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mindybean 07-30-2007 09:34 AM

OAMC / Bi-Weekly Cooking
 
During the school year some of my neighbors and I (6 of us) had an entree exchange where we met once a month, made freezer meals at home that we took to our gatherings and we exchanged them. We each ended up with 6 freezer meals for the month. We stopped doing this for the summer, I'm not sure if we'll start again next month or not. I keep thinking I need to start doing some OAMC for myself. I am bad about putting it off since I don't have a set date to have it done by. I think I'm going to set a date w/ myself & go shopping and at least prepare & freeze enough for 2 weeks. I really loved having meals in the freezer during the school year and I missed not having them handy this summer. School starts again in 16 days and I know it's going to be hectic.

If you have any favorite freezer recipes that are easy to prepare and don't have too many ingredients I'd love it if you could share them with me.

Now, I just need to make my menu & shopping list and get busy.

DeBora4BobbyL 07-30-2007 10:13 AM

Mindy, it is difficult for me to tell you what to do since I am the opposite of a procrastinater. lol

I have found that by planning ahead, I save a TON of time! You can take, most casseroles, and triple them. Then, get some extra casserole dishes or tin throw-away casserole dishes, and pour the 2/3rds in them. Freeze them. Then, on busy days or days when I don't want to cook, I pull them out and throw them in the oven until they are hot and bubbly. You only messy 1 time, but get 3 meals! But, it is just a suggestion.

Now that I live in an RV during school times, I cannot do what I want

DeBora4BobbyL 07-30-2007 10:13 AM

Mindy, it is difficult for me to tell you what to do since I am the opposite of a procrastinater. lol

I have found that by planning ahead, I save a TON of time! You can take, most casseroles, and triple them. Then, get some extra casserole dishes or tin throw-away casserole dishes, and pour the 2/3rds in them. Freeze them. Then, on busy days or days when I don't want to cook, I pull them out and throw them in the oven until they are hot and bubbly. You only messy 1 time, but get 3 meals! But, it is just a suggestion.

Now that I live in an RV during school times, I cannot do what I want to do because of my small oven and stove.

mindybean 07-31-2007 01:25 PM

Well, I made a small start. When I made dinner last night I prepared 2 chicken sopa's and froze one of them. Yeah! Only 29 more meals & I'll have enough for a month!

ajrsmom 07-31-2007 02:01 PM

Mindy, Did you always like what the other people had made for you?

That was always one thing that I was afraid of with joining a group like that.

Why couldn't we start our own group?

We could come up with vague catagories.

For example:

If we made 18 meals

3 could be chicken

3 could be meatless

3 soup

3 beef or pork....

Of course, we would do it all on the honor system but it might be fun to see who could stick to it and the different recipes that everyone uses.

Just an idea.

Tami

mindybean 07-31-2007 06:36 PM

Tami, do you mean we'd make them for ourselves & share what recipes we made or are you thinking actually trying to send them to each other? That would be neat but not sure how that would work. Let me know, it's late & I might not be thinking clearly right now. By the end of the day my brain doesn't really function at full capacity! lol

mindybean 07-31-2007 06:40 PM

Tami, sorry I didn't answer one of your q's. I did get a few meals that my family didn't enjoy but that was mostly because I have picky eaters. My dh won't eat veggies & my kids aren't crazy about mixed veggies. I got a beef stew & a chicken pot pie that had mixed veggies in them so I just passed those on to my parents.

Toward the end we had some people who didn't supply the recipes which was one of the main reasons we did the exchange. We were trying to broaden our "go to" recipes in addition to having a few meals in the freezer.

ajrsmom 07-31-2007 06:43 PM

I meant that we would cook for our own families but if we "pledge" to do it, then maybe it would motivate us to actually stick to the plan. ;)

Just a thought......

