Thursday, April 24, 2014

April Cooking Class Ministry

Today was the first class in the new cooking class ministry at our church.  The plan for this class is to teach people to prepare meals that cost around $1.00 per serving. We started off small today with just one participant, but had a good time preparing a meal that she was able to take home to feed her family tonight. The recipe I chose for this class was extremely simple to prepare.  I usually make it and make two of them one to eat one and one to put in the freezer.  This recipe will make two casseroles that serve four people each.  This is a recipe that I made up on my own.  It's something that includes items that are given out at the food pantry.

This first recipe can be prepared for $1.22 per serving. Some of the other recipes are a little lower cost.

Penne pasta with Sausage

1 pound sausage or three Italian brats ( I like the turkey brats less fat.)
1 pound box penne pasta (can be made with any shaped pasta I also use bowtie and rotini)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheese of choice
Brown sausage  (if using brats remove from casing and brown). When sausage is browned add diced tomatoes and allow to simmer until some of the juice cooks off of it. Cook pasta al dente and drain water.  Combine pasta and sausage mixture and place in pan. I usually use a 9 inch square pan which will fit in a gallon ziplock bag. Divide pasta mixture between two pans.  Sprinkle cheese on top.  Place in ziplock freezer bags and freeze. When cooking from frozen, bake at 350 for 60 minutes. If you don't want to freeze it, bake until cheese is brown on top. I usually just toss it under the broiler for about 5 minutes and it comes out nice  If you refrigerate it will probably have to cook about 30 minutes or so heat through and brown the cheese on top.

This recipe had a cost of $1.22 per serving.
I also gave out two recipes for rice casseroles at the class. These are the recipes I shared today along with the one we made together. These recipes are also designed to make two pans with four servings a piece.

Sausage and Rice Casserole


1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup (I make my own cream soup from this recipe and keep it frozen I just use one of these and add in some mushrooms. The recipe makes about 2 cans worth of soup)
4 cups rice cooked (I cook brown rice in my rice cooker and it makes four cups at a time.)
1 pound sausage
1 small onion diced
Brown sausage and mix with cooked rice, onion and soups. Put into pans and place in ziplock bags.  Bake at 350 for 60 minutes.  If not freezing and just baking it bake about 30 minutes.
This recipe comes out to $1.00 per serving with store bought canned soup.  Using the homemade version cuts the cost.

Chow Mein Noodle Casserole


1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use my homemade version from above)
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 cups rice cooked
1 pound ground beef
1 onion diced
1 cup chow mein noodles
Brown ground beef. Mix together the soups and the soy sauce.  Mix ground beef and rice with soup mixture and pour into pans. Place in ziplock bags. When ready to bake put 1/2 cup chow mein noodles on top. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes. If not freezing bake about 30 minutes.
Don't forget to label your ziplock bags with the name and directions for preparation. It will save you time later. I like to put some of these in the freezer and on days when I don't want to cook or don't have time, I only have to pull the casserole out and stick it in the oven.  Meal done in an hour. 

This comes out to $1.10 per serving with store bought canned soup, using the homemade soup will cut the cost.
These costs were figured buying the meat in the grocery store in bulk when it is on sale.  (I never buy meat full price) I usually buy my meat in bulk from the local meat packing place, when I buy it that way, these costs are even lower.  We usually buy half a cow or hog at a time.  I'm fortunate that the  local place buys from local farmers and while the meat is not necessarily organic, the local farmers tend to feed their animals less hormones etc.  They also allow me to rent a locker.  The locker rent is $15.00 a quarter, which I have yet to be billed for.  (We've been buying our meat there for at least 4 years) I calculate that an extra freezer would cost me more than $15.00 for three months for electricity. It makes it easy.  When I need meat I call and tell them what cuts I want from my locker and they have it bagged and ready for me when I get there to pick it up.  In addition, the meat is much leaner than what I find in the stores.  Even the ground beef is lean.  I usually have to put some sort of oil in the skillet to keep it from sticking to the skillet. I live in Indiana so prices will vary from one region to the next.