Thanksgiving Meal Prep Party

Turkey day is not too far away which means  many people are getting all stressed out about cooking a big dinner for their family and friends.  Insert the zillion tips on how to survive cooking the big meal, which I had to have read at least half.  It got me thinking about my freezer meal party and how many of us won’t see a lot of our friends because they will be with their families, and voila, a Thankgiving Meal Prep Party came to mind.

There’s an endless list of dishes you can make ahead so you are not having to get creative using one oven or trying to get everything done so your meal is actually served on Thanksgiving Day.  Chopping up onions, celery, carrots, etc.. takes time.  Making pie crusts, again takes time and can be messy with all that flour going everywhere.  Even though everyone has their own little additions and twists they like to add to their dinners to make them spectacular, there are some things that are pretty common and basic.

Get yourself a few of your friends that are cooking Thanksgiving dinner, some wine and snacks and have some fun prepping ingredients and side dishes that will be served.  Not only will you cut some of your workload you have a reason to get together with some friends that maybe you won’t be able to see on the actual holiday.  Commiserate about your crazy relatives that complain about everything, your skanky uncle that creeps you out, what flavor of the month your brother will be bringing…

Putting together the party wouldn’t be that difficult.  Make a list of things you want to get done like prepping vegetables so they just need to be added when you are cooking, make a huge batch of mashed potatoes, they freeze wonderfully and could easily be reheated when you need them, the previously mentioned pie crusts, they too freeze well. Basically whatever would help out you and your friends.

This is also a great way to take advantage of each other’s skills.  If you are horrible at making pie crusts but have your great grandmother’s stuffing recipe that is to die for then offer up making a batch of that for everyone while someone else does the ten pie crusts.  I’m telling you, it’s brilliant.

Thanksgiving dinner will be a breeze!!!

Advertisements

My Freezer Meal Party

What in the world possessed me to want to have a freezer meal party I just don’t know.  I really don’t like freezer meals so why in the world would I make them?  Simply, I wanted to have a reason to have some people over and do something I’ve never done at the same time.  The concept of it is pretty basic, find a few people to get together to make some meals you put in your freezer that you can bake at a later date.  Making it all happen is where it gets a little chaotic.

This first attempt was a learning experience, and it seems I had a lot to learn.  We started around 3 o’clock and finished around 8pm.  We made lasagna, chicken pot pie, butternut risotto, spring rolls and chocolate chip cookies.  My initial instinct was to pretty much do it and have it done for when they got here, but then where’s the fun, right?  So I only did a few things before they arrived…. which would have been fine if I had a better delineation of tasks.  Next time I will have tasks thought out ahead of time, making sure each person had their little piece to the puzzle.  Depending on how many people you have will determine that list.  What makes sense to me is have jobs already assigned to individuals.

DSC_0252

Before you begin any of the work I would highly suggest starting with a clean work space, seems like common sense, I know.  I made sure my kitchen was clean as well as the dining room table cleared as well as the kitchen table.  I wasn’t sure just how much room we would need but I wanted to be prepared in case we needed to spread out.

DSC_0253 DSC_0257

In an attempt to be somewhat ahead of the game, so to speak, before people arrived I got out most of the ingredients that would be needed as well as soaking the mushrooms for the spring rolls since that takes a little bit of time.  A more thorough prep will be done next time.

First, the dishes I picked had a lot of chopping of vegetables, so I should have had everyone assigned to a few vegetables to cut.

Next, I would give each person (or persons, depending on how many you have participating) a recipe and have them be responsible for that dish.  Since I only have one stove and only a certain amount of burners I would stagger the use of it.  Using the dishes I made, I would have had someone starting the cookies, another doing the crusts for the chicken pot pies and the remaining two using the stove to make the lasagna sauce and the filling for the pot pies.  The risotto could be done after one of those dishes were complete.  Lastly, I had printed out the recipes to what we made but I would also print out a little card with instructions for cooking out of the freezer.

DSC_0256

You also have to factor in the necessary drinking and snacking breaks…it is after all a party and people are supposed to be having fun.  Along with beer and wine we also made lemon drops using fresh squeezed lemons.

V__858D DSC_0258(don’t you love the size of the cookie roll?)

It’s interesting to see different people cooking together, each person has their own level and ways, but it all comes together.

A__0597 1

Finishing the evening with assembling the spring roles was really nice.  We all sat around the table chatting, laughing, sharing funny stories and pretty much slowing down.  That part I would not change.

Time to think about my next freezer meal party.