Stock The Freezer Party

by HEAB on March 23, 2014

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Not too long ago, a good friend emailed a group of us asking if we’d like to take part in one those stock the freezer parties she’d been reading about on Facebook.  Spending a morning in the kitchen with friends sounded great to me, and the fact that I’d walk away with five delicious meals to feed my family made it sound even better.  The organizer (cannot thank her enough!) asked us for some of our favorite recipes, made a master list, and then did all of the grocery shopping.  Another friend offered to host and secured a babysitter for the kiddos.  I basically showed up and chopped onions…but there were A LOT of onions!

Following are the recipes we made:

Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas (with black beans & corn added to the filling)

Here is how it all went down.  We met at the hostess’s house at 9 AM on a Friday morning.  The organizer got there a few minutes early with all the groceries and detailed print-outs of the recipes.  By the way, she did all the grocery shopping in one night at one grocery store (Kroger).  We corraled the kids upstairs (mine spent the morning at Nonna’s house and on a field trip to the botanical gardens) and then quickly separated the dry goods from what needed to be refrigerated.  We then commenced the food prep.  Honestly, I’m not sure what all was happening while I was chopping.   Because of nap time, we knew we had to be done by 1 PM, and therefore, we had no time to waste.  Everyone pitched in and after the chopping, cutting, and mincing were all done, we all just took charge of one recipe each and then helped one another with keeping an eye on whatever was cooking on the stove-top.  There were six of us, and the total cost for each was $58.00, plus the additional cost of a baby-sitter.

I can’t believe how quickly it all came together and how smooth the entire process went.  The meals beginning to pile up as we got them finished, divided into containers, and labeled with baking times…

The babysitter kept the toddlers entertained upstairs while the tiny ones slept or hung out in Ergo’s.  Thankfully, it was a pretty day, and the older kids were able to eat lunch on the back porch and play a few games outside while we finished up in the kitchen.  The time went by so fast, and we got just about everything done.  We’d hoped to fully cook the chicken meatballs so that we could simply freeze and reheat but ran out of time.  So, we  just sent them home with the prepared roasted tomato sauce and baking instructions.  No biggie.  We also had plans to make oatmeal cookie dough but since it was almost time to go, and we didn’t want to leave the host with a huge mess, one of the girls kindly offered to take the ingredients home, prepare the dough, and bring us each a portion.  Perfect!

What made our party a success:
  • My VERY organized friend.  You really need one individual who can take charge and is good at follow-through.  Bonus if she (or he) is a list maker and enjoys spreadsheets. She went through all of her recipes and those that others submitted and presented us with a great list of easy-to-prepare, freezable, and not to mention delicious meals.  She then went through each recipe and figured out all the ingredients and the amounts needed for five different recipes for six families.  Finally, she did all the grocery shopping…yeah, she’s pretty amazing.  Of course, you could divide up some of these responsiblities, and we hope to next time as it was a lot for one person to do.
  • A great kitchen with some elbow room.  The host has a wonderful open kitchen with a large island, and the extra counter-space was really helpful.  Also, it helped that her dining room table was in view of the kitchen as we organized all of the dry goods there and it was easy to quickly grab whatever groceries we needed next.
  • Good knives – we all brought our favorites.
  • Plenty of good pots & pans – the bigger, the better.  After preparing some of these meals, I realized that my kitchen is lacking.  We make due with what we have, and really, it’s fine, but wow, could I have some fun in Williams-Sonoma!
  • Food processor – made a lot of the chopping much easier.
  • None of us are very picky eaters.  Everyone seemed happy with the recipes as they were, and thankfully, we weren’t dealing with any major food allergies among us.  If you decide to try something like this, just keep that in mind when you are planning the party.  For instance, if your family eats vegetarian, then either do an all vegetarian party or make sure to include recipes that can be made with or without meat.  Also, if there are gluten sensitivities, just make sure all participants are aware.  I think this one is pretty easy to get around with all of the amazing gluten-free products available nowadays, like brown rice pasta, corn tortillas, etc.
  • If you have kids, hire a good babysitter, or hold the party after bedtime as there is no way we could have kept up with all the kids plus gotten all the cooking done.
  • And last but not least, pick a group of people that you know you’ll work well with and make it fun.  We shared stories and laughed all morning.  Makes me wish I could do all my cooking with friends!
 Thus far, we’ve eaten three of the freezer party meals and loved them.  The recipes were mostly new to me (been of fan of that butter roasted tomato sauce for a while now), and I will definitely be making all of them again.

Buffalo Stuffed Chicken

Bow Tie Fiesta Pasta

The above plate was for my kids.  Did they eat it?  Nope, and I’m really starting to wonder about their taste buds because it was delicious.  Anyway, I can’t tell you how nice it has been to have a freezer full of prepared meals.  If I know I’m not going to have time to cook dinner one night during the week, I simply stick a frozen meal in the fridge for a day or two and then follow the reheating instructions. It’s so great, and I can’t wait for our next party!

{ 23 comments }

Sara @ LovingOnTheRun March 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm

This looks like such a great idea! I don’t know if I would be quite organized enough but I know it would be so beneficial during the week to have the meals prepped and ready.

Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine March 23, 2014 at 6:27 pm

That seriously is the cutest idea! What a great way to get your food prep done while hanging out with your friends! Awesome :)

Susan March 23, 2014 at 7:22 pm

What a fun idea! I love it & looks like you had a very successful result! Always so great to see a blog post from you, Heather. Hope you & family are well! Happy Spring!!

