Saturday, November 29, 2008


HELLO! It is Saturday night and I just arrived home from cooking all day. 3 of my friends and I and my dd, Ariel cooked up a storm today. We made 120 meals total - 30 meals for each family to take home.
These are "MOST" (refrigerator items and a lot of meat not pictured!) of our groceries at the beginning of the day.

Some people asked how this worked and this is how we work it out -

1. A few weeks before hand we pick a cooking date and select 30 recipes. This month's recipes include: Taco Stuffed Shells, Tater Tot Casserole, Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken inBBQ, Stuffed Peppers, Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff, Slow Cooker Chickenand DUmplings, Smothered Meatloaf, Stove Top BBQ Chicken, TacoSpaghetti, Lasagne, Marinated Pork tenderloin, Mary Pat's Chiecjen,Quick Cassoulet, Shredded French Dip, Sloppy Joes, Easy tunaCasserole, Fajitas, Roast, Garden Fresh Soup, Chili, Chicken a laKing, Chicken Pesto Paninis, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Tetrazzini,Crock Pot Saucy Pork Chops, Applebees Oriental Chicken Salad, BasicMeatballs, Beef Enchiladas, Cajun Chicken Strips, Cheeseburger Soup,Chicken & Corn Chowder.
2. We prepare the grocery list, breaking down amounts, etc.
3. watch for sales, and start shopping
4. A few days before, all of our husbands have a night out and do the BIG grocery shopping for things we need.
5. Each person does some prep work of chopping vegetables, cooking meat, etc. at home the day before cooking day.
This works great for Karen, she just had a baby six weeks ago. Doesn't she look great?
Melisa is so faithful. She ended up at the hospital at 2:30 a.m. with her mom, who is having health problems. Left the hospital around 6:30 to stop at home and come make meals with us. She is so faithful!

Ariel was such a trooper. She came to help us out since Karen and Betsy had to leave for a a few hours to attend a meeting.

Betsy is the FABULOUS host! She provided the home and helped organize this to make it all happen.
Here I am, looking kind of scary! LOL I did not sleep well, so just woke up showered and showed up to cook. By the end of the day, I had spaghetti sauce spilled all over my shirt!
COOKING DAY!!!! Bring all of your freezable cooking dishes, Ziploc bags, Ziploc containers etc., we are blessed because the SC Johnson Company (Johnson Wax) is here in Racine and they have an employee discount store for those wonderful freezer containers.

We start between 7:30-8 a.m. and cook and clean until we are finished. Each person takes a recipe and multiplies it as many times we have decided before hand.

This months groceries for our once a month cooking costed each family $218- AND we have 8 packages of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 4 turkeys (80 pounds) remaining to be cooked up for meals next month and several other groceries remaining! That means next months groceries will cost us less, because we will not need to buy any poultry.
Here are a few of our recipes... If you would like more, please let me know and I would be happy to share them.

Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad
Makes 6 servings.
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 cup chow mein noodles
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
chicken strips
Combine first 5 ingredients for dressing

Basic Meatballs
Makes 12 servings.
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup fresh parsley choped
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 pinch nutmeg
1 cup beef broth
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup beef broth
3 egg
1 tablespoon garlic minced
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds ground chuck
Combine meat with mixture, stir through rally with fork. Oven
at 450. Golf ball size meatballs. Don't touch. Bake for 25
minutes. Keep juices for sauce.

Beef Enchiladas
Makes 8 servings.
1 pound taco meat
1 can kidney beans
1 1/2 cups corn (canned or frozen)
1 can Rotel drained
1 can diced tomato drained
1 can sliced black olives
10 flour tortilla
1 can enchilada sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese
Combine first 6 ingredients, along with 1/2 cup cheese. Put
about 1/2 cup of mixture onto each tortilla, roll up and place
seam side down in a greased 9X13 inch pan. Put any
remaining mixture over the top, pour the enchilada sauce on it
and then sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for
about 30 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Makes 6 servings.
Italian sausage
Green pepper
spaghetti sauce
Bomber buns
Brown sausage. Combine with onion, green pepper and
sauce, cook on low in slow cooker.

