Mealtime Mama: Pre-make family dinners at a freezer meal workshop

Kathleen and Kristy
Kathleen and Kristy with prepared meals ready for the freezer.

By Kathleen Villar, mama of 3

Have you seen the pictures on Facebook? All of those smiling moms, clutching Ziploc bags and posing with their friends next to coolers full of bagged meals?

Not long after the pictures appear on Facebook, these same smiling moms update their statuses to say, “Just home from soccer and Chicken Broccoli Alfredo is waiting.” If you’re like me, you wonder how they pulled it off.

Well, now I know. They participated in a Pampered Chef freezer meal workshop.

Pampered Chef’s freezer meal workshops are the answer to this busy mom’s need for a delicious meal and the best part is that it’s really like a party. I’ve done these workshops before with the Fayetteville MOMS Club as a MNO and it was so much fun!

You invite your friends, decide on a date, then you all create 10 wonderful meals that will sit in your freezer until you need them.  I admit … I need them a lot.

How does a Pampered Chef Freezer Meal Workshop work?

Find a consultant and pick a date. I have been to two workshops set up by Rachel Alden. She’s easy to work with and has lots of workshops each month, some she even does at her own home. You can email her at or visit her website here.

Choose a menu! When you set up a freezer meal workshop, you get to choose your menu. All the menus are preset and your Pampered Chef consultant will provide you with lots of choices.

Most of the menus have only crock pot meals, but there are a few that add in meals to be grilled and one workshop is entirely soups.

seasoningsThe menus really offer something for everyone and substitutions are encouraged, like using chicken instead of shrimp. Based upon the menu you use, the price for all the spices, rubs and oils you will order is typically between $60-70.

Prior to the workshop, your consultant will send out a fresh grocery item list and instructions on how to divide up and prepare your meat. Lots of the items on your grocery list you will find in your own fridge (i.e. mayo or sour cream). You will be shocked at the amount of meat you will buy.

I suggest buying your meat at Sam’s Club to cut costs. The consultant I have used asks that everyone open up and trim (if necessary) their meat at home to prevent contamination. Then your meat will be divided up into the assigned Ziploc freezer bags.

The day of the workshop you bring your fresh ingredients (broccoli, shallots, peppers, etc…) and your meat (in a large cooler) to the workshop location. Each participant will have a “station” ready for them with their Pampered Chef seasonings, labels with instructions for your freezer bags and all ten recipes.

The next step is the easiest. Using freezer Ziploc bags as your “bowl” and following the recipes, you just start putting your meals together. The consultant will have brought all the utensils and tools that you need.  It is a great opportunity to try out and discover new kitchen tools. My consultant keeps everything washed and cleaned up as the group cooks, which is amazing! Clean-up is my least favorite part of cooking.

It takes me about 2.5-3 hours to put all ten meals together, but I will be honest and say that I do chit-chat while I “cook.”

moms cooking
Friends in the kitchen help make cooking more fun!

It’s fun to cook with your friends and just knowing that I am filling my freezer up makes me happy. When everyone is finished assembling their meals and has filled up their coolers, you receive a folder with all the recipes, cooking instructions and side dish suggestions.

As the perfect ending to an afternoon in the kitchen with friends, Rachel makes a yummy chocolate caramel cake for us all to share.

I have to add here that I am cooking for a family of five: myself, my husband and three kids (7, 5, and 1).  Each “meal” when cooked usually feeds our family at least twice. None of us are adventurous eaters and like typical kids, each has their own likes and dislikes.

With that being said, everyone has eaten the meals from the workshops and we have all liked everything. It is an amazing feat that any mother of multiple kids will appreciate. The meals are flavorful, diverse and make my house smell so good!

Now let me go see what we are having for dinner tomorrow, Cherry Balsamic Pork Chops or Honey Rosemary Chicken?  I love this new kind of cooking!

food in freezer
Decisions, decisions…

Kathleen Villar is the mama of three adorable children and loves to take them on adventures around Northwest Arkansas. She wasn’t compensated in any way to write this review. All opinions are her own.

1 Comment

  1. This looks like great fun. I’ve done this on my own before and it was a major, exhausting production. So much more fun with a group of friends! Visiting via ARWB.

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