Sometimes, it can be really difficult to get a home cooked meal on the table… There may be school activities, sports practices, church events, and/or extracurricular activities that keep you busy all day and all evening long. While I was driving home one day, from one such activity, I noticed an advertisement on the marquee at the extension center for a cooking clinic. The Cook Once Clinic promised to teach a group of 10 ladies the basics of mass food preparation and freezing skills, so that they could spend one long afternoon/evening cooking and end up making 10 meals at once to freeze and serve to their families when needed. SOLD! I raced home and signed up!
I’ve never been confidant about the freezing and thawing process. What foods freeze well? How long can I freeze them? What is the safest way to thaw a frozen entree? All of these questions circling ’round in my mind have kept me from feeling comfortable enough to give the Cook Once Method a try. And so, I eagerly showed up for the clinic, ready to learn the tricks of the trade, and met up with one of my favorite-ist Girl Scout moms, Claudia! The recipes that we used for the evening were adapted from recipes in the cookbook (above).
My cute little partner, Claudia and I volunteered to make the Texas Style Lasagna, which kept us busy almost the entire class… We browned TWENTY pounds of beef (do not ask us about draining the fat out of those massive skillets…), mixed together 160 ounces of cottage cheese with 20 eggs, opened 30 cans worth of tomatoes and green chiles, cut I’m not sure how many tortillas into 1-inch slices; we used our math skills for the day by multiplying the original recipe so that it would divide equally in 10 ways. The lasagnas, with all of their yummy smelling layers, were a lot of work, but thankfully, we didn’t get stuck cutting onions… At one point during the class, I think ALL of us ladies had onion-fume-induced tears rolling down our faces…
It was a really great experience cooking in a group, making many, many meals at one time, and taking home 10 separate meals at the end of the night. Claudia and I made the lasagnas, while other ladies worked on dishes like: meatloaf, stuffed pasta shells, orange pork chops, teriyaki burgers, spaghetti sauce, chicken fajitas, and a few others.
Claudia and I have discussed the idea of taking future cooking classes (perhaps when the extension center changes up the menu). This is their first time offering this class, so they’ll use the same recipes for the next several months due to the popularity. Next time, we will come prepared with safety goggles to prevent unsightly crying due to onion fumes… I’m hoping to find a happy, orange pair somewhere! I will remember to bring bags and/or a cooler to tote everything home in at the end of the night. And, we may smuggle in an extra bag or two of shredded cheese in case we run out again, like we did with our lasagnas. My thought: you can NEVER have too much cheese! And, last but not least, we will be very careful with the future layering of the lasagnas so that they don’t leak all over the refrigerators, freezers, and coolers at the end of the night…. The aluminum dishes were just too shallow for ALL of the yummy ingredients to fit in without spilling out.
I just got home from a Father’s Day road trip to Oklahoma, so I haven’t been able to try any of the dishes prepared in class that night… I’m looking forward to popping the Macaroni dish in the oven momentarily and will serve up some Texas Style Lasagna tomorrow night. Claudia and her family tried our lasagnas for dinner last night and Claudia’s exact words were: “Leaky or not, our lasagna was da bomb diggity!! Yumm-O!!!” What I absolutely love about the Cook Once Method already is that the meal is already prepared; the hard work is done! All I have to do is remember to put a meal in the refrigerator to thaw overnight and then pop it in the oven the next day. BIG WOOT!!!!!!
Will post about Father’s Day weekend soon! Hope all of the fathers had a WONDERFUL day!
Happy that I learned how to cook once and freeze meals! Happy to start eating the meals from cooking class starting tonight!