Sunday, September 26, 2010

Once a Month cooking day (with children:) Part Four

We've survived another canning season...although there are many projects throughout our home that had been shoved aside that need my attention. But back to the cooking day:)

Here are two chicken recipes from our church cookbook that are some of my "easy, throw in a bag" OAMC recipes:

Chili Sauce Chicken -- Laura Miller

1 1/2 lb. uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle chili sauce
1/3 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. olive oil
10 to 12 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in gallon zipper freezer bag. Freeze. Thaw the day before you want to serve. This recipe is best on the grill but you can also bake at 350 for about an hour or until chicken is cooked through.

Creamy Italian Chicken --Karen Brown

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope dry italian dressing mix
1/4 c. water
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 8oz. can sliced mushrooms

Combine dressing mix and water in gallon zipper freezer bag. Add chicken. In a quart zipper freezer bag, combine cream cheese chicken soup and mushrooms. Squish to mix:) Label bags, tape small bag to large bag, and freeze.
Thaw at the day before you want to serve. When thawed, place chicken in crock pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours. After 4 hours, add the cream cheese, soup, and mushroom mixture to crock pot. Cover and cook 1 hour longer or until juices run clear. Serve over rice or noodles.

The great thing about the previous recipes is that you just throw the stuff in a bag. But even though it seems too simple, it saves me the prep on the day I want to serve it. Normally I would have to marinade for 2 hours or mix up the ingredients before cooking. This way it has already been marinading as it froze and as it thawed and it saves me a little time since everything is already mixed, I just throw it in! Even if it saves me 15 minutes of prep, to me, it's worth it.

As far as the enchiladas, sloppy joes and taco meat go, I do not have some magical freezer recipe to share with you...Just take the recipe that you usually use when you make 'em fresh and throw them in the freezer. Just cook up the meat, add seasoning (and for the enchiladas, wrap them up and pour your sauce over them), then freeze. It's as simple as that:) I usually freeze my sloppy joe and taco meat in a gallon freezer bag. I know, I'm really a lot of help, aren't I? But really, if you already have a great recipe, USE IT!

Once you've chosen your recipes, you need to compile a list of all quanities of like ingredients (i.e. if you have three recipes that call for chopped onions, add the quantities and note the total amount) so you know, first, how much to buy and then, the night before, you can do all the chopping. If you have multiple recipes that call for cooked chicken, figure how much you need cooked, then note how much you need chopped or shredded and cook, chop, shred, etc. the day before. The goal is for all your ingredients to be ready to go for "recipe assembly" on cooking day. This process may take you a few times to work through. The first time I did an OAMC day, I messed up the figuring and had to chop up a little more of this or that. But now that I've done several cooking days, I have a better handle on the process. You may want to assemble your more involved recipes first and leave your easy "throw in the bag" type recipes for last. That way when you are getting tired and close to reaching your limit of cooking for the day, you'll have your easier recipes at the end.

If you aren't brave enough to do a whole cooking day and you happen to be making any of the above or some type of casserole, just make an extra to stick in the freezer. You can accumulate a great supply of meals if you just make an extra of each meal for about a week. Little by little you can have a few weeks worth of meals to share with others or add to your menu, here and there.

And as for the kiddos helping...

a chopper comes in very handy for all kinds of things. Hope chopped onions for me--until she couldn't see anymore because her eyes were watering so bad. They were some strong onions! Green peppers are also a frequent ingredient in our recipes and you can let the kids chop away!

She also sliced some mushrooms for me. Her first time using a paring knife...Aghhhhhhh! She was very careful and did a great job. I tried to trust her with some "grown up" jobs since she IS seven years old. Wow, how will I ever survive when she's learning how to drive?!

Mattie really enjoyed mixing up the enchilada filling:) Dump, dump, dump, stir!

And Hope, Mattie, and Silas all had a hand in making the muffins. Hope even made the box of Fiber One blueberry muffins ALL BY HERSELF! Oh the joy of being able to read:)

I snapped this photo on cooking day...I had to be quick because the muffins were disappearing as they cooled. Needless to say, they don't last long around here. We only have one bag of mini muffins left and are also on our last bag of pancakes. But we do have several freezer meals still left to go through. Looks like it won't be long til we need to restock...good thing we are almost up to 20% off our groceries at Giant Eagle with our FoodPerks. I'm gonna have to be really saavy with my coupons that week to make the most of our trip. Let me know of any good coupon sites that you use/love!

May your mind, body and spirit be filled with good things this week! Blessings to you until you return!


  1. I love the online coupon websites but I hate that I haven't figured out why they always print in color!!!! I always go to and there are links there for other sites. And the eOffers on Giant Eagles website help.

    And sidenote: I love our church cookbooks! And I love that Mennonite recipes REQUIRE your pantry to be stocked with cream of ____ soups!!


    The name is ridiculous, but they have something called "target match-up" that lists what's on sale that weekend and matches up a target coupon (on Target website or in Sunday ads) with the manufacturer's coupon. She's getting brand name items for less than $1!