11/24/2007 4:38:13 PM
Maximizing Your Efforts
Maximizing Your Efforts
Do you want to maximize your effort in the kitchen and practice hospitality? How about simplifying your life while saving time and money? Freezer cooking can do all of this.
There are various ways to accomplish filling your freezer with tasty, healthy, family friendly meals. Preparing freezer meals does not have to be done on a huge scale. You can prepare one recipe or 10 recipes at a time. I am going to share my TEAM COOKING APPROACH of meal preparation and ways to maximize your efforts and multiply your ministry. Be careful, you may become addicted too.
I have a small cooking group of two friends and myself. A few weeks before our ‘TEAM COOK DAY’, I pick the recipes and e-mail the strategy form to my friends. This strategy form becomes our menu and gives basic information about each recipe; like how many people it serves, what meats to use, how to prepare the meat, and what containers to bring (Ziploc bags or pans). My team e-mails me back the form. Once it is filled in with the number of meals each lady wants of each recipe. I add up the total number of meals and compile a shopping list. Actually, MasterCook® does it for me. My girlfriends take the shopping list and search the grocery adds for sales and compare bulk prices for the best deals. Normally, each of us shops for and prepares our own meat. If Saturday is our cook day then shopping, chopping, shredding, and meat preparation is done on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday we meet at my house around 8am and assemble meals until we finish around 4:30pm.
Typically, our menu consists of 9-11 different recipes and we will assemble 60-90 meals. Team cook days happen every 2-4 months. We enjoy sharing the preparation and various responsibilities. A ‘team cook day’ makes for a fun, but intense weekend. The freedom and flexibility this method of cooking gives us keeps us hooked.
Maximize Your Efforts:
Put others to work for you. Your local butcher will tenderize and cut up your meat for you. Often they need advance notice, usually a few hours is sufficient. Rarely when buying meat in bulk will they charge for these services.
Put your computer to work for you. I use MasterCook® to organize my recipes, plan my menu, and make my shopping list.
Simplify meal planning. A freezer full of meals and a simple list to remind you what you have is all you need to plan a week’s menu in a few minutes.
Work smarter. In twice the time it takes to make one lasagna, you can assemble five. A little bit more time in assembly can save you a lot of time later.
Wash once. Preparing many meals from one use of the pans saves time. Our stuffed pork chops with sweet potatoes and cinnamon apples takes numerous pots, pans, and cutting boards to prepare. Getting several meals and only having to clean up once is a celebrated benefit of freezer cooking. I love maximizing my time this way.
Buy in bulk. Bulk prices are usually less per serving than buying in smaller quantities. Usually, buying in bulk will cut down shopping time, because you will not have to shop as often.
Trade a meal. Consider trading meals for services: babysitting, housecleaning, haircuts, etc. A few times I made a little income by selling meals. One word of caution: don’t undercharge. Freezer meals are valuable and so is your time.
Multiply Your Ministry:
Share a meal. Hospitality is simplified when the main dish is in the freezer. Occasionally, I will pull out a frozen side dish and dessert too. When the meal is made ahead of time, you can focus your efforts on preparing your family, your home, and your table to be welcoming for guests.
Give a meal. Be the first one to take a meal to a new mom. Bringing a meal to a new neighbor can open up doors for the gospel. With freezer meals you can easily care for people in crisis by meeting their tangible need for food.
Enjoy unexpected guests. With quick to thaw, and easy to serve meal options it is a joy to have people in our home, even unexpected ones. My Grandma taught me by example that no one should leave your house without being offered something to eat and drink. When my freezer’s stocked, it is possible even on short notice. You can offer dinner or simply a cookie to go with a cup of tea.
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Thanks for the great picture Shaun!