Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesdays With Traci

Meal Swap – One of the best things I did this year

First, this is not for everyone. If you are a picky eater or have family members with severe allergies you can stop reading here, this post is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you like to have home-cooked meals, eat a wide variety of foods, and like the ease of having dinner ready in the freezer, you may want to give this a shot.

What the meal swap entails:
*4-6 ladies
*Each lady makes 1 meal for the number of ladies in the swap
*On a set day of the month everyone gets together to swap meals. If there are 6 ladies each person will leave with 6 different meals.
*There is a money cap per meal; ours is $6.
*Most meals can be stored in Ziploc bags. This not only saves room in the freezer but money because you aren't buying aluminum containers every month. (To the right is a picture of 6 freezer meals stored vertically in my freezer.)
*Menus, dietary restrictions, meal sizes, and other issues are agreed upon by the ladies in the swap.

Here are some great websites to get freezer meals: http://freezerchicks.blogspot.com/ ,
http://www.30daygourmet.com,/ http://www.once-a-month-cookingworld.com/ , http://www.recipezaar.com/.

There are several books at the library about freezer meals/once-a-month cooking. Another book that I just found and fell in love with is Fix-It and Forget-It, 5-Ingredient Favorites.

We’ve been doing the meal swap for a year now and our group has ebbed and flowed. There are only two of the original ladies me being one of them. But our group actually birthed a new group last month so the idea is catching on.

Finally, I want to leave you with one of our meal swap favorites:

Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole
½ cup onion, chopped
1 box wild rice, prepared
1 c mayo
1 c cheddar cheese
1 can green beans
1 can cream of celery
3 shredded chicken breasts

1. Sauté onions in butter.
2. Add everything else in mixing bowl.
3. Put mixture in 11 x 13 dish.
4. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes (or until bubbly).

For freezing: Prepare as directed in steps 1 and 2. Then put in a Ziploc bag and freeze flat. For eating: Thaw in bag. Continue with steps 3 and 4.

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