Do you have the best of intentions to save money by eating at home, but never follow through?
I recommit to doing a better job of this myself, and since this is such a huge part of my life,
I want to share some creative ways that you can plan ahead, save money and eat healthier without it feeling like work.
Let’s just give it a try!
For those of you newer to my blog, and/or meal planning, I have several previous posts on this topic.
A great place to start would be with this post below.
It incorporates some basic suggestions for meal planning, and helps think outside the “cooking box.”
C.O.S.T cooking: Cook once, serve twice
Now on to some creative cooking alternatives.
Imagine yourself back in the early 1900’s.
You’re rocking on the covered porch, busying your hands with a beautiful quilt patch, while catching up with all your neighborhood girlfriends.
I always longed to be in the days of the Quilting Bee where friends came together regularly to share community.
You shared life. You had a purpose. You had fun. ….you got it done!
Introducing the Kitchen Sisters’ Club
On and off for the last ten years, I have organized evening gatherings where friends come together to make meals.
Who doesn’t want to be part of a cool club…so we named it.
Yes, I know, I’ve been told many times that I should have been the one to start the “Let’s Dish/Super Supper” type of places…it’s kind of a bummer.
Over the year, I have done our get together multiple ways, with many different ladies, and groups ranging from 6-20, but it’s always such a great time together.
Does the idea of having a ladies night out, sharing some appetizers and going home with 4-8 meals to stick in your freezer sound like a dream come true?
Well, start thinking of some friends to invite and do it together.
Yes, the organizer does get the brunt of the work to begin with, but it’s so worth it.
(edited to add: I love how you are sharing your experiences. Please comment if you’ve done something similar and I will compile the ideas in the next post..yipee).
Remember, start them cooking early – it makes all the difference. 🙂
They loved it, and mixed up 5 lbs of Italian Mozzarella Meatloaf for me.
I gave a choice of 7-8 main dishes, with most of the ladies leaving with 6 meals ready for their freezer.
We had Italian Mozzarella Meatloaf, Asian Pork Tenderloin, Mexican Lasagna, Chicken Pot Pie, Lemon Margarita Chicken, Grandmother’s Sunday Roast, and Enchilada Chicken.
It’s such a blessing to come home and have these waiting for you after a crazy day.
Oooo… I’m first! Yeah…
I’ve done it all. Yes 8 of us eating here and I LOVE cooking (until hubby decided to go back to school AND work full time.. now I kinda dread it.) but making the most of my time is a must. I quadruple everything and freeze an extra meal or two. And I found… drumroll please… the Make a Mix cook book. GREAT book! I love the idea of cooking groups but I think an entire day would be spend just cooking for my family. What a fun way to cook Jen. Great post.
What a fun club. We started a fun thing last year when the gas was way high. We took turns going over to a friend’s house. They would prepare dinner then another weekend they would come over to our house and I would cook. We kind of got sidetracked with the holidays but we are starting to get back into the groove. It is way cheaper for all of us. Thanks for sharing about your meal planning!
Oh, it looks like great fun. I would love to do something similar.
I just wanna come to your party. I don’t wanna hafta host it!
We’ve pretty much stopped eating out in the last 4 months. Not completely- but we’re talking a mere fraction of what it was!
Looks like such fun!! Thanks for a wonderful idea.
I am looking forward to hearing how you pull this together. I have been part of a group called "Food & Co." We bring a dish (ranging from appetizers to desserts) to share along with copies of the recipe. I've come home with some great recipes and it's always fun to try out the recipe before sharing it with the family. I've always been interested in this whole idea of preparing and freezing meals. Especially when you can do it with friends… how fun!
P.S. I've emailed you a few of times to finish up the order I placed at Christmas. Perhaps they have gotten lost out in cyberspace again? Can you send me address? Thanks Jen:)
I have been in a meal swap before…it was nice to just pull that out of the freezer..ready to cook!
Cute pictures…what fun!
What great ideas you have. Can’t wait to see how you planned all this out.
That looks like a blast! What a great idea!
Due to the economy we eat out less often and we want to eat better also. There are times I just don’t know what I want to fix. This is a great idea!
Don’t forget, men love to cook too. I am getting back to basics with my cooking and I am starting to make basic things like bread and rolls and some time consuming things like sauces. I always make enough for several meals when I do cook. I loved the photos.
Awesome, awesome! Hey, girl my Mama’s from Greensboro! 🙂 Can you believe! The Carolina Girl Rollcall is up! 🙂
i’ve recently been wanting to do a “super club” where a few of the moms in my neighborhood and i all pitch in and cook once a week, but each enough to serve each family involved. that way, you’re only cooking once a week! i love thinking outside of the box, esp. when it involves working as a community!
I highly recommend the cookbook, “Cooking Among Friends”. A great cookbook / freezer and family friendly. I have made a number of recipes. I have also purchased a large quantity of pans from these ladies – verly low cost!
What a FUN idea! And you all look like you are have a blast in the photos…so cute, with the kiddos even getting into the spirit! I love the little guy at the end, waiting to sample all of finished recipes. My biggest issue is that here, its just the two of us, no children, just horses (ha!), and I tend to end up throwing things away. I want to be more efficient in useing left overs and so forth. You’ve helped inspire me to plan a bit more. 🙂
Jen. Love the idea. It would be so fun!
