Make-and-take dinner prep

chopcarrotMy mom (hi, Mom!) had a great idea that one of the Grange food activities we could do is a make-and-take entree prep night. I’d put together a menu of three more or less complete meals, using complimentary ingredients, and do the shopping. People would sign up for the number of servings they’d like. We’d prep all the food together and assemble finished meals into our own containers, then take them home for use that week or to freeze.

It’s similar to what they do at Main Dish and other “build-an-entree” places, only we’d focus on using local, natural ingredients instead of ingredients like this.

I’ve worked up three sample “suites” of foods. They each work out to about $2/serving. What do you think of the idea? These menus? The price? Would you want more vegetarian options? Would you do this on a Sunday night in February?

Menu 1:

  • Roast chicken w/mashed potatoes
  • Chicken enchilada bake
  • Lentil-veggie “pie” topped with mashed potatoes

Menu 2:

  • Pork and veggie stir fry w/rice
  • Saag dal over rice
  • Coconut curry (with rice, or prep rice noodles at home)

Menu 3:

  • Meatballs
  • Kale balls
  • Kale, bean, and meatball soup
  • Lasagna


  1. December 18, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I think it’s a great idea for those who like the assemble/freeze thing. I tend to want to throw my own stuff together. The menus look great, though, and it’s wonderful to have something like this that’s local and not corporate. You’re really going great guns with this, Emily!

  2. kate said,

    December 18, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    i think it’s great. i was really tempted by the idea of these corporate places until i found out some of the details, including the ingredients.

  3. MK said,

    December 18, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    It’s a great idea – I’ve done this several times with a group of friends and it is fun to do, but it always takes us at least 3 hours. I’m a stickler for the math – don’t you have to pay the Grange money to use the facility? If so, it will cost more than $2/serving to do this.

    Meatballs, lasagna and enchiladas all work well for freezing, I have found. I also freeze pasties and chili. My family will not eat vegetarian entrees in general, or dark meat chicken, so I probably wouldn’t be a good fit for these menus. Also, FWIW, I have yet to find a mashed potato recipe that tastes good after freezing, so you might want to try that out first before you do it and let me know what recipe works! I would love it.

    Good luck with it all!

  4. Ken said,

    December 18, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Weirdly, I had already assumed this was on the list of sorts of things you planned to do! I think it sounds like a great idea =)

    I’ll be watching closely with an eye toward replication…

  5. TeacherPatti said,

    December 18, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    I’d do anything w/o pork…this is a great idea!!!

  6. Emily said,

    December 18, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    MK – You’re right; I will most likely have to pay hall rental. Thanks for the reminder! As for mashed potatoes, I have made this shepherd’s pie before. The potatoes do tend to “melt” into the gravy a bit, but it’s quite tasty. Plain mashed potatoes actually reheat quite well with a bit of extra milk.

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