients are well mixed.  Very simple.

Now you know the rest of the story and ALL the secrets there are to know about Freezer cooking…

OK maybe not every single one,  but pretty close!

THERE!  Don’t you feel REFRESHED???  Less panicky for sure about meal time???  GOOD, me too!   You now have all the tools to GET FREEZER COOKING!  I promise you’ll love it and miss it dearly if you ever have to stop for any reason.

And now it’s time to say goodbye and say a super huge THANK YOU TONYA for asking me to share your blog for 3 whole days!  It is quite an honor, because honestly, this blog is the only blog I personally follow daily and it’s AWESOME in every way!   

So until another time and place….

DON’T PANIC… IT’S IN THE FREEZER!!!!   (You can do it.. I believe in you!!)     

Your freezer fan,

Christy

Special thanks also to my BFF Kristi, for creating a Facebook group that we had already downloaded these recipes to, so I didn’t have to retype them. 🙂

  A BIG thank you to you, Christy, for working so hard to put together all these recipes and blog posts for our enjoyment!  I hope you will come back and guest blog for us again sometime!  This was SO FUN! 🙂  Love, T

Freezer Cooking Day 2: I’m Baaa-ack & Armed with Recipes!

DON’T PANIC.. It’s In The Freezer…. 

I’m Baaaaack…. and armed with recipes!

  I know you didn’t sleep a wink last night just waiting on these super yummy freezer recipes I am about to share!  What, you slept like a baby?  Well, OK, I’ll just share them anyway.. but warning, your mouth might start watering and I am not responsible for drool clean up on your keyboard.   Seriously, over the years we have perfected some mighty fine recipes and I just know your family is going to enjoy them as much as we all do.  Most are super easy to make, economical for the food budget and just plain yummy to serve your family.   So without further ado:  Let’s get cooking!  (freezer style that is)cooking chicken bruscetta[1] (2)

First off is Chicken Bruschetta!  Have to say this one is great for company or just feeding a hungry bunch of teenagers.  Lots of Italian flavor to tingle your taste buds too!

Chicken Bruschetta

chk bruscetta[1] (2)

Ingredients:

1 can Italian style diced tomatoes, un-drained

1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded,  divided

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil  and 3 tsp. minced garlic  

OR  3 Tbsp. Homemade Gourmet Garlic Basil seasoning

1 pkg. Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken

8 small boneless Chicken breast halves 

1 small bottle Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing  (Or Zesty Italian)  Split 1 bottle between 2 pans

Mix tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheese and basil in a bowl.  Add stuffing mix, stir until moistened.

NOTE:  You will have enough stuffing mixture  and Dressing to do 2 recipes of this… so plan accordingly!!!

So if making 2 pans.. all you need for the 2nd pan is the chicken and cheese to top!  Very economical, sorry this one is hard to divide and make 1 pan .

Company’s coming directions:

Place 2 chicken breasts at a time in a freezer weight plastic bag.  Pound with a meat mallet until chicken is flattened to about 1/4 inch think.  Repeat with rest of chicken.   Spread each chicken breast with several Tbsp. of stuffing mix.  Roll up and put seam side down in a greased 9×13 pan.  Repeat with all chicken.   Drizzle 1/2 bottle of dressing over top of chicken.  top with remaining cheese.    At this point Cover with Foil and Freeze.

Cooking Clan’s PREFERRED directions:  

We are not LAZY, we’re just good time managers!  LOL 🙂   FORGET pounding the chicken… just lay the chicken in the sprayed pan, cover with Italian dressing, the stuffing, then cheese.  Freeze and bake as before… we found the stuffing doesn’t get as mushy this way and gets a bit crunchy which adds to the YUM factor 🙂

On cooking day:

  Thaw completely before baking.  Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 40 minutes or until chicken juices run clear and cheese is golden brown.Chicken bruscetta[1] (2)

A helpful hint for all of you that have timed bake on your oven… Pull freezer pan out of the freezer in the AM and place on a cookie sheet  (Glad ware pans we use can’t be baked above 400 degrees and also must cook on a cooking sheet…. just trust me, otherwise they start to sage and bend and it’s just not pretty!)

Onward to our next recipe:  Taco Soup! 

  tacosoupbeforefreezer[1] (2)

  This is hands down our favorite freezer soup because it is easy to assemble on cooking day and even easier when you put it in the crockpot on serving day.  It’s hearty, healthy  (lots of beans for protein) and even the picky kids in your family will love it!  

  As I write I am wrapped up in a blanket typing because it is a cold rainy day in Iowa and I would really LOVE a bowl of this RIGHT NOW…. Good thing I have another one of our favorites in the crockpot to enjoy when the family gets home… Chicken Tetrazzini… you get to peak at that one tomorrow!  

Taco Soup

Tacosoup-after[1] (2)

1 pound ground beef 1 small onion, chopped

1 can pinto beans (drain)

1 can black beans (drain)

1 can chili beans (do not drain)

1 can corn (drained) or 1 1/2 cup frozen kernels

1 small can green chili’s (optional)

1 pkg ranch dressing mix

1 pkg taco seasoning

1 can Tomato juice   (Just give a can of this to each of the cooking clan — they will add it later when they actually cook the soup)

Assembly day:

Brown hamburger and onion, drain.