I'm making Granola right now. :)

Miss R 07-31-2007 07:40 PM

I'd be willing to join in! Although I live alone now, my grandchildren are here often, and it would be nice if I'd once again cook ahead and make my life a bit easier! Of course, it'd be nice to come home after school and heat up something already prepared than buying those frozen things I've been getting lately, too! Shame on me!

ajrsmom...care to share your granola recipe? I had one, and can't find it--but I know it's here! I love homemade granola of all sorts! Thanks!

ajrsmom 07-31-2007 08:09 PM

My Granola recipe is actually a recipe for Granola (Oatmeal) bars. I made the bars last time but this time I dumped it out on a cookie sheet and just baked it. It is sooo good! ( and I shouldn't be eating it since I am low-carbing but I made it for my kids to take to the movies tomorrow for a snack ...and then snuck a couple of bites of it! ;))

The original recipe:

Apricot Oatmeal bars

3/4C. butter

soft butter or non-stick spray
to spray foil

1C. firmly packed dried apricots

1 1/2 C. old-fashioned rolled oats

1C. all-purpose flour

1C. firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon (I used a lot more)

1 1/2 tps. vanilla extract

********

My recipe substitutes:

raisins for apricots, ( I added more too--just eyeballed it)

light brown sugar for dark brown sugar

I was out of cinnamon so I used Pumpkin Pie spice this time. Both are very good!

**********

1. Melt butter and set aside to cool

2. Preheat oven to 350*. Line bottom and sides of 9x9 dish with foil. Lightly grease foil with extra butter or spray.

If using apricots, snip in 1/2 in. pieces.

3. In bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.

4. Add apricots (or raisins...etc), melted butter and vanilla. Stir well until blended. The dough will be moist and crumbly. Dump the dough into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough into the pan with your fingers.

5. Bake until the top is golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

6. When cool, lift foil to work surface. Peel away foil and cut into rectangles.

Makes 18 bars. Store in airtight container.


For my Granola tonight, I dumped the mix onto a foil lined cookie sheet and baked for approx 30 minutes. Stir it about 20 minutes through. :)

This would be great with yogurt.


Would you share your granola recipes, too?

I will probably split these tomorrow into a seperate thread for granola recipes so that we don't take over the original topic. ;) I'll add the link when I do.

Miss R 08-01-2007 03:10 AM

Oh, this sounds wonderful! Thank you so much! I will find my recipes and post them in the new thread when you get it going, but it won't be today probably. I have a couple of devotionals I need to get written today. I finished one up last night and sent it off to the publisher this morn, now have another to do for my online newsletter, and another article to get done for a friend's website! Sooo...not much chance today unless I get myself in gear here. Thanks for sharing!

mindybean 08-01-2007 06:38 AM

Okay, now I'm awake & it makes perfect sense! lol

I'm game for this. We can decide on the categories & then everyone can share their recipes. After we've eaten the meal we can also share our reviews of the meal (how did it freeze, any adjustments to make the next time, was it worth making again, etc.).

What types of soups do you like to make to freeze? I've made chili, white chili, & cuban black bean soup. They all froze really well. I'm not sure if I'd make 3 soups in one cooking session just because we don't eat a lot of soup. It would be nice to have them during the winter though.

When I did the entree exchange we only prepared entrees, it would be great to have some side dishes in the freezer also though. We usually did our categories like this:
chicken
beef
pork
mexican
soup or vegetarian
pasta

Maybe we can add 1 or 2 side dishes to our list of categories.

I like making casseroles & easy to prepare meals (few ingredients, quick prep time). When I made 6 of each thing for the exchange I would set up a little assembly line & it worked great. Sometimes I was able to double or triple the recipe so that I just had to go through the motions 2 or 3 times. One recipe I make is Mexican Cheesy Chicken w/ Rice. I have a huge roaster oven & I was able to make all 6 entrees at once w/ this. It worked great.

