I professed my love of my freezer meal group a couple of weeks ago, and am still getting emails demanding more information. So. . . here goes.
Our group consists of 6 families of basically the same size. Once a month, we get together and swap meals. Which means, before the date, we email each other what we are making for the month and then we make it - six times. It usually takes me an afternoon of cooking to make my meals. We meet with our meals, labeled with instructions and leave with six different meals for our freezer. It is very simple, and our leader makes sure it doesn't get too complicated. I think the only rule is to make sure that it is a complete main dish. For example, if you make sloppy joes, make sure you include the buns. Oh . . . and use common sense. It seems to work for us.
My friend, Jenni, at A Bear in the Kitchen is really the freezer meal queen and has some great recipes on her blog.
Because of the demand, I'll start posting some of the recipes every now and then. After six months of participating in this group, I've got some great ones!
Ham and Cheese Braid
This is one of my families favorites!
1 loaf Rhodes bread dough
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (not generic)
3/4 lb. thinly sliced ham
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Assembly Roll bread dough out into a rectangular shape so that its approximately 1/2" thick. Combine butter and ranch mix. Spread about 5 tablespoons of mixture on the rectangle. Layer ham and cheese down the center of the rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to cut strips along each side of the dough (even numbers on each side). Starting at bottom, take each piece, cross and twist. Continue criss-crossing until your it is all braided. Brush remaining butter ranch mixture over the top. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Wrap loaf with plastic wrap and then foil. Label with cooking instructions and freeze.
Cooking Instructions Unwrap from foil and plastic wrap and set on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap. Let thaw overnight in refrigerator. A couple hours before you are ready to bake place on counter to let rise. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
Laurel's Notes: I don't use that much butter - it was way too much for us. I originally got the recipe here. Because Rhodes Rolls come in packages of three, I just make all three at a time; we eat one that night and freeze two for later (if I'm making this for just our family and not for the group). Just so it is said - my babe who is allergic to a slew of things, is also allergic to this - it is NOT gluten free.