Host A Cook-In: Skillet Meals

Gather with friends and enjoy a cook-in event. It's easier than you think.

Gather with friends and enjoy a cook-in event. It’s easier than you think. (photo by

Imagine getting together with several friends, relatives or neighbors. Everyone is chopping vegetables, mixing ingredients, or cooking  while sharing stories or discussing a new book.

An hour later the take-home containers are bagged and sitting next to your coat and you are all sitting around the table enjoying a meal made that evening with plenty of planned-overs to use throughout the week.

This is what we call a cook-in and here are a few tips and tricks…..

 There are lots of ways to host a cook-in. To keep it simple one person will want to be the coordinator and generally the process starts like this:

  1. The coordinator chooses the theme or asks for suggestions. Everyone sends in recipes based on the theme.and decides which recipes would use the same ingredients.
  2. The coordinator makes a list of ingredients and quantities needed for each recipe and adds extra for planned-overs.
  3. The place, day and time is decided by polling each person.
  4. The coordinator or team member examines the recipe directions to list all cooking equipment needed to prepare the meals or prep the ingredients.
  5. One member gathers bags and containers for taking food home.
  6. The coordinator sends out a list of food  or cooking items each needs to bring for the cook-in.
  7. Make sure you bring shallow pans and ice to cool the food quickly before bagging to take home.
  8. At the cook-in, each person chooses which part of the meal they will work on. 
  9. After cooking, quickly cool the ingredients in a pan over ice water then bag and freeze if necessary.

Chicken  Vegetable  Skillet Meal

Your cook-in theme could be Skillet Meals  Your recipes would then include a skillet meal and side dishes that complement each other. Here is just one of many options.


  • Chicken Vegetable Skillet Meal
  • Basic Biscuit Mix
  • Biscuits
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Oriental Stir Fry
  • Rice pudding

Directions:  for 4 families of four

prices calculate using  or Cash and Carry in Bellingham, WA

  •  ($7) Cook 20 C Basmati rice in 3 batches
  • ($23) Slice and brown 10 lbs of chicken breast
  • ($10) Mix 32 C biscuit mix
  •  ($15) Repackage 5 Lbs of frozen cut green beans. 5 lbs frozen carrots and 5 lbs frozen mixed vegetables into 12 oz portions (2 C)
  • ($7) Divide 1 jar of Better than Bullion® into 4 containers
  • ($0.90) repackage 2 oz thyme and 2 oz  rosemary and 2 oz cinnamon into 4  packages of each
  • ($3.70) Divide 5# bag of mixed salad greens into 4 bags.
  • Reserve enough ingredients to cook the Chicken Vegetable Skillet Meal. Sit around the table, eat and enjoy.

With these prepackaged ingredients and staples from your pantry you have the foundation to assemble these meals:

1. Chicken vegetable skillet meal,  green salad with balsamic vinaigrette, fruit of choice

2. Chicken pot pie, green salad with mixed nuts and fruit, yogurt based fruit

3. Chicken vegetable stir fry, green salad, veggie egg drop soup,  rice pudding.

4. Use what you have left over to make a 4th meal.  Total cost was about $67 for 4 families. Price does not include ingredients from your pantry but the cost is well under the $10 per meal goal.

Tips N Tricks:

1. Mark each package with directions and date for use.

2. Freeze some of the planned-overs to be used later for  emergencies.

3. The coordinator usually brings the bulk staple items like: 25# rice 50# potatoes, 5# bags of lettuce mix and 10# mixed frozen veggies.