Let me know when you want to try this. Sounds like a great idea! I can't wait to get some suggestions & new recipes.

mindybean 08-01-2007 10:22 AM

Does anyone know if it would work if I blanch some fresh green beans, add some bacon bits and use my food saver to bag it if it would freeze okay? Then I would only have to thaw, add some butter & cook them. Let me know what you think. Thanks!

barbszy 08-01-2007 02:55 PM

Sounds to me like it would work fine.

mindybean 08-01-2007 04:55 PM

Barb, thanks for the reply. My Dad keeps getting beans from a friend and I want to take some but I don't want them to go to waste. I'll have to let Mom know I want some to freeze.

mindybean 08-01-2007 05:15 PM

Oh, I made 2 more casseroles tonight. One was a tator tot casserole & the other was a cheesy potato hamburger casserole. I think I'm making the tator tot cass tomorrow so it isn't going to last long but at least it's made. I was going to make it for dinner tonight but time slipped away from me so we ended up having manwich. I browned 3 lbs of gr beef, used one in the manwich & I used the other 2 in the casseroles for the freezer. They're both easy casseroles to throw together so it didn't take much time. That's the type of freezer meal I like to make.

RobertaD 08-02-2007 04:09 AM

I double chili when I make it to have some to put in the freezer. I liked having raw meatloaf mix in the freezer to thaw and bake fresh.

Roberta

mindybean 08-02-2007 07:55 AM

I like to double the meatloaf recipe so that I can stick 2 in the freezer w/out any extra work. I'm waiting to go to Costco this weekend to get more gr. beef.

I need to search for some good chicken recipes since that's the only type of meat I have in the freezer right now. I might stick some in a ziploc bag w/ marinade and take it when we go camping the next time.

Joy 08-02-2007 02:50 PM

My sister and were just talking last night. She said she has a place where she lives (CO) where you can pay so many $ and go one evening a month and prepare 8 meals. they provide everything you need including the meat. If you were really pressed for time they could make the meals for for and extra charge. I am not sure of the pricing, but she thought it was about as much as a week of groveries would cost her.
I use to do OAMC, but lately I seem to be having a hard time to find enough time to do that. I know it sure easier if I can have a couple a meals a week made ahead.

mindybean 08-02-2007 03:14 PM

We have a place called Supper Thyme where you can pay and go prepare the meals. They do the grocery shopping & prep all the ingredients. My friend & I want to go try it sometime but I know this one is more expensive than it would be for me to buy my own groceries. It would be nice not to have to wash & chop everything though.

RobertaD 08-03-2007 02:37 AM

There is a place about 30 miles from me that also does that where you and a group of friends can come make a bunch of food and take it home.

One of the mom's at dd2's summer school was talking about wanting to get together with some friends and going.

Roberta

MKS 08-06-2007 06:14 AM

How about posting the cheesy Mexican chicken & rice recipe?
And here is a basic question.....If you are making two of a casserole, do you bake the one that is to go in the freezer?

mindybean 08-06-2007 06:23 AM

With most of the things I freeze I don't bake them first. If it's an dish that calls for cooked pasta or cooked rice I cook it for 1/2 of the normal time so that it doesn't get mushy. There are some things that I do cook before freezing - soups, quesedilla filling, some skillet type meals that you actually cook while you're preparing them.

I need to find the recipe for the Cheesy Mexican Chicken & Rice. I just dump stuff in usually, but I did a recipe for my entree exchange so I'll find it and post it soon.

mindybean 08-06-2007 08:55 AM

I lost my previous recipe somehow so I re-typed it. This really is an easy recipe, anything you like can be added. I sometimes make it w/out the rice (omit rice & water) when I use it for tortilla filling if I don't want all the extra carbs.

Cheesy Mexican Chicken & Rice

4 chicken breasts – cooked & diced or shredded
1 jar salsa – any type you like
1 small can of chopped green chiles
2 c Mexican blend cheese (w/out taco seasoning)
1 envelope taco seasoning (it’s great w/out the taco seasoning also)
½ - 1 T cumin
1 c Minute Rice, uncooked
1 c water

Add all ingredients except rice & 1 c cheese to a large pan (I use my chicken fryer – a large skillet w/ sides) and bring to a boil. Add rice, simmer until cooked. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top & heat until cheese melts.
Note: This is great eaten alone, w/ tortilla chips, or served on tortilla shells.
To freeze – Undercook rice, cool & put in freezer Ziploc bag (I double bag everything), remove all air & freeze flat. To reheat, thaw overnight in fridge or in microwave & heat on stovetop or in microwave.