Put all ingredients in a zip lock and freeze.

A little tip for using freezer bags:  If you have room in your freezer, I like to freeze my bags sitting in a small bowl that will fit in my crock pot… why?  Then your bag of frozen food goes directly into your crock pot on cooking

Taco soup-before[1] (2)

Cooking day:

Place frozen soup in the crockpot.  Pour in can of Tomato juice.  Cook all day in the Crockpot on low.

Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips, sour cream if desired

Ole’!

 

COMFORT FOOD:  Everyone loves it.  This next recipe is just oozing with comfort!     We have been making this one for all 11 years I’ve done cooking and every single group requests it and it gets made almost every month.   Yes, it’s that good!   Creamy pasta, cream cheese and more,  C O M F O R T  F O O D at it’s finest.  

Did I mention this one is serious comfort food?  What’s NOT to love???

Cream Cheese Chicken

Creamcheese chicken[1] (2)

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons melted butter

salt & pepper to taste (If I use salted butter I omit the salt here)

1 package dry Ranch Dressing mix/seasoning (or 3 Tbsp.. of the large pantry size container of the Ranch mix)

1 can cream of chicken soup

8 oz. cream cheese cut into 1 inch cubes (softened)

1 Tbsp. minced onion (optional)

Assembly:

Place chicken in a crock pot on low. Pour melted butter over, add salt/pepper as you layer it in. Sprinkle dry Ranch mix over all.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (or overnight works great). 

About 45 minutes before you want to serve this if not freezing:

Mix soup, cream cheese, and onion in a small saucepan or microwave. Cook and stir until smooth. Pour over the chicken and stir. Cover and cook another 45 minutes if serving immediately, otherwise, for freezing, turn off the crock pot and allow to cool completely.  Put into a gallon sized freezer bag. Label with name and cooking instructions.   Freeze.

If freezer space is hard to find, lay flat to freeze.  If not and you want to re-heat in the crock pot, place in a bowl that will fit in your crock pot to allow for easy freezer to crock pot transition. 

Cooking day:

Thaw completely and reheat on the stove top or in the microwave in a glass bowl. 

OR  Put in crock pot on low for 4-5 hours.

To Serve: Great over pasta  (our personal favorite) rice,  or potatoes…. or use for sandwiches filling.

We like to add the pasta to the chicken just before serving.  Get creative, you really can’t serve it wrong or mess this up no matter how hard you try!   ENJOY!!!

Whew…. that’s a wrap for today….. hope you’ll tune in tomorrow for more (3 more to be exact) yummy recipes  and great freezer ideas!    

That was easy wasn’t it?!?!

See you tomorrow for more great recipes!

~Christy

DON’T PANIC…It’s In The Freezer!

    Little did I know over 11 years ago, when our Pastor’s daughter shared her new Freezer Meal cookbook that my meal planning was about to change forever. A cookbook changed your life you might be thinking??? dont panic cookbook[1] (2)

  Let me set the stage for you. You’re a stay at home Mom of 3: 1 toddler, 1 pre-schooler and 1 Elementary student. You’ve had a full day: cleaning up messes, doing laundry, trying to fix the appliance that is on the fritz, the phone won’t stop ringing with marketing calls. 2 kids are fighting, one is a bit too quiet and suddenly the clock strikes 4:00 PM. You know the drill, you realize you haven’t even showered yet today and in an hour and a half your husband will be walking in the door and you have to find something creative to do with a frozen pound of ground beef! Sound familiar??? Well for me it was too often my reality.  I mean, let’s be honest, life doesn’t really work as depicted in this 1950’s photo, now does it?!

Nope.  So, when “Don’t Panic.. It’s in the Freezer” was presented, it made perfect sense to me!!!!

    OK, perhaps I have gotten ahead of myself … Just who is this person invading Tonya’s otherwise normal blog???

   Let me introduce myself… Christy Eichelberger here…. Tonya’s 2nd cousin on the Schrock side. Tonya was the cutest little non-smiling flower girl there ever was… but that’s a whole nother story.

grumpy flower girlHere’s my family and as you can tell those small tykes at my house have turned into a college student and 2 High Schoolers. And that good looking guy is my hubby of 25 years (yes we were married at 14, LOL)

FAV

The cool thing is, after all these years and all the stages of life we’ve been through, this freezer cooking gig has served us well. So hopefully I can share it with you and no matter what stage of raising a family you are at, you can find some hope for those panicky moments that surround putting a meal on the table.

The concept of Freezer Cooking 101:

chickenbruscette-before

Take the worry out of meal planning by having several meals per week already made ahead and in your freezer to pull out and use. Have fun with friends while preparing the meals. Save time (cook 1 day instead of 12) Save money (buy ingredients in bulk to assemble the meals) and have way more fun with friends than doing it by yourself! Save frustration (always have a meal in the freezer to pull out when you have run out of ideas or time or both!)

