Friday, January 23, 2009

Cooking Club-Jan 22nd-Heavenly Meals (Make Ahead Meals for a Week)

Our "Heavenly Meals" Cooking Class last night at Pam Henderson's was a great success. It was fun to see so many of our sisters there and enjoy the evening with them. Thanks to Angie Ames we have some great photos from last night.

As promised, we have the recipes from the 5 dishes which were prepared for your sampling last night. They were:

Chicken Fajitas w/tortillas
Sloppy Joe w/rolls
Chicken Carbonara
Mac Beef and Bacon (Cowboy Surprise!)
Chicken Cacciatore (great low cal dinner)

I totaled the costs of all ingredients, including the cost of the Zip lock bags which were used to store the food in and tax. The price for each dinner which served a family of 6 (some could serve as much as 8) came to ...$6.61! Now if you are only cooking for 2-4 you will spend even less---or make extra meals. See if you can use some of your food storage with these recipes. For example; do you have pasta in your food storage you can rotate? How about can tomatoes? Chicken Broth? Look for ways to use/rotate your food storage.

We really saved money by buying in bulk and preparing meals with similar ingredients. One of the biggest money savers was purchasing whole chickens and using all the meat from each bird in preparing our recipes. Combining the white and dark meat kept our dishes moist and more flavorful. I used precooked chickens from Costco which were very moist and flavorful. You could easily prepare your own chicken and save even more $$$. Using a Food Processor cut my veggie chopping time down to just minutes. I used only 1 frying pan, one deep pot and about 5 bowls. My clean-up went very fast. I actually prepared double recipes for our class last night and my total cooking time was about 3 hours. I am sure it would be even less time if you were only preparing 5 meals vs-10. But then again, 3 hours for 10 meals is really amazing-maybe you will want to double your recipes and store for later in the month.

The 2 enemies to frozen food are moisture and air. You want to avoid freezer burn by getting as much excess air out of your Zip lock bags as possible. You will want to put your ingredients into one Zip lock bag and then combine all the bags into one larger one.
For example: Chicken Fajitas: one Zip lock bag for chopped onions & bell peppers
one Zip lock bag for the sauce
one Zip lock bag for the cooked & chopped chicken
place all these bags into a large Zip lock bag, seal & freeze.

Another great tip is to use your computer to print labels for each dinner. You will want to mark the date prepared, name of recipe, and reheating instructions. Place this label on one of the inner bags so that it isn't torn off or damaged in the freezer.

Here you go:

Chicken Fajitas by Debbie Morris
2 c cooked & cubed chicken
3/4 c chopped bell pepper
3/4 c chopped onion
flour tortillas
1T lemon juice
1T soy sauce
1 T vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t garlic
1 T chili powder (you can use less)
dash of cayenne pepper

Chop and store in Zip lock onions & bell peppers. Mix sauce and store in Zip lock. Chop chicken and store in Zip lock. In large Zip lock store tortillas then add bags with sauce, chicken & onion/peppers. Add label to inside bag. Freeze.
Reheating Instructions:
In frying pan spray with non-stick spray. Saute onions & peppers. Add chicken to rewarm. Add sauce. Serve with tortillas.

Chicken Carbonara by Giada De Laurentiis
2 cups cooked/cubed chicken
1 lb penne or other pasta
2 T olive oil
1/4 c bacon bits or you can use cubed ham
6 eggs
1/2 c heavy cream
1 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 t salt & 1/2 t fresh ground black pepper

Cook your pasta in 2 T olive oil according to directions on package. Cube and store in Zip lock bag cooked chicken. Place label on bag. Place bacon or ham into Zip lock bag. After pasta has cooled down, place in large Zip lock bag-remove all air. Prepare sauce and store in either a Zip lock or a plastic freezer container such as Tupperware or Rubbermaid. Mark container with date and recipe title. Add remaining bags into larger bag and freeze.
Reheating Instructions:
In pan, spray with non-stick spray. Gently heat sauce-DO NOT OVER COOK OR YOU WILL END UP WITH EGGS & NOT SAUCE! Cook for just minutes. Heat sauce just to warm-not boil. Add chicken then pasta. Top with bacon bits.

Sloppy Joe by Cooking Light
1 lb lean ground beef (can substitute ground Turkey)
1/2 c chopped bell pepper
1/2 c chopped onion
Hamburger buns or dinner rolls (smaller rolls are better for little children & tend to be eaten as opposed to hamburger buns which tend to end up in the freezer)
Optional to add: 1/2 c chopped celery & 1 c chopped mushrooms
1 c ketchup
1 c water
1 t garlic
1 T lemon juice
1 T brown sugar
1 t paprika
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t Dijon or reg mustard
1 T red wine vinegar
Brown ground beef or turkey with chopped onion & bell pepper. Let cool and store in Zip lock. Mix sauce in bowl. Pour sauce over meat in Zip lock and seal. Add sticker. Freeze. Put rolls or buns in Zip lock with label and freeze.
Reheating Instructions:
In pan heat meat sauce thoroughly. Serve on rolls.

Mac Beef & Bacon (Cowboy Surprise!) by Debbie Morris
1 lb tube or spiral pasta
1 lb ground beef
1/2 c chopped onions
1/2 c chopped green onions
1 lg can Tomato Soup-undiluted
1 c shredded cheddar cheese (Mexican Mix is good)
1/3 c bacon bits

Brown beef with onions & peppers. Let cool then store in Zip lock. In small Zip lock store bacon bits. In small Zip lock store cheese and place cooking label on bag. Make sure that your label indicates that you use soup (store in your pantry). Place all bags into large Zip lock and freeze.
Reheating Instructions: In pan heat meat mixture with can of tomato soup. You may need to add some water. When heated, add pasta. When all heated through top with cheese & bacon. Serve.

Chicken Cacciatore by
1 1/4 lbs cooked & cubed chicken
2 T olive oil
1 c chopped onion
1 t fresh rosemary
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 c chicken broth
1/2 t salt 1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 package pasta of your choice

Boil pasta in 1 T olive oil. Let cool and then place in Zip lock. Cube chicken and place in Zip lock. In small Zip lock place onion, 1T oil and rosemary. Put label on bag. In Zip lock place tomatoes, broth & s/p. Place all bags into one large one removing all excess air.
Reheating Instructions: In pan cook ingredients in bag with oil, onion & rosemary. When onions are translucent add tomato mixture. Cook off some of the water and then add the pasta. Serve.


  1. Cooking class was awesome! I LOVED the Fajitas and the chicken carbonara. Good job Debbie--do you ever sleep!!!!

  2. Looks fun sorry I missed it. I'll have to try some of these recipes.

  3. Debbie,
    Thank you for all your work on the class and the blog. I really appreciate it. What a great idea. Thanks for the recipes.

  4. It looks like it was a great success. Sorry to have had a conflict that night...Hans had Pinewood Derby at the Stake Center during the same time! Thanks for sharing the recipes!

    I'm with Pam...Deb, do you ever sleep? I'm looking at the times of these posts and thinking...hmmmm! Sure love you!
    Deb Lassen