Manda March 23, 2014 at 8:04 pm

This is so awesome. I’d really love to do something like this with my girlfriends. In fact, I might just copy all yalls exact meals. :)

lindsay March 23, 2014 at 8:59 pm

can i be your 5th kid? i’d eat that.

Let me guess, they ate cheese, apples, pb, and chocolate instead? that’s what my nieces and nephew eat 24/7

Katie March 23, 2014 at 11:23 pm

I see nothing wrong with that diet. ;)

Lou April 5, 2014 at 1:20 am

Yeah I am a BIG fan of that diet… except the cheese ;)

Katie March 23, 2014 at 11:22 pm

That looks delicious and sounds like so much fun! I bet your organized friend loved it, but I hope she got a couple free, or reduced meals. That sounds like a ton of work.

Perfectly timed post, as a collegue of mine is about to have twin boys. (She’s due today!) and I am bringing them some meals. I just bookmarked the meatball dish and the buffalo chicken. I may have to skim a little off the top for myself. ;)

Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple March 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

What a great idea!

Tracy March 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Hi Heather! Happy Monday :)

$58?? I can’t believe the cost! So awesome! Just wait until you have 4 teens like me. My grocery bill is staggering! You really would not believe. Those boys (and girl) can eat!

The recipes sound great, too! Pinning them for future use at our house!

Happy SPRING :)

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) March 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I LOVE this idea! Cooking made fun! I think it’s funny how our kids eat so strangely when they are young. My kids are amazing eaters now, but dang Jay was a handful when he was younger. He only wanted Burger King chicken…UGH!

Lou April 5, 2014 at 1:23 am

Such a great idea!! Time to hang out with friends, create yummy food, plus it works out so cost-effective…. brilliant. Misty is SUCH a weird eater (takes after ME I guess?!) but I am trying to get him into a more “normal” (whatever that means!) routine. Maybe I am too relaxed around meal times? ;)

Jenni April 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Hi heather, I stumbled upon your site a while back and reading quite a few posts have concluded that we must have similar body types as mine does super well with grains and fats but explodes with fruit!? And to much protein… Just curious what blood type are you? I’m exploring the theory of blood types ;)
Thanks!

HEAB April 9, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Hey Jenni,
I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. I’m A positive. ;)

Jenni April 9, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Aha! So am I ;) interesting… Have you ever looked into Dr. D’adamos theory? I don’t know wexactly what to think yet … Cheers!

HEAB April 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

I have – read through it at a bookstore and promptly returned to the shelf when he recommended no chickpeas for my type. Was probably having a love affair with hummus at the time. Still am! :)

Honestly, I was curious b/c I’d heard really positive things from people who followed the plan. Would love to hear your thoughts if you try it.

Jenni April 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Ahaha love it! There may be a solution…whitebean hummus? ;) I actually bought his newest book on genotyping, basically going even further into genetics than blood type (still incorporates blood type but is even more specific). There are 6 genotypes… Turns out I’m a teacher genotype , which means basically A type diet but teachers get to eat more cheese! Amen. I’m gonna try it out… Why not? I can be a cheesy pescatarian no problem, as long as you don’t take away my veggies and oats and blueberries we will all be ok.

HEAB April 10, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Type A diet + cheese. I like it, and white bean hummus – YES! Basically, I just use hummus as a vehicle for tahini and pita chips and therefore not too picky about which bean goes into making it. ;)

robyn jones clark April 18, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Thank you for taking the time to share this post! I know you are a busy lady :)
I can’t wait to try the recipes. I think all of them sound delicious. Sounds like a fun time.

Jenni April 20, 2014 at 2:08 am

Yeah! Cheese is yummy ;) heather I have read your previous posts and am curious in regards to your post about past diets (because we seem to be similar)… When you were incorporating more fruits were you food combining/eating them alone? Thanks!

HEAB April 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Hey Jenni,
When I was juicing and eating more raw foods, most days, I would eat nothing but fruit until lunch. So yes, during that time period, I did follow the rules of food combining and eat fruit alone. It wasn’t ideal for me as I was running a lot back then and way overdid the fruit. Too much sugar for my body!

Jenni April 20, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Yah it’s interesting… There have been times in my life when I’ve eaten loads of fruit without any detriment or weight gain… But other times when I eat more fruit and blow up! Haha… I think it may be for me what the rest of your diet looks like at the time… If I look back the times I was eating lots of fruit with little problems I was eating low fat in general… When I have done raw food and incorporated lots of nuts and seeds and coconut and nut butters i blow up so to speak. But I can eat those foods if I stick to low sugar… When you were raw week you eating lots of fats?
So interesting!

HEAB April 21, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Hmm, yes, I was eating a good amount of fat, but honestly no more than I normally do – although I wasn’t really tracking at the time. So, I might have been eating more than I was aware of – I did a lot of nuts and avocados, but I’ve always eaten a good amount of both. I was avoiding animal fat at that time. So, I feel like my fat intake is even higher these days since I now include plenty of animal fat like butter, cream, meat, etc. However, I’m still eating low sugar (now that I’m not pregnant – went through a few pregnancy induced sugar phases over the last few years. Ha!) and don’t really have a problem maintaining my weight. My body can handle the fat but NOT the sugar. It is really interesting, especially hearing about others that are similar/different. Our bodies can be so mysterious, no?

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