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Grande Cooking and Don't Panic Dinner's in the Freezer

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Bulk Cooking Ahead Phone Seminar with Lisa Taylor, Denice Gustafson and Monica Ferucci, Thursday,January 5, 2006.
Notes taken by Heather Tully

4 Parts to this seminar:
1) Introduction from our Guests
2) Basic Principles and Tips of Bulk Cooking;
3) E-Cookbook and Book Offer
4) Questions and Answer

Introduction by Marilyn:
Would you believe I started to Panic over dinner tonight before the phone seminar? We celebrated my husband's birthday and barely got dinner in the oven in time. I started to PANIC!

We all want to serve good, healthy, tasty dinners to our families' consistently and save dinner. My friends Suzie Martinez, Vanda Howell, and Bonnie Garcia wrote a book called DON'T PANIC DINNER'S IN THE FREEZER filled with very tasty recipes perfect for cooking by yourself or with a group of friends. This book is available with free shipping through Sunday as long as you mention free shipping in the comments section of checkout or over the phone.

My guests tonight Denice, Lisa, and Monica have all been doing cooking ahead alone or with friends for many years and are a wealth of information on how to get started and other tips.

Introduction from our Guests:
decided to start bulk cooking so that she would not panic each day over what to make for dinner and so that she would not run out of ideas of what to make for dinner or eat the same thing over and over. Lisa found that cooking with friends was both more fun, efficient, and economical. She now has a core group of six ladies who cook with her that have been working together for five years!

Denice, wanting to save money and have more time for homeschooling, decided to give bulk cooking a try. Though she has done the cooking with a friend, since she moved, she is now doing her bulk cooking by herself.

Monica finds that bulk cooking brings peace of mind and good time management. Buying food in bulk enables her to buy good quality items and whole foods at a cheaper price. She organized and runs a Cooking Club at her church, which consists of 12 ladies that meet monthly for cooking time and fellowship while they work.

For the Complete Downloadable Grande Cooking ebook with Recipes Click Here

Basic Principles of Grande Cooking:

1. Bulk cooking's greatest benefit, besides saving you both time and money, is that it allows you to minister to others in need and be prepared for hospitality and meeting the needs of others at a moment's notice. Those we can minister include singles, elderly, the sick, those having family emergencies, as well as a systematic way to stock the church or community freezer.

2. Cook meals that your family will enjoy!!!
About any family favorite, tried and true recipe can be frozen, though some foods do change appearance or texture when you freeze the food and reheat/cook the food.

For example, fresh potatoes frozen will turn black in the freezer. Instead of using fresh potatoes use either pre-packaged frozen potatoes or shred fresh potatoes and soak them in water with cream of tarter overnight, then freezing the potatoes the next day eliminates the browning problem. (About 5 pounds of potatoes to 1 teaspoon of cream of tarter.)

3. Plan a variety of meals. While dinners/main dishes are the main part of cooking ahead , our guests also enjoy freezing breakfast, lunch and desserts. A variety of main dishes includes a balance of chicken, beef, pasta, ethnic and meatless recipes.

4. Buy pricey items, especially meats, on SALE!!!
Pre-chop, pre-cook meats, pre-measure and label baggies the night before to save on time during cooking/assemble meals day. Another way to save on time is to buy pre-chopped veggies.

5. Planning recipes for cooking day the Grande Cooking Way.
Lisa Taylor's group, first of all, puts a date on the calendar and reserves the time ahead to make sure the cooking gets done. Each lady in her group emails a list of 5-6 recipes they want to make to the other ladies in the group. The recipe coordinator compiles the list of meals into 30 recipes and then emails the list to everyone from the group, who then votes for the top 12-16 recipes they want to make on their cooking day. The coordinator then makes a final list of 12-16 recipes, making sure there is a good variety based on the vote. New groups starting out would probably want to start out with a smaller number of recipes until they work out their system.

Each cooking club participant then decides how many of each recipe she will need for her family and emails it to the Shopping Coordinator. One to two ladies calculate the amount of ingredients needed and usually do the shopping. After all the meals are assembled on cooking day, the total dollars spent is divided by the number of meals prepared and everyone pays the shopping coordinator according to how many total meals they ordered. Usually Lisa orders more meals than others in her group.

6. Here is how Monica's Church Cooking Group organizes its' bulk cooking:
At a "meal planning night", the ladies decided which recipes to prepare for 2-3 months. Usually they do 2-3 main dishes, a quick bread and or dessert, and a breakfast or lunch entree. The club then meets one night each month to cook that month's recipes. Each main dish recipe ranges in cost from $2.50-5.65 and feeds 4-6 people. The club always prepares at least two meals for the church freezer or those in need.

For the Complete Downloadable Grande Cooking ebook with Recipes Click Here

Monica's group calculates the costs based on the cost of each recipe prepared and then dividing that amount by the number of meals prepared. Each lady then pays for the total amount of meals they take home. Some take home 12 of an entree, some only take home 2. This is truly custom cooking!

Monica has found that usually a core group of 3 decide the recipes and buy the groceries, and minister to the other ladies in their group by teaching them cooking methods, and healthier ingredients/methods.

Click here for a free download of Monica's ebook FOOLPROOF (almost) FREEZER COOKING

Tips on packaging your frozen meals:
Use Zip-Lock Freezer brand gallon-size baggies for all of your meals except layered recipes, soups/stews and softer type mixtures.( All the seminar guests have found generic brand freezer bags tend to break or leak.)

For layered meals, freeze in Gladware, reusable plastic pans that can go from the freezer to the microwave/oven to the dishwasher. These products are usually found with paper goods and other packaging supplies.

Use a black Sharpie Pen to label all meals with name of recipe, date, and re-heating instructions. Lay baggies flat to freeze, layering either a paper towel or thin piece of cardboard between each baggie to stop them from sticking together when frozen. Once meals are frozen, they can then be stored standing up in a mil crate type box in the freezer like a filing system. File through frozen meals and decide what's for dinner.

Other packaging tips:
You may want to wrap your plastic pans in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to keep the lids from coming off. Write the contents and cooking directions on the foil. Another alternative would be to put two rubber bands around the pans and then slip a piece of paper with directions in-between the rubber band.

Audience Questions and Answers by email:

How can I bulk cook with friends in small kitchen?
If you pre-cook/ pre-chop food items like onions and meat the night before at home, you can focus on just assembling your meals with your friends even if the kitchen is small. Setting up an 8" folding table makes for an efficient "assembly" line during "cooking/assembly" day.

Give each person a specific job to do, for example someone labels baggies, someone is dishwasher, and rotate.

What items do I need to get started?
Large stock pots, large mixing bowls, several large mixing bowls for mixing ingredients, and lots of spatulas, measuring spoons/glass measuring cups, scrapers and large spoons!

Where can I find chicken broth without MSG?
Make it from scratch!!! Boil whole chickens, using the meat for your recipes, and freeze the broth in 2-4 cup quantities in glass mason jars and freezing. Another option is to purchase:
Frontier Chicken flavored Broth:
Frontier Beef Flavored Broth:

http:// and search for chicken broth.

We began offering phone seminars in November 2004. Many listeners have requested transcripts for when they are unable to listen in. Here are transcripts of recent phone seminars.

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