Are you tired of making the same things for dinner every week? Would you like to add some new variety to your dinner line-up, and have some easy, fast, meals available in your freezer? If you have friends who also feel this way, consider starting a dinner swap group.
A dinner swap group is a group of busy people who get together once a month, every two months, or however often works for you, and swap meals. Each person picks one meal and makes one for every member of the group. Then you get together and swap! You go in with 10 of your famous chicken cacciatore casserole (which your family is tired of), and come out with 10 new, different, and best of all, pre-made meals for your family to try. Sound good? Here are some different ways to consider when starting a dinner swap group of your own.
When you first form your group, make sure to take note of any allergies among the members. You don’t want to make a meal that one family won’t be able to use because of an allergy.
You can either have everyone bring their meal in a disposable pan, already labeled with cooking instructions, or you can all get together with your prepared ingredients and spend the day assembling. It is probably easier for you to assemble your one meal several times in the comfort of your own home. Then, when you get together you can spend the time with your friends chatting.
Don’t forget to include the recipe, as well as cooking instructions. Your friends may enjoy your meal so much they’ll want to make it again.
Consider assigning everyone a theme. This way you don’t end up with 3 types of chicken enchiladas. If one person has Mexican, another Italian, you can get a bigger variety of dishes.
Have a group theme or contest. Some ideas include, who can find a great recipe using the fewest ingredients, the fastest to prepare, fastest to get on the table from freezer, or the least expensive.
Make sure you have plenty of room in your freezer for all the delicious meals you will be bringing home.
Some ideas that work well for freezing as a dinner swap meal include casseroles, hot dishes, soups and stews, and marinated meat and chicken for baking or barbequeing. The idea is that you want something that can be pulled from the freezer the night before, thawed, then cooked with minimal effort.
Decide whether you will include side dishes. Generally, it isn’t a big time saver to have rice measured out in a Ziploc bag already, and you can dump frozen vegetables into the steamer pretty easily yourself. Perhaps a better idea would to include side dish “suggestions” with your main dish meal. For a lot of us, the hardest part is coming up with ideas.