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Too Busy to Make Dinner Every Night?

23 Sep

Some girls in my neighborhood have gotten together and created a “frozen dinner group”. We meet once a month and make dinners that can be frozen. So when we’re in a hurry we can pop something in the oven and not worry about it.

I have been in a couple groups like this done a couple of different ways. The first way — you decide on an entry you want to make and then you make a certain number of those entries (depending on how many people are in your group — like 10 entries for 10 people). Then you meet and exchange the entries and go home with 10 DIFFERENT entries.

The second way — the group I am in works now is that we take turns being in charge of the group — monthly or yearly. When it is your turn you decide on what entries you want the group to make and then you buy the ingredients to make the meals. People in the group prepare some of the food — like cooking the pork in their crock pots or browning the ground beef. Then everyone meets, puts the meals together and pays you the amount that the food cost.

Then the next month, or 6 months or year it is someone elses turn and all you have to do is show up, make the food and pay the cost. It is pretty economical — I made 4 casseroles that will feed my family for 4 nights plus enough leftovers another 2 nights for $50.00.

It’s fun to get together and visit while you prepare the food and nice to have some meals that are easy to prepare when you are in a bind.

Today we made Pork Burritos, Cheese Manicotti and Chicken Divan. (I made 2 Pork Burritos and 2 Manicottis and no Chicken Divan — my kids won’t eat that one).

Here’s the recipe for Chicken Manicotti:

1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
16 uncooked manicotti shells
2 jars (26 ounces each) spaghetti sauce, divided
1 pound bulk Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup water

  1. Rub garlic powder over chicken; cut into 1-inch strips. Stuff chicken into the manicotti shells. Spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce in each of two greased 13 in. x 9 in. baking dishes.
  2. Place eight stuffed manicotti shells in each dish. Sprinkle with sausage and mushrooms. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over the top. Sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Drizzle water around the edge of each dish. Cover and bake one casserole at 375-degrees for 65-70 minutes or until chicken juices run clear and pasta is tender. Cover and freeze remaining casserole for up to 1 month.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake as directed.

I have some wonderful recipes that can be frozen — I can give them to you if you are interested.

I’m going out of town for my b-day so I might not be posting for a few days. Have a great day!!!