I can't believe how quickly February flew by!! It's been nearly 6 weeks since my last freezer cooking day, and the time has come for round #3. This time Amanda and I are being joined by a friend of ours, and with the addition of her family we are cooking for a total of 8 people.
The first step was to determine how many meals we needed per family for a month. This was an important first step, because the number of meals needed effects most of our other decisions.
Then we sat down together and picked out what recipes we wanted to do. We settled on 9 recipes, about half of them are "lunch" recipes and half of them are "dinner" recipes. The only difference between the two is how much preperation is required once taken from the freezer. The "dinner" recipes can be chicken breast, casseroles, or anything that needs a bit of cooking and/or preperation before being eaten. Lunch recipes are self contained, and the MOST preperation needed is a minute or two in the microwave. Because 4 of the 8 people we are feeding are working full time, it was important to us to have "brown bag" lunches available.
Once we had determined the number of meals and what exactly we were cooking, I took all of the ingredients from the recipes and compiled one large shopping list. This step had a fair amount of surprises--for example, working with the 9 recipes we had chosen, cooking for 8 people, for one month, requires 40lbs of chicken (plus 102 individual chicken breasts), 40 lbs of ground beef, a cup and a half of chili powder, and 77 garlic cloves. Let's just say we won't be mincing our own.
When the list was finished we had a few things we needed to do. First, we wanted to know approximately how much we could expect to spend. So we brain dumped onto the list (which sounds a lot worse than it was). Between our memories and last weeks sale adds we got a pretty close approximation of the overall cost. Then we determined what stores we needed to go to, what items we were getting at each store, and divvied up the stores between us.
As of this morning the shopping has been accomplished, and the cooking will begin in earnest about 24 hours from now. As I won't be the only one in the kitchen this time, I'm planning on taking plenty of pictures!!