Who can resist a freezer full of home cooked meals to grab on the days life just get too busy…by pass that drive-thru and head home for dinner that someone else cooked!
A freezer full of home cooked meals? There is an easy way to get it without cooking 10 different meals at one time and filling up your freezer…can you imagine the cost, time or mess that would make?!
Here is your answer: host a freezer meal swap with your family and friends.
Here are the simple steps to fill your freezer:
1) Send out the invitation explaining a “meal swap” to your family and friends to see who is interested in participating. Our group uses Evite (a free online invitation website) and we have found it to be a great place to communicate with each other on who is participating and what they are bringing each month.
- We choose to limit the number of participants to 10 a month.
- You will need to set a date and place for the swap. Our group meets the second Tuesday of each month at the same location and same time.
2) Each participant will RSVP and list the home cooked freezer meal that they will be preparing.
3) One week before the swap you will need to send out an email to all participants with the number of meals they will need to prepare (ie: if there are 8 participants each person will need to make 8 of the same meal, 7 to swap and one for their family). The meals need to have 4-6 servings and be prepared in a 8×8 or 9×9 disposable/freezable dish or a freezer zip-lock bag.
Here is the process of my April meal exchange:
I chose a meal that was simple and only a few ingredients (I strive to keep my meal exchange cost at $50-$60…some times it does go over depending on the number of participants and number of ingredients I need). I also try to shop the sales throughout the month to save on the ingredients…this month I got buy 1 get 2 free on my chicken!
Here are my meals (4-6 servings) prepared and ready to package.
It does take a few hours of a day to prepare these dishes, but boy are they worth it when dinner time creeps up on you and you have not thought once about it…or when you know your day is going to be busy and you want to feed your family a home cooked meal over a drive-thru.
I placed the prepared chicken in press n seal package and then placed in a freezer zip-lock bag that has the name of recipe, cooking instructions and participants name (having names on each meal helps out during the swap part to ensure everyone leaves with your dish). If you use an 8×8/9×9 dish make sure you use plastic wrap/press n seal then foil on top and write the name of recipe, cooking instructions and participants name on top w/a sharpie.
Placed in my freezer, ready for swap day.
We all meet for a quick “swap” with our coolers. We unload the meals we cooked and head home with a variety of new meals to stock our freezers with!
Some notes to remember when doing an exchange:
- Each participant can print out their recipe to include with their meal OR you can have everyone email the recipe to you and you email it to everyone in a file or save in a google share file for all to look up.
- If someone can not make it to the swap you can have them drop off their cooler of meals to take for them.
- You can choose to do MAIN dish only but if the recipe calls for noodles/rice or bread, include a 4-6 serving amount with your dish.
- Some ladies have opted to do 2 meals a month (if you don’t have 10 participants signed up) to help stock a new mom’s freezer once she has had her little one.
- If your normal 10 participants opt not to participate for several months you may want to let them know that if they do not participate for 3 consecutive months you will need to try and fill their spot with a new participant.
- You can also have an alternate list of participants who can’t participate each month but would like to know if a spot opens up one month to participate.
Time to start Swapping Meals and Stocking Your Freezer!