What’s not to love???

Here are the nuts and blots:

  You get your group and set your number of meals…. let’s say you have 3 people participating and you want to leave with 12 meals for the freezer. Each of the 3 of you are in charge of 4 different recipes for the group. You make 3 each of those 4 recipes. (so everyone leaves with 12 meals total) You shop for your recipes, do the precooking of any meat, etc. ahead, then you come together at 1 of the person’s homes on 1 day and make the meals together. We use Ziploc freezer bags and Glad ware reusable/freezable lidded pans. When you are done, you swap meals and you each go home with 12 meals …. ALL DIFFERENT! It’s awesome. You then have 12 meals to use from the freezer throughout the month!

Some things to keep in mind:

1. What time of day/week will your group cook? Look for people who desire the same- stay at home mom’s may like weekdays while kids are in school, some working moms may want to cook on a Saturday morning, etc..

2. How big is your family? If you have 2 kids, cooking with a family with 5 kids may not be a great fit. However, sometimes you can divide meals in half for smaller families cooking with larger groups or they may enjoy left-overs or entertaining guests with those larger meals.

3. What foods do the families like to eat? Some will enjoy casseroles, others meats and marinades for crock or grilling more. Some will want veggies in every thing, others with young or picky kids may not. Make sure you find tried and true recipes that are designed for the freezer. There are TONS of cookbooks and websites out there! all cookbooks

4. How many meals will you prep at a time? It’s nice to have 2-3 meals for each week for as long as you plan to go in between cooking. So we did 12 meals for 4-6 week increments. Remember, you have to be able to AFFORD to buy the groceries to prep your 12 meals for cooking day as well, so you want to cook with people on similar budgets for food, etc. and plan your quantity and timing accordingly.

  Personally, since I started over 11 years ago, I have cooked in groups of all sizes from 2 (just me and my BFF) to 7 (gals from my church). I have to say my favorite number to cook with is 4 total and do 12 meals. So each of you do 3 recipes times 4. It just works.

freezer cooking in actionHere are my current cooking clan members.

Cooking Clan  Oct 2011

Christy, Jolana, Karla and Karla, still looking good after 2 1/2 hours of prep and clean up!  We actually just formed and have only cooked 1 time together! They are experts now… really! It’s that easy!

  Overwhelmed a bit??? Don’t be! Here is what you need to do to get started:

  Find 3 friends much like yourself in stage of life and family members. Get together and have everyone find some of their favorite meals. (after trying them once, you will know if they are freezer cooking worthy!)

Find 12 (or whatever number of meals you decide to cook) great recipes and divide them amongst yourselves.

Pick a day to cook. I recommend a time when you will be least distracted. We try to cook once a month or within 5 weeks. DO what works for your group.. You can do this.

Pick a place with a large kitchen or one with plenty of room to spread out on card tables. (We rotate to a different house each month for variety!)

Shop the sales for meat that you will be using. If chicken breasts are on a great sale, then do plenty of chicken recipes.

The day before you cook, do your individual prep work. For example, we always come with all our hamburger browned and drained, chicken cooked if necessary and any veggies cut. This will make assembly time go really fast!

  On cooking day, you can do it 2 ways: Either each person prepares all their own recipes, or you can all do 1 recipe at a time assembly line style.

Cooking lasagna

  Each cook brings her own pans and freezer bags. The hostess for the month provides tinfoil, salt, pepper, misc. forgotten spices and a black marker and labels for clearly identifying meals. Clean up between meals is a snap with so many hands. We even recycle everything and rinse out cans and bottles and put them in a giant garbage bag for the hostess that month to recycle! Cooking day: Assemble your recipes into the pans or bags, label them and keep in a cooler until you are ready to leave. (Food safety first!) Thankfully in Iowa most of the cooler cooking months we just leave our coolers outside on the deck or in the garage and as we take out ingredients, we replace them with completed meals.

  The satisfaction of a full freezer after a few hours cooking with friends is PRICELESS!!! Trust me on this one!!

  Here is what the top shelf of my freezer looked like after cooking.. almost full and we only did 8 meals for the first time with the new group instead of 12 like usual. 

Meals in freezer[1] (2)

  WHEW, I’ve probably bored some of you to tears and for others maybe you are thinking… hey, this could really work for me!!! If so… stay tuned tomorrow and I’ll share some of my family’s personal favorite FREEZER MEALS……

WOO-HOO!!!  Smile

~Christy

The Country Cook

Hey everybody, I am kickin’ it with my girl, Brandie today over at her great blog, The Country Cook.

  She is the one that got me started on this to die for dessert

and this AMAAAAZING Cucumber Dip

So what are you waiting for? Come on over, Brandie is an excellent hostess! I bet she is serving sweet tea and something scrumptious….

Oh wait, I am cooking over there today.

Hmm, enter at your own risk?

Tee-hee, just teasing.  🙂

Come see me, pretty please, with cherries on top?!??!

At The Country Cook….

~T