In June I attended a state conference for Family and Consumer Science agents. Not only was this a great networking opportunity, but I also picked up a really great program to bring back to my counties! The Randolph County FCS agent had started a freezer meal workshop called “Cooking with Friends.” The program is an hour long workshop that allows participants to make five freezer meals that they can take home. The idea is to encourage eating at home without having to make time to cook.
Since June I have been tweaking this program in hopes that I can use this in both of my counties. After a practice round and testing some of the recipes at home (which was the best part), the freezer meal workshop is complete and ready for you to enjoy it!
The Freeze Now, Eat Later! freezer meal workshop is perfect for anyone who may not have time on their side. Working parents, college students, seniors, anyone who gets home and dreads making dinner, this program is for you! Each freezer bag consists of four to six servings of food, leaving you with at least twenty meals to take home and enjoy. Some of you may be thinking, “Sydney, I live by myself. I won’t be able to eat all that food!” This is why Jeannie called her program “Cooking with Friends.” You and a friend can participate in the program together and split the grocery list to make smaller meals. You also have the freedom to make these meals your own by buying what fits your budget, your diet, and your taste buds. Upon registration, you will be given a grocery list of what to purchase before the workshop. You can buy meats that are on sale, low-sodium foods, reduced or non-fat foods, and/or omit the items you may not like. I want this program to be what YOU need it to be.
Why should you participate? Freeze Now, Eat Later! can save you time and money, help you to eat healthier, and it is fun!
Save time – have dinner ready when you get home. Defrost your meal the night before and throw it in the crockpot the next morning. You can also grill or bake many of the recipes!
Save money – including registration fee, average cost is $2.50/meal, and that’s without using coupons, discounts, or items that you may already have at home.
Eat healthy – each meal fits the MyPlate guidelines when following the healthy alternatives provided. Studies have also shown we typically eat healthier when we eat at home versus when going out to eat.
So join me this September at the Sampson County Extension office. There are two sessions available, Thursday September 15th from 5:30p.m. – 7 p.m. and Friday Sept. 16th. from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Only eight spots available per class. Come to the Sampson County Extension office to register. Registration is $15 and includes staple food items, a meal, and an insulated tote bag. Payments must be made by Sep. 12th! Cash or check is acceptable and checks must be payable to County of Sampson.
There will also be a class at the Duplin County Cooperative Extension office on September 1st from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. and Sept. 2, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information, contact the Duplin County Extension office at 910-296-2143.
This program is sponsored by Smithfield Hog Production Division.
Sydney Johnson is an area family & consumer sciences extension agent, with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. She can be reached by calling the Sampson County Center at 910-592-7161 or by e-mail: [email protected]