Cook with Friends
Posted by Gail | Filed under Good ideas
Canadians spend a lot of money on food. We know we should eat at home more; it’s not only healthier, it’s way cheaper. But we just can’t seem to find the time to make those meals from scratch. Between hockey and dance classes, piano and Scouts, over-time and that night-course we’ve jammed into our already packed schedules, we feel like we’re constantly on the run. So we grab our food where we can, dropping hundreds of dollars a month in fast-food joints and kicking ourselves for not feeding ourselves and our families better. Want another way to meal prep? Interested in saving money and having fun with some friends?
Start a Cooking Club. Get two or three (or four or five, depending on how big your kitchen is) friends together on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and cook up a storm. The idea is for each of you to bring the ingredients to make a meal that will feed all of your families.
Let’s say there are four of you in all. Each meal you cook would have to serve four families (or you could bulk up the recipes to double up the output if you like). At the end of the afternoon, you each have four different meals to take home and put in the freezer for those nights when there’s just no time to cook.
There are all kinds of recipes that lend themselves to this approach from spaghetti and lasagna to chili and stew. (My Bootie recipe is a perfect freezer option.) You can pre-cook chicken with peppers and onions in a taco seasoning and then add the taco shells, salsa and cheese on the day. Make a batch of mushroom chicken and then you need only add the freshly cooked pasta and a salad to feed your family a fabulous meal in very little time.
The key is to have fun while cooking up a variety of dishes. A glass of wine and lots of laughter will turn batch cooking into a social event you’ll want to repeat. And it’ll keep you guessing about what you’ll be enjoying for dinner. If you don’t want to end up with food that’s too spicy or too “weird” for your family’s tastes, invite friends with similar tastes to yours. Want to experiment with food you’ve never cooked at home, mix up the cultures of the cooks and watch magic happen.
Shopping in bulk, cooking in large portions and using fresh ingredients to create your own frozen meals means a higher level of quality and big savings over the fast-food you would have ended up resorting to because you didn’t have a better plan.