Freezer Cooking December Edition

Well, after last month’s freezer meal EXPLOSION, this month felt more tame. While still a lot of work, I felt more prepared to tackle this month. And continue to find ways to operate it more efficiently. And my team of devoted shoppers and preppers are AWESOME and a tremendous help to making this all go smoothly.

First, a snapshot of the sight as we rode into Sam’s Club. Look at these two! Sibling love! They were incredibly well behaved at the store. We call that a well-timed trip 🙂 (Patting myself on the back.)

Here we are BEFORE we get the 48 pounds of red meat we needed. This is Troy’s “this is fun” expression! Shortly after this moment, I handed him a five pound package of ground turkey and told him to hold on. I asked the guys working in the meat dept if I could have another cart and they said they didn’t have one back there for me. Um, okay.

I DID get a second cart at checkout. I also got an escort to the loading area, where someone watched my carts while I pulled up my car. Check this out. Yowza!

We were back to our 8:30am meeting time this month. As we got ourselves organized, we realized, sadly, we had NO measuring cups or spoons. Okay, we had like one set of cups and 1 teaspoon. That’s it. Katie went on a hunt and came to our rescue with three containers worth! Whew! We still had to make do with no real measuring spoons but we’re all pretty kitchen savvy and made our best estimates 🙂

Meatballs are one of the first things we get started right away since they take so long. Usually, people don’t like doing meatballs, so we joke that its the newbies job. However, these newbies really LIKED making meatballs and even had a very efficient operation going with some ice cream scoops. Behind them was the chicken tender station. We did nuggets last month, but moved to tenders this month so we didn’t have to cut any raw chicken up again.

A bunch of ladies working on what looks like beef stew.

Our dynamic duo, husband and wife team working on white chicken chili.

We had a lot of fun this month! Everything went very smoothly during assembly and we zipped through assembly time in under two hours once we got started. However, clean up took a bit of awhile as people dropped off to take their meals home. I think next month we might start a sign up for people to bring measuring cups/spoons and to be on clean-up duty so we can zip through it faster. If anyone has any other “sign up” ideas, just let me know!
Lots of things worked really well this month. We capped it at 12 people shopping/prepping and making an extra four sets of meals for $120 for pickup. I had two people waiting to “buy” meals, so that’s obviously a popular idea.
Praying through lots of things as it relates to freezer meal time. (And if you’re reading these and especially if you’re involved in this, please join me!)
Obviously its a hugely popular idea. I’ve already checked with the health dept and there’s no way to make a profit by running it as a business without renting/buying an industrial kitchen and going through food safety classes/regular inspections. (I called because I was curious if there was an exemption for making under $1000 a month, as some bakeries can apply for. No such.) So we’ll continue to function as we do, as a co-op type set up as I’m not interested in starting my own business 🙂 And kindly, the cost of my meals and my right hand gal Samantha’s are now included in the overall cost for the rest of the group (thanks all!) Top prayer request for now would be for how to get my kids covered heading into Mike’s travel season when he likely won’t be home for most of our Sat AM sessions. I think I have a solution, just thinking about it carefully. Also, whether we meet more than once in January, and how to handle the sudden spike of interest. How I perhaps may help other groups start up instead of growing ours further since its already pretty big. And how we continue to have fun as a group and enjoy fellowship as we knock out these meals swiftly month after month 🙂
This month: 11 people assembled 16 sets of meals. For the people that shopped and prepped, they paid $73! People that “bought” sets of meals paid $120. It was incredible! Thanks to all our super-smart shoppers out there 🙂 Way to go!
Meal list for December. All of these were repeats except for one, a new “Cunningham original”, turkey vegetable soup.
  1. Taco chili
  2. Meatballs
  3. Beef stew
  4. Honey sesame chicken
  5. Asian lettuce wraps
  6. Black bean chicken
  7. Homemade chicken tenders
  8. Turkey vegetable soup
  9. White chicken chili
  10. Chicken and dumplings
Because I’m a huge dork, I thought I’d add up the number of people who assembled the number of meals this year so far to close out 2014. Freezer cooking has totally changed how I cook for my family this year…. thanks to everyone who has been a part of it so far!
55 people (including repeats month to month though)
674 meals assembled
Can’t wait to see where it goes next!
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