Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Our Title

More people have visited our blog out of curiosity about what a Freezer Meal Club involves.  I just wanted to make sure everyone realizes that our blog name- Gourmet Freezer Cooking started out as a joke.  I wanted us to blog our best recipes and share our experiences.  I needed to name the group and this is what I came up with:)

Some people have asked what type of ages, etc. we are to figure out if this would work for their family.

The original 4 members are made up of women in our thirties who have children who range from 6 months to 15 years old.  Christa, (my twin sister) has the largest family with an 8 month old, 2- 11 year olds, a 13 and 15 year old. .  My kids (Corrin)  are 6 months, 4 years, and 5 years old.  Jessica's kids are 3 and 1, and Tracey has a 1 year old.  Since Christa's family is large, we prepare her meals normal size.  For some of us with smaller kids, members prepare the portions in smaller sizes (you still take home the same amount) for ease of cooking. 

Those of us who are stay at home moms all had professional jobs in the past.  We enjoy being stay at home moms, but get bored by the same old meals over and over.  A few of us tried professional companies that had a similar idea.  We really liked the concept but found they were much more expensive and too far to drive for it to be worth it.  Our group has now grown to 10 women and we have decided to set that as a maximum.  We will each contribute one recipe for next month's exchange. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Freezer meals people liked from past to make again.

We took a survey to see which meals so far people have liked enough to make again. Here they are:

Creamy Italian Chicken
Tex- Mex Lasagna
Tracey's Lasagna
Jessica's Lasagna
Swiss roast sandwiches
Pulled pork sandwiches
Spaghetti Meatballs
Chicken Enchiladas
Breakfast Tacos

Questions people have about a Freezer Meal Club

Question:  What is a freezer meal club?

When a group of people get together, come up with rules and norms, set a date each month, discuss types of meals and then meet to swap meals.

What type of people would most be suited for this type of group?

People whose families tend to be pretty laid back and are not picky eaters.  People who like variety and enjoy trying different types of meals.  People who make one dinner one night that is "to die for" and maybe the next meal is "pretty good" and are not disappointed.  They are not mad. They realize that all members try to find recipes that are yummy, healthy, and easy to prepare.

Who would not be a good fit?

People who are picky eaters.  People who would get mad if every meal was not perfect.

Are the meals healthy?

We set the rules that the meals vary.  We left with 12 meals today.  Some are more healthy than others.  Just like our families.  They vary.  We don't want 12 of the most fattening meals, but then again this is not a diet meal club.  Common sense prevails.

Are these meals ones that a lot of time has to be spent making them at night?

No, ideally everything is made so that you can pop it into the oven in the evening or you can put it in the slow cooker on low for several hours.

Can you give me an example of a typical meal?

Sure.  I made taco soup as one of my 2 meals this month.  I needed to prepare 6 servings.  I found the recipe on a website called Six Sisters Stuff.  I followed the recipe mostly (I added a packet of dry ranch dressing)


1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey tastes so good in this recipe too!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package mild taco seasoning mix
1 16 oz can corn (undrained)
1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (you could use kidney beans or pinto beans)
1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 4 oz can diced green chilis
corn chips
 Other taco toppings you like (cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc)
Brown meat and onion, drain.
Stir in taco seasoning, corn, black beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and green chilis. Simmer on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve with tortilla chips and your favorite toppings.

At the store I bought 6 lbs ground beef, 6 medium onions, etc....I doubled each batch, so that I made 3 batches and divided it into 6 gallon size plastic bags.  The meat was cooked and I just added the rest of the ingredients...I did not simmer the ingredients because I knew my freezer club members would reheat the frozen concoction in a crock pot on low for a few hours.

For the exchange, everyone took home 1 ziplock bag of taco soup, 1 bag of corn chips, a small baggie of cheese (for a topping)...they also took home a bean dip because HEB had a coupon that if you bought a bag of corn chips, you got bean dip for free...in Louisiana we call that Lagniappe!

Do people have to spend all day cooking?

Ideally we want to save time, not cause more work.  Try and pick recipes that are not high intense preparation. 

What about likes/dislikes/ how do you make sure you don't end up with 12 chicken meals?

We have a facebook thread where we throw out our ideas of what we want to make....are they set in stone, no...just an idea.  I mentioned my husband doesn't like pork, but I do...so to have one meal with pork would be fine, 12 meals, not soo much...We are respectful about price and ingredients.  We try and make it fair.  We don't want one person bringing a really nice dish and another bringing something that cost 2.00 to make total.  We add sides when appropriate. 

Any other advice?

Yes, be picky on who you let in your group.  Make sure you know them or someone in the group knows them.  You want to make sure they are clean.  You don't want someone high maintenance who can't roll with the punches...Have fun....don't stress....everyone gets that things come up and if  you planned on separating your meals into these perfect little containers, but time runs out and you can't, it is ok.  If someone flakes out and just doesn't show up, then politely convey the message, that this is not the group for them...you can still be friends, no hard feelings:)

Third Successful SWAP!!!

Today we completed our 3rd successful swap.  We (6 girls) met, exchanged meals, and went home with:

- Tex Mex Lasagna
- Beef Stroganoff
- Creamy Italian Chicken
- Crawfish fettuccini
- Chicken Tenders
- Calzones
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Taco Soup
- Poppy Seed Chicken
- French Dip Sandwiches
- King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Sausage breakfast English muffins