A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending one of Deanna Carney’s Freezer Meal Workshops with some other Bargain Hunting Mommas. I met Deanna through my blog and Facebook group and was impressed by her professionalism and love of food. She is a true foodie and loves to cook and runs her classes through her business Savoury De with Sunset Gourmet. She is a lovely woman who really enjoys sharing simple, amazing tasting dishes like simple salad dressings, fast soups, casseroles, gourmet desserts for everyday and gourmet meals. The goal of this freezer cooking workshop was have us prepare a bunch of delicious, healthy, affordable in advance so we could freeze them for future to use to feed our families.
A few weeks before the class, Deanna emailed us our menu and a ‘grocery list’ of items we would need to make the recipes. This gave us plenty of time to shop around for the best deals in advance before the class to maximize our savings. Typical of my busy lifestyle, I was unable to do this until the day of the class, but still managed to purchase the ingredients I needed on the fly for around $90. The cost of the actual class was another $58, which included a 6 piece Sunset Gourmet Kit (as shown) all used to make the recipes and to take home upon completion. There are hundreds of recipes options to choose from based on your tastes, but we let Deanna choose her top recipes to try.
- Oh So Garlic
- Oh So Onion
- Sunset Seasoned Salt
- Roasted Red Pepper & Onion Relish
- Cheesy Bacon Cheddar Dip
- Anna Mae’s Smokey Sweet Grill Sauce
AT THE WORKSHOP
As expected, the workshop was very hands-on, and in this case, since we were a smaller group, we did it in Deanna’s home kitchen. For larger groups, an outside kitchen at a church or community centre would be perfect. One by one, she walked us 8 pre-selected recipes and together we prepped and assembled our meals directly into a series large freezer bags. A sticky label including the name & cooking instructions for each meal, including side dish suggestions, was provided by Deanna was applied to each bag for future reference.
Prepping our meals.
Apart from the expected chopping, cutting and opening of cans or jars, there was very little mess or fuss involved. I enjoyed the simplicity of it all and camaraderie of working with other Mom’s on this noble cause of feeding our families. Factoring in a fair bit chatting by the ladies, about 2 hours later we were done! Away I personally went away with 12 ready-to-go meals for my family of 5 (2 adults & 3 kids) in big freezer bags. I went right home and froze them for future enjoyment.
Depending on how you portion your meals, you could end up with more or less meals. Just a small tip – don’t forget to clear ample space in your freezer BEFORE you leave as you will need a fair bit of room and I ended up mooching space at my parents freezer who were luckily away for the winter.
The finished product.. into the freezer you go! Eat ya later!
ENJOYING MY MEALS
Since the workshop, I’ve been slowly sampling the recipes and have almost finished my 12 meals. I’ve enjoyed the stress-free option of pulling out one of my meals on a busy day and knowing that a nice tasty dinner will be served. It’s a great feeling dropping my pre-made meal directly from the freezer and into my crock pot and leaving the house knowing that my family will be enjoying it later that night. Apart from coming up with a side dish to compliment the meal and perhaps a salad, you are good to go!
The first meal I tried was the Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Roast which was out-of-this-world. It was really delicious and it I will make this again for sure. Another big hit was the Bacon Cheddar Chicken, a tender chicken in a nice a creamy sauce, which I served with potatoes and a salad. I found that just before serving, it helped to thicken up the sauce with some flour and it worked great. The BBQ Pulled Pork was a fantastic blend of sweet and sour and EVERYONE in the family wanted seconds – no small feat! We all devoured the Sweet & Savoury Asian Chicken. My favourite to date has been the Sunset Chicken Cacciatore which had a delicious, full flavour to die for.
Pulled Pork Sunset Gourmet Style..delish!
One thing I did learn after this workshop is that my younger kids can be fussy about anything ‘stewlike’ which proved a bit challenging for crock pot cooking. The Cheesy Sausage Casserole and Steak Casserole got mixed reviews from my younger kids more due to their look and consistency rather than their taste, we all liked it once I could actually get them to taste it! I still have a few meals left and can’t wait to try them and anticipate enjoying my Beef Tortilla soon.
For the most part, the meals have been a big it with my family, despite some bumps in the road with picky eaters who honestly turn their nose up at almost anything that looks like a stew. I think we all have one of those in our families right?
Each meal cost me an initial investment of about $12 to make straight-up cost, but I had leftovers of many of the grocery items and I left the workshop with 3/4 full bottles of Oh So Garlic, Oh So Onion and Sunset Gourmet Seasoning Salt and half a jar of Roasted Red Pepper and Onion Relish. When I figure that each of these was valued at $9.99, so a truer cost per meal would be around per meal might be $10. Not bad for delicious yet simple recipes to dazzle your family and save your sanity during the day-to-day grind.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?
Yes! I would for sure do this again so watch for future dates COMING SOON for your chance to try a Freezer Cooking workshop with Deanna. This gets the Bargain Hunting Momma Seal of Approval!
Check out Savoury De with Sunset Gourmet
Check out the Sunset Gourmet line of products featuring breads, dips, desserts, seasonings, salad dressings, salsas and sauces all priced under $10! Deanna has a great Facebook page on which she regularly shows off recipes and ideas to keep you motivated and inspired in the kitchen.
Sunset Gourmet Representative, Baden
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SavouryDewithSunsetGourmet