Sunday, January 24, 2016

The one with round two.

This post will be about the second round of meal prep.
Prepare each recipe in stations by laying out the dry ingredients and the bags or containers they will go in along with a recipe. 
First I want to explain a little about the selection of these meals. As I am looking through pintrest posts, other blogs, and several cookbooks I am keeping in mind the taste of the members in the group. This can be very tricky when you are prepping for  18 people that range in ages from 5 to 40. Fortunately we have all decided that lower carb/ gluten free main meals that can have sides added to please the littles in the group work best for us.
I invested in several large pots, giant cookie sheets, and large mixing bowls to help when I cater an event and they really come in handy for this.  You will also want to have freezer bags and 12x10 containers on hand-- and a Sharpie or something to write on the bags and foil.
Here is the menu, recipes, and review for this round:
Salisbury Meatballs: we repeated these from round one because they are so good. Round 1 link
Lemon-garlic Chicken : This is a dump recipe, so the prep is really easy. I served this with a cheap boxed pasta for the kids and for DH and I, sauteed some spinach and garlic and then added a few goat cheese medallions.
Pork Carnitas:
I did not use Boston Butt.  I picked up a pork tenderloin for each family at Sams.  We then mixed the seasonings on the pork and mixed the onion and garlic in the bag too. And that is how we froze it. When we went to Crock pot cook it we all kinda did different things. I did 1/2 cup tequila, 1/2 cup lime juice, and 1/2 cup water. It was good. We had so much left that I mixed all the rest with barbeque sauce and served it on buns the next night. They liked it with the bbq better than as a mexican dish. So one friend cooked hers with bbq to start with and her family really liked it. I feel like the seasoning is good- but do something interesting for the liquid. Try beer, balsamic, something with some flavor. When cooking in a crock pot your flavors should always start out on the stronger side.
extra step if you want to: Once the meat was done I shredded it and placed it on a cookie sheet. I spooned some liquid on it, and broiled it for 5 minutes or so.  It crisped up some of the ends and caramelized some of the onion pieces.

Coconut-Thai Chicken:

I doubled this recipe-- which made it a little tricky to divide between 4 freezer bags.

You will add a can and a half of coconut milk to each bag, then add the amount shown plus half to each bag of the following ingredients: sriracha, pesto, cilantro, soy sauce.
We used boneless skinless chicken thighs for this dish. I think there was about 10-12 per bag.  We divided the fish sauce in little ramekins. You do not add this until the last 15 min of cooking.
Serve with rice, thai noodles, or in lettuce wraps for a lower carb option.

Chicken-Broccoli Casserole: Make 4 12x10s
12 lbs chicken breast cut into chunks
 1⁄ cup (1 stick) butter
 2 pound fresh white mushrooms
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup flax meal and 1/2 cup flour to reduce the carbs)
2 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
 2 tablespoon curry powder (next time I am reducing this to 1 tbs and adding in some garlic powder)
 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
 4 cups water
 8 cups milk
4 tablespoons lemon juice
6 bags of frozen broccoli pieces
8 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (3lbs)

To prepare the casserole: saute the chicken in some olive oil or extra butter. I salt and pepper them too. Then divide it evenly among the dishes. divide the broccoli pieces in the dishes. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan or dutch oven.  once they have softened add the flour to make a roux. add in the bouillon granules, curry powder, and pepper.  Slowly mix in the milk and water. Once the sauce has thickened and is well mixed, stir in the lemon juice. Pour this evenly over the dishes. Top them with 2 cups cheese. Cover them well and freeze.
To serve: Defrost the casserole. Uncover and place in a 350 degree oven for 45 min to an hour.

I altered the recipe found in:
Neville, Kati; Lindsay Tkacsik (2010-09-15). Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family (p. 22). Storey Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

The total for each family this week was $67.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The one with all the freezer meal excitement.

During the Winter Break, some of my girls and I decided to have a marathon meal prep of freezer meals. I went online and grabbed some meals. We went an bought A LOT of meat and set out to prepare our meals. It took about three and half hours all together- which is not bad for our first time. I was skeptical about a few, but I should not have been. All of them were  FAB!!! I am not the only one saying so. The men and kids were so happy, we decided to do a round 2- and try some more recipes.  The group of reviews consists of 4 adult men, 4 adult women, 2 teenage boys, 4 preteen boys, 2 tween girl, and 2 younger boys.   : )
Here is a list of the Round 1 recipes. I will provide links to the ones I got online, and will share the alterations I made to them.
We started by boiling water and what seemed like a million chicken breast in two giant stock pots. I seasoned them with several bay leaves, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, and onion. I let them boil while we prepped the meatballs. Then we just shredded the whole bunch and used it in the 2 chicken recipes.  The meatball recipe is same for both. I only used 1/3 the amount of bread crumbs and the rest I used parmesan cheese (because a few of us are watching our carbs, and that's how my Momma does it  :)).
Here is Mom's recipe- (the one in the book is basically the the same  except it was 5 times the amounts and it did not include the parmesan)
  • 1 lbs. ground beef
  • 1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp.pepper
  • 1/2 c. parmesan. cheese
We made up the meat in big bowls and used ice cream scoops to portion out the meat. We cooked batches of like 30-40 meatballs in the oven on broil for 10-12 minutes.
Both Sauce recipes came from the book:
Neville, Kati; Lindsay Tkacsik (2010-09-15). Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family (p. 90). Storey Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.
Salisbury Meatballs-  The sauce is:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
11⁄2 pounds fresh white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup all-purpose flour
8 cups water
4 cups half-and-half (or light cream)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules (I could not find these so I used beef bullion cubes and crumbled them)
11⁄2 teaspoons black pepper
Meatballs in Marinara We used the Big batch tomato sauce found in the recipe book, but it left my husband underwhelmed.  So, I will be working on a better homemade sauce. But, you could easily use a store bought and alter it a little. We always add sugar, basil, onion powder and granulated garlic.
For both recipes I let the gallon sized bags defrost overnight and then let them cook on low in a crockpot most of the day.

Chicken Tortilla Soup  We increased the amounts by 4.  It was FULL of chicken and very yummy. we added a little more chicken broth than in the recipe.
Ranch Pork Chops   Increased by 4. Really tender pork. Great crock pot meal. I think I may add some carrots next time.
Chicken Tetrazzini  I increased all amounts by 4. This left us with 3 8x8s and 3 12x10s, all full to the brim. It was SOOOOO good. Rave reviews from the kids.

Each family paid 68$ for 5 meals. Some meals even stretched into 2 or at least a leftover or two.

We are making round 2 later today. I will take pictures this time, and blog about the results next weekend.