Our first cooking club event was held a couple of Fridays ago. We had a total of four ladies get together and prepare meals to take home. It was a great success and a really fun and relaxing evening!
After everyone had RSVP’d, I divided up the grocery list according to price. Each person brought about $20 worth of groceries, and also brought their own meat. After purchasing the meat, I ended up making 5 entrees for $45. Most of the entrees will also have enough leftovers for another full meal for my family. It should actually amount to 8 or 9 meals for my family of two adults, a 4-year-old, and a 2-year old. That’s at least a week’s worth of dinners! Making dinners with friends was a little more reasonable since we were able to share ingredients with the group (we are always using just a small amount of some ingredients, then we have to throw them out after they go bad over time), and a lot more reasonable and more healthy than going out to eat because we don’t have anything to eat. As long as we keep these prepare-ahead meals in the freezer, we will not run into these problems anymore.
We made Rachael Ray’s Chinese Orange Barbecue Cashew Chicken, Chicken Fiesta Soup, Tortellini Vegetable Bake, Chili Wagon Wheel Casserole, and Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops. I’ve heard from all of the ladies and everyone has been enjoying their dinners. I have still only made one (the pork chops). I better catch up! We all decided we want to do it again soon and I am in the process of planning the next one. It’s so nice knowing that there are 5 meals plus leftovers in the freezer.
We are so lucky to have a friend that has access to a banquet hall and are so appreciative that she allows us to use the space. It is so nice to have a place to do our cooking with the ability to spread out so we’re not bumping into each other and no one has to worry about cleaning their house for entertaining. Three of the recipes required cooking at the facility, and two of them were simply combining all of the ingredients in a freezer bag to put in a crockpot later. I learned that two recipes requiring cooking at the facility is about all I think we can handle with the amount of time us busy moms can spend away from our families. I think we will continue to do a maximum of 2 recipes that require cooking before freezing and have more recipes that are simply combining the ingredients for later.
We had a few accidents, but nothing that ruined the evening. I’m so relieved that everyone in attendance was really relaxed about the whole event. With it being the first one, I knew it wouldn’t be perfect. I forgot a couple of ingredients: hot sauce for the stir-fry sauce and butter for the parmesan sauce that tops the pork chops. It was getting late, so everyone decided to make their pork chops at home since everyone had butter at home. When it came to the hot sauce, we all decided that with kids it might be better to add it at home anyway. Near the end of the night, one of the bags of tortilla soup began to tip over. It was open so that an extra ingredient could be added. The owner of the soup turned her back to it for a few seconds when it began to tip. We were able to catch it in time before all of it was lost. It looks a lot worse than it actually was, at the most only half a cup was lost, so we still all went home with full meals. I brought bowls for holding the bags up and open while we added ingredients, but they all were not the correct size. I will have to get with the ladies and see if they can save empty coffee cans, etc. for next time!
Four was a great number of ladies to have at this type of cooking club. I think we can accomodate just a couple more comfortably. I can’t wait to see if we have a few more in attendance next time.
This was so much more fun than preparing the meals all by myself. We had a great time chatting, listening to music, and cooking together. I hope you will give it a try and organize a cooking club with some of your friends! I’d love to hear about your cooking club experience.