Cajun Chicken Strips
Makes 4 servings.
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast cut into strips
2 tablespoons butter
In a large plastic bag, combine the first six ingredients. Add
chicken, one half at a time. Shake to coat. In a large skillet,
cook chicken in butter 8-10 minutes or until done.
Serving suggestions:
Over lettuce or salad w/ salsa

Now, I have 30 meals for the month and will be able to take my meals out of the freezer to defrost the night before. It really helps save time and eliminates the process of WHAT to make for dinner every night. The other great thing about this is you can freeze them in sizes that suit your family.

If you have any other questions, please let me know. I am posting this when I am quite tired, so I can look this over and see if I am missing anything when I have more energy!
Have a great night!
Chrissy D


Lorie said...

Wow! That is completely amazing! I'm also a little jealous you don't have to think more than one night ahead about dinner...lucky girl!

Anonymous said...

Hello Lorie!

So I was blog-hopping, checking my friends, friends, friends blogs and I found YOU!!!

What an incredible thing you do with your group! I think that is amazing!

I am so thankful I found you because I am in love with the Oriental Chicken salad from Applebees and never knew what was in it!

Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Wow, that is impressive! When we have a child, that would be a great idea to start! Thanks for the recipes too!

Courtney said...

Ok, so do you actually COOK everything there or do you just assemble it all and freeze it for a later date. and, YES I want the recipes!

bsgstamps4fun: Barb Gault said...

What a terrific idea! You gals are amazing! What organization, I am impressed!

Anonymous said...

That is awesome. I wish I was that organized. That is amazing!

Teresa Kline aka va.sunshine said...

wow, my girl friends and I have done this before, but never at this level....thats alot of's a great time though..looks like you guys had lots of fun! hugs *~*

Dani said...

Wow! Very cool. I want to do this but I can never seem to be organized enough. I even have a cookbook that is just for freezer meals! Sigh. Someday! :)

Melisa said...

Chris! Thank's for sharing about our cooking with your blog readers! I'm one of the gals who cook and we've been cooking for 4 years now and I'd be lost without it (well, not really, but we'd eat a lot of the same foods). For those that want to do something like this, you just need to find someone else to do it with, that's what we did. After 4 years, we've definitely got a good system down and Chris caught on really quickly even though it was her first time cooking with us. Oh, I also wanted to recommend this book that we used as a guide the first two times:

Melisa said...

Oops, the link did not show. Here's the info:

Once-A-Month Cooking: A Proven System for Spending Less Time in the Kitchen and Enjoying Delicious, Homemade Meals Everyday (Paperback)
by Mary Beth Lagerborg (Author), Mimi Wilson (Author)

Jami {sgtStamper} said...

What an absolutely fabulous idea... the thought of spending a day cooking and hanging out with friends, and then to not have to cook the rest of the month sounds so nice!!!
hugs, Jami

wendy Groszkiewicz said...

This is just amazing! Wow! I may have to try this someday...if I can get any of my friends to join me! It must be a lot of work to organize, though. Do you use the book, or have you guys devised a system of your own over the years?

LORI said...

Chrissy- You are a genius!! Too bad I don't live near you!!

Melisa said...

We started using the book, the first two times we did. But then we ditched the book and found our own recipes. Some tried and true family favorites, some from searching. It's been 4 years and it's taken us this long to become as organized as we are! I'm excited that Chris is cooking with us, she has mentioned many recipes that we can try out!!
Melisa :)

Cheryl Lynn Hirzel said...

This idea totally intriges me! With the new year coming in - I think I'll jump into in January...perhaps a a two week trial to use up some of the stuff in the freezer and make room for the dinners in there. I see how this would also help to stay on a fat and calorie conscious plan. But please share all the recipes!