Friday, March 20, 2009

30 meals in a day

My sister, Sara, and I decided it would be worthwhile to have a marathon cooking session and make 30 freezer meals in one day. Her friend Jeni has done this a couple of times and has this neato computer program with menus, recipes, and it even calculates your shopping list for you. Jeni let us use the software and we made our menu, each did our shopping and met at my Mom's for a day of cooking. (We also had 5 kids under 8 in tow and Sara is 8 months pregnant)
At first it was a little intimidating as the kitchen was covered with food, pots, pans, kids, etc. But once we got started and got a few meals done we were on a roll. We started at about 10am and worked all day finishing the last meals and washing the dishes at about 5:30pm. We actually cooked about 15 meals each but since most serve 8 we split them in two ending with 30 meals each.
It was a long day. We had a few mishaps like when I suggested we boil all the pasta and then AFTER cooking read the recipe which said DO NOT BOIL THE MANICOTTI. And then there was the stock pot full of Mexican chicken sauce that spilled all over me. But, we had tons of laughs and a great day. We were exhausted by the end. But, its nice to know that the freezer is stocked with dinner for about a month!

My Dad was nervous as he watched us invade and proceed to destroy my Mom's kitchen. Thankfully, she was at work and we finished and cleaned before she made it home! All the work was worth it and I ended up spending LESS on those 30 meals than I usually spend on 13-15 meals! Woo-Hoo, I'm all about saving money!

I think we will defintely do it again. We've already got plans for improving our strategy. #1 on that list - read the recipes. Always a good idea, no?
All this leads me to a question for you! What money saving food tips, ideas, or recipes do you have? I need to know b/c apparently the word has gotten out a church about our cooking day and now I've been asked to teach a class on cooking healthy foods on a budget! What?! Word obviously spreads fast, we only did this on Tuesday! I haven't even been to church since Sunday. Anyway, any knowledge that you will share with me would be greatly, truly appreciated. Thanks! Love you all!


Are You Being Messerved said...

I know for me and Joe the easiest and cheapest thing to make that lasts is Mom's Skillet Dinner. It does last the two of us about a week. If I ever get a bigger iron skillet I'll make a bigger batch so it could really last a while! I wish I could have been there it sounds like fun! Love you guys and see you soon!!

The Archibald Family said...

You forgot to mention the big pot of rice and how we felt like lunchroom ladies!

Living on the Spit said...

I could live off southern chicken rice and and I only use maybe two chicken breasts for an army.

Okay, so the Emininem on your playlist has peeked my interest...never in a million years would I have expected that!!!

Alicia said...

Once we move back, I wanna come next time you girls cook that many meals in one day. What a way to stretch the college student budget!!!

Miss Jennifer said...

Hi! I grabbed your link off our "Aunt Mama Hen's" (Wendy)blog. You have to tell me about this software. What is it called? Having a month of meals ready made is definitely up my alley. Thanks!

Miss Jennifer said...

Oh, P.S. - my e-mail is in case you may want to send me that bit of info via e-mail.

P.S. again - I so heart your playlist.

The Simon Fam said...

Hi Jennie,
You don't know me, but "Elder" Vaughn and I served together in Idaho. I was reading your blog and had to laugh because I was asked to give the same lesson for Enrichment! My biggest rule of thumb is not to spend more then $1.00 per person per meal. It's usually more like 70 cents per person. We have a family of four, and I usually spend $3-8 for a meal that'll last at least 2 dinners. The only way I can do that is to really bargain shop and use coupons, promo codes, price match, ect. It's almost like a job in itsself, but I get "paid" by saving money on food. Utah has such cheap prices still on food that we're really lucky. We can still get boneless/skinless chicken breasts for $1.49 lb. and a gallon of milk for that much too! I LOVE your idea of 30 meals in a day, and would love some recipes if you have the time. My email is: Your family is beautiful!