Thursday, January 21, 2010

A little practicality

I love reading tips about how to make my mom/wife life easier so I thought I would share this one with you all:

Cooking Co-Op! My friend Chelsey was in a co-op in the town where she lived before moving to J-town, and really wanted to get a small one started again and I got recruited. I'm so glad I did! I've never done anything like it before but it is really awesome. So there are 3 of us in the co-op: me, Chelsey and our friend Kayla. Kayla has 3 kids and Chelsey and I both have 4. We decided to each pick 3 meals to make each month. So for example, I made 1) enchiladas 2) vegetable beef soup and 3) tuna casserole (not my favorite, but Max requested it!). So I make 3 batches of 3 meals. One for Kayla, one for Chelsey and one for us. Before this all started, we all went out and bought the exact same Pyrex 9 x 13 pans with lids, and big bowls with lids. So I spend one Sunday afternoon cooking all day...making 3 batches of 3 meals takes a while, but it is so worth it!

So when we are all ready to trade, I get 3 meals from Chelsey, 3 meals from Kayla and the 3 that I made for us. Nine meals all ready to go. We do only make main dishes so we still have to come up with the sides but that's really the easy part. We are lucky because we have a deep freeze so plenty of freezer space. Take a meal out the day we're going to eat it, let it defrost in the fridge, stick it in the oven and we are good to go. I would highly recommend giving it a try with your friends. We all get some much-needed variety in our dinner plans, and the cost and effort is well worth the time that I DON'T have to spend planning meals all the time. Enjoy!

Here's a super, super easy Cooking Co-op recipe that I used from last month:

Beef Enchiladas

1 pound hamburger
1 20-oz. can red enchilada sauce (Old El Paso is the best)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 flour tortillas

Steps: Brown the hamburger. Add half the can of enchilada sauce and about a cup of cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Spray the bottom of a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Proceed to fill the tortillas with the meat mixture and roll them up. Place them in the pan side-by-side. There should be room the pan for about 7-8 enchiladas. Make sure you don't (like I sometimes do) put all the meat in the first few enchiladas...then you will run out at the end. :) Anyway...fill up the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and they are heated through. Serve with sour cream on top. YUM! All of my kids like this one...that is a feat!

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