mindybean 08-06-2007 09:04 AM

Me again...I found this website this morning. Deborah (”Debi”) Taylor-Hough, who wrote the book "Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat For a Month", made this website. She has some of her freezer recipes on it. I think I'm going to buy her book the next time I'm at Barnes & Noble. I have a 15% off coupon right now so maybe I'll make it there before it expires.

http://frozenassets.wordpress.com/

MKS 08-07-2007 06:14 AM

Thanks Mindybean, that makes sense about what to pre cook & not. The recipe looks good too. I might have to try it....except I'm out of green chilis.

Catwoman 01-01-2008 11:44 AM

Hey ladies... I am not an OAMC-er, but I do like to prepare things ahead when I can because I love the time it saves. I am trying to be more ambitious with it now that I have taken a new job, and with a hubby in school and two boys in school and doing stuff, I need to save all the time I can. Today I am cooking 3 lbs of ground beef- 2 lbs is for meatballs and one lb will be cooked with a little garlic and other seasonings, to be used in enchiladas.

Someone above asked for chicken recipes- I have some! These are from my SIL- she has an OAMC cookbook that's got some really good stuff in it. I honestly can't remember the name or author, but next time I talk to her, I'll see if I can get it.

Anyhow, I have tried all these recipes, and they are all good! I buy a 3-to-4 pound bag of boneless frozen chicken and divide it up into 3 portions. One portion I'll grill on my Foreman and freeze, then the other two I'll prepare in one of these ways.

*Fragrant Sticky Chicken*
serves 4- can triple to serve 12
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp grated ginger
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup honey

Combine soy, broth, ginger, garlic. Mix wekk and add the chicken. Cover and marinate 1-2 hours in the fridge. Pack chicken and marinade into a zipper-lock freezer bag and freeze.

To cook: Thaw freezer bag in fridge overnight. Heat skillet to medium. Add chicken and marinade and cook 5-8 minutes on one side. Flip the chicken over and add the honey to the pan. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is done and sauce is reduced.

(Catwoman's note: I serve this one with white rice and buttered green beans with almonds. I've also used it in stir-fry and chicken salad sandwiches.)

*Citrus Glazed Chicken*
serves 4- can triple to serve 12
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp dried tarragon

Pleace chicken in zipper freezer bag. Mix remaining ingredients, place in the bag, and freeze.

To cook: Thaw bag in fridge overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, glazing frequently.

(Catwoman's note: I serve this with white rice also, and it goes good on a bed of salad greens with mandarin orange sections.)

*Creamy Bacon Chicken*
serves 4, can be tripled to serve 12
5 slices bacon
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 10-oz jar Alfredo sauce
1 cup grated Havarti cheese

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and drain, reserving drippings in pan. Saute mushrooms in drippings. Place raw chicken in 9x9 baking dish; top with cooked mushrooms. Pour Alfredo sauce over. Cool in fridge. Place bacon in one baggie and cheese in another; label the baggies, and place them in the freezer with the chicken dish.

To cook: Thaw chicken dish overnight in the fridge. Crumble back and sprinkle over all, then sprinkle cheese over all. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is done.

mindybean 01-01-2008 05:42 PM

Those recipes sound good, I'll have to try them. I think I only have two freezer meals left in my freezer. I need to get busy & make some more. I think I'll go pull one out & put it in the fridge for dinner tomorrow night. I do still have two 1 lb packs of browned ground beef in the freezer so I could use that to make something. I'm not sure what staples I have in the pantry to use to make things. Maybe tomorrow I'll make a list of some recipes that I want to make and then I'll shop in my pantry before I make my grocery list.

