On June 29, 2014 by Kim
How much do you love freezer cooking? Have you ever tried to share the love with a friend, and been met with quizzical looks and skeptical remarks? Something along the lines of, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” What if your conversation went more like this:
You: “Hey, I was thinking about inviting some friends over to hang out, crack open a bottle of (insert your indulgence here), and while we’re together we’ll toss together some freezer meals. Are you in?
Friend: “That sounds really fun, but won’t that be a lot of work (take a long time, cost a lot of money, etc.)?”
You: “No, I will prep all the ingredients and all you have to do is bring your protein of choice (or you can even just bring your bags) and toss the remaining ingredients in the bag. I even have printable instructions and labels. It will only cost you about $20-30 for your protein of choice and marinade for all five meals!”
Friend: “Wow, I would love to not have to cook for a whole week! But is it all casseroles? I really don’t want to eat heavy, fattening casseroles for an entire week.”
You: “No they are all marinated proteins, perfect for grilling or the slow cooker. And we are in charge of the ingredients, so they are much more healthy than store-bought freezer meals. You can just add a fresh salad or simple side on serving day to round out the meal.”
Friend: “That sounds delicious. I’m in!”
You: “Wonderful! I will send you an invitation with all of the details. See you there!”
How does that sound?
Check in with your friends from work, church, neighborhood, the gym, or just call up your besties. If you are still working on building community where you are, food and fellowship are a great place to start! Don’t be afraid to open you home and starting building those relationships. In fact, the Marinate It party is a fantastic way to reach out to someone else who is in need of food or friendship – or both. You and your guests could each make an extra meal to give away, or you could invite someone who needs help getting starting with freezer cooking so that they can save time, money, or just their sanity during a difficult season. If you or your guests are looking for more information on the why or the how to of group cooking, see our series on the topic. What you get:
- ALL READERS get step-by-step instructions and FREE printables in this post, plus recipes from our archives.
- Members get the Marinate It Mini Menu documents, customizable by the number of servings needed. The menu includes FIVE dump and go recipes (i.e. a “throw and go” recipes) that can be adapted for a variety of meats. The suggested meat is given in the original recipe, but your guests can choose their meat based on preference, sales, what they have on hand, etc. PLUS, access to MenuBuilder which provides you with the ability to fully customize the Marinate It menu by swapping recipes.
Step 1: Invite using our Marinate It Party Invitation.
Step 2: Customize Your Menu
If you are not a member then you can use the recipes listed in the Marinate It Mini Menu or find and print your own (see our Pinterest board for ideas!). However, you will have to do all the math to create your own shopping list, chopping list, and create your own recipe cards and labels. Members, you can use Menu Builder to customize serving sizes and recipes (depending on your membership type.) As you customize, keep in mind:
- Use ingredients you have on hand or current sale items to keep costs low.
- Cook dump and go recipes, preferably simple marinades. Think throw and go.
- Let guests help you choose recipes and be cognizant of food sensitivities/allergies.
- Remember the OAMM system doubles each recipe, so you will enter half the number of total servings needed. For example, if you need 16 servings total for all your guests, you will select 8 servings for your documents.
- Members, when using MenuBuilder, keep the number of recipes between three and five for the best variety in a reasonable amount of time.
Step 3: Use our RSVP and Cost Tracker to Plan Your Party
This sheet is designed to keep track of who is coming to the party, how many servings they need, and how much they will owe you for ingredients. For detailed information about tracking costs, see our Group Cooking Series. To use this Google document, Select File – Make a Copy, and then enter your information according to the instructions. Take CAREFUL note of what number you will enter into menu builder. Use your final tally of servings to print your menu resources. Each guest should receive:
- Recipe Cards (one of each recipe) Tip: print separate sheets for guests requiring different serving amounts for ease of measuring.
- Freezer Bag Labels (one of each recipe)
- Marinate It Party Guide
And of course print the instructions and grocery list for you, the host. If you are not a member, then you will need to create and print these resources for your guests.
Step 4: Shop and Chop on the Day Before the Party
As with any cooking day, you never want to plan more into one day than you can easily accomplish. For example, shopping and chopping are more easily completed the day before your cooking day or in this case party day. Print out our Marinate It Party Checklist for a quick list of tasks to complete and items to purchase or gather to make party day run smoothly.
Last Step: Marinate It!
Walk through your Marinate It Party Checklist : Prepare some light, simple snacks for your guests. Keep it super simple: fruit or vegetables with a dip, cheese and crackers, chips or pretzels and dip, cookies, lemonade or tea, adult beverages, etc. Set up a station for each recipe which includes all of the ingredients needed for the marinade plus an OAMM recipe card and label for each guest, and any measuring tools needed to assemble the recipe. Once the party is underway briefly (in 1-2 minutes) introduce freezer cooking and OAMM to those unfamiliar with it. You can use the Marinate It Party Guide to speed up the process, and it will also provide some take home tips for your guest. But the best way to get a crowd excited is to tell a story – so share yours! Then lead them to the kitchen where they can start marinating. Reference our Marinate It Party Checklist for details on walking your guests through the assembly line. You are their guide so be ready to answer questions and point them back to the resources here at OAMM so that they can plan their own cooking day. Finally, get those meals on ice and have fun sharing the joys of freezer cooking with people you love!