I’m back in town and slowly catching up on reading everyone’s blogs. Can’t wait to devour yours (nice pun, huh!)
Missed you, girlie!
Fun post! Well, I’ve cooked a whole bunch of meals at once before and packaged them up to freeze. I have a cool packaging machine! This way you cook a ton of chicken and make 5 things out of it! Sometimes I double what I’m making for dinner and freeze one! I need to do more of this!
Can’t wait to see what you’re up to next!
Looks like a lot of fun and a great idea…come on Jen just one more meatball??? cherry
I found your blog through Emily’s! (chatting at the sky)
I have been doing this for a couple of years now, too! It’s so much fun! I get together with 3 or 4 friends. We pass around my favorite freezing cookbooks and everyone picks out several recipes. Then, we each buy the ingredients for our recipes and meet in one of our homes. (One of the girls takes all of the receipts and figures out the money so that what we all spend is even.) We usually take home between 12-18 meals. It is so much more fun with friends!!
What a great idea! The supper club would be a great fellowship function to start at our church. 🙂
I enjoyed your post on organization. Baby steps, now it doesn’t seem quite so intimidating! 🙂 ~hugs, Rhonda
LOVE this idea. I’ve been thinking about starting a similar group at church, but it just seems so daunting. Thanks for the post full of inspiration!
Your girlfriend night sounds like fun. Oh, and I love the white cabinet you painted. Love white painted anything.
You might want to stop over for a visit and see about the Soup Swap I got goin’ on. I think it’s right down your ally.
What a fun idea! I can’t wait to see more about this.
I have been thinking about this…I have a little group of single gals from church and they are always interested in learning homemaking stuff and of course hanging out, laughing and this sounds like fun!
This sounds like so much fun! I did this with holiday baking and it was WONDERFUL! It never occurred to me that I could do this for everyday meals. Thanks!
What a GREAT idea!!! I love it!!!
Oh, loved this…mainly because I’m one of those women who dread meal planning – and even cooking!-altogether!
Ironically, when my girls were very, very little, I was a Pampered Chef consultant for about 3 yrs! I did my last “party” about 2.5 yrs ago, but the incredible thing was that as much as I don’t like cooking or meal planning, I actually had fun with PC…I learned lots of tips that I in turned shared, and even though I’m a bit shy, it was fun meeting new people in a casual party type atmosphere.
I think your kitchen Sisters Club is a wonderful idea…and I can’t wait to hear more! 🙂
We need to get the girls together to cook!
Okay lady, just posted BEFORE pics of the kitchen.. Ahh… I really do need to follow through with this project or I’ll be forever remembered in blogland for my overfilled trash can! Come on over:)
Girl! You rawk!
What a blessing you gave everyone by organizing such a fantastic event.
Countdown to BlissDom – 21 days!
UPLOAD your post! I want to see your cute clothes!!!
How fun!! I’m committed to cooking more this year. So far so good. Great pics!!
Jen this is great!! It looks like you had tons of fun too! 🙂
What a great idea- I love that! We had a freezer cooking club, but my family is so picky that we didn’t end up eating half the things I made.
These pictures are so great!!
Okay you have to share the receipe for the lemon marg. chicken!! Sounds too yummy!!
oh, you are so cute.
When my kids were weenie ones I would post a weekly menu on the bulletin board in the kitchen. I still have the menus.
These were simple things, simple things like tacos, scrambled eggs, english muffin pizzas,
pancakes, mac and cheese.. and so on and so forth.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
You are my kind’a gal.
What a fabulous idea! It looks like you all having so much fun and how brilliant to combine that with getting some meals accomplished- I love it!
I especially enjoyed all your pictures to go along with the story… really brought the whole event to life.
What a wonderful way to bond with your girlfriends! I agree with starting the kids with cooking when they’re young. I’m going to add your blog to my next link love post on familyfoodies.com! Thanks for sharing!
I have never done this, but I would love to. It just makes so much sense!
Now I’ll see if I can round up some willing participants…
A couple of us pick the recipes – there were 25 different ones this time & we made 2 of each. Now we should have gotten 50 meals, but due to unforeseen circumstances we ended up with more (like the loaves & fishes that Jesus multiplied – Soli Deo Gloria) So we got the #’s all hammered out for all the ingredients – basically multiplied them by the 8 friends cooking 2 of each meals and we come up with crazy things like 104# of beef roast & 305 chicken breasts & 15 bunches of celery & what seemed like 233 peppers. Then a couple of us shop for the meat a week a head and get everybody some to cook up. Then two days before we went and got the rest of the ingredients & dropped them off at church, which is where we do all this. Two girls made made 3 of the meals a head of time at home which saved us some time. Almost all the ingredients are prepped so all we have to do is mix them or cook a little. We’ve done this at usually 2x a year since maybe 2004(?) so it’s a pretty efficient process. I type up the recipes into a booklet/cookbook & everyone gets one so they know how to make it each individually or by 16. All the meals fit in our upright freezer, some in ziplocs laying flat to save space, others are in glad containers or foil pans. For $277 we each got 68 meals, some work but very much worth the effort & the time with the gals.
@Kris Jomama, I know this is many years after your left this comment, but by chance to you have any of your booklets saved on the computer that you might share with me? I am launching my 10 Minute Dinners site and am going to be writing more about these kind of options, offering various ideas. Would love to see your booklet. 🙂