MKS 01-02-2008 06:53 PM

Catwoman, in the 2nd recipe, is it possible to leave out the tarragon? I don't have any & I don't like to buy a new spice not knowing if I'll like the recipe. What does tarragon taste like?

barbszy 01-03-2008 03:01 AM

I bet that 2nd recipe would be good with thyme instead of tarragon, if you don't have any tarragon.

brehartsell 06-20-2008 04:53 AM

Has anyone done the OAMC lately. I got a cookbook for this but I haven't really been able to try this out b/c we are building a new house and we have been in a camper for the last month or so but I always like to hear about other people doing it. It motivates me.
:flff: B

RobertaD 06-22-2008 03:39 AM

I would love to get into OAMC but the closest I've gotten is buying meat in bulk and dividing it into meal sizes and freezing.

Roberta

brehartsell 06-23-2008 04:09 AM

That is about all that I have done. I have cooked some of the meals out of the cookbook but I haven't frozen any. I just can't seem to cook for a whole day but I know that it would be easier and cheaper in the long run.:flowerddd B

Amanda 06-23-2008 04:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brehartsell
I just can't seem to cook for a whole day but I know that it would be easier and cheaper in the long run.:flowerddd B

I did a cookbook review on Debora Taylor-Hough's book Frozen Assets several years ago.

Here's an excerpt from my review:

"The author knows that not everyone wants to, or can, spend an entire day in the kitchen. That's why she cleverly includes how to cook for a week instead of a month. Less time in the kitchen, yet you'll still reap the benefits of preparing meals ahead of time. "

Check out the review here, you can most likely check out the book from the library or find it cheap on eBay or Amazon in the used books. I still have my copy LOL

DeBora4BobbyL 06-23-2008 07:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brehartsell
That is about all that I have done. I have cooked some of the meals out of the cookbook but I haven't frozen any. I just can't seem to cook for a whole day but I know that it would be easier and cheaper in the long run.:flowerddd B

I have found that cooking a double or triple batch of something and freezing it doesn't take any more time and it doesn't dirty any more dishes than making a single batch. Plus, you've saved time by getting 2 other meals for the future prepared!

Amanda, I like the first name of that author.

barbszy 06-23-2008 12:27 PM

I don't think I could ever do a whole month at a time, just because I ENJOY doing the cooking each evening. However, I do "prep ahead" where possible. I make huge batches (8 to 10 meals' worth) of spaghetti sauce every few months. If I'm making chili, I make enough for 3 meals and freeze 2. Often, roasts or grilled meats are cooked extra so I can have "planned leftovers" which I often freeze.

I own Taylor-Hough's book, and the information in there was very valuable even with the kind of cooking I do. And when we prepare to go away on vacation, I do get the meals semi-prepped and frozen using techniques I learned from this book.

ajrsmom 06-23-2008 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FamilyCorner
I did a cookbook review on Debora Taylor-Hough's book Frozen Assets several years ago.

Here's an excerpt from my review:

"The author knows that not everyone wants to, or can, spend an entire day in the kitchen. That's why she cleverly includes how to cook for a week instead of a month. Less time in the kitchen, yet you'll still reap the benefits of preparing meals ahead of time. "

Check out the review here, you can most likely check out the book from the library or find it cheap on eBay or Amazon in the used books. I still have my copy LOL

This week when I take my kids back to the library to check out more books, I'm going to see if they have this book. Thanks, Amanda :)

Amanda 06-23-2008 04:53 PM

You're welcome Tami. And Barb, I wish I could enjoy cooking, but too many kids saying "I don't like that" takes all the fun out of it, :-P

barbszy 06-24-2008 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FamilyCorner
Barb, I wish I could enjoy cooking, but too many kids saying "I don't like that" takes all the fun out of it, :-P

That's not something I put up with around here :pirattt: And I don't deal well with it when guests are picky. :madcurse: No more mild-mannered Barb when that happens!

Amanda 06-24-2008 07:44 AM

LOL well it's probably not as bad as my post made it sound. My older kids usually eat everything I make. However my daughter refuses to eat any meat except chicken now (she's not quite a vegetarian but definitely won't eat beef) and my younger too are in that stage still of picking at their food and eating little tiny bits. If it weren't for my older ones doing it when they were younger, I would be worried, but I know they eventually grow out of it.


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