A couple months ago I mentioned to my friend Bess that we should start a meal exchange group. One of my goals for the new year is to meal plan better and work on having meals in the freezer. And Bess is 39 weeks pregnant with her 3rd baby and works from home, so some help in the dinner department sounded great to her. A couple weeks later she and I were at the zoo with a few other sweet mommy friends and I took that opportunity to ask them if joining a meal exchange group would be something they would be interested in. Everyone agreed without hesitation! At that point we had 5. But the number 8 sounded good to us so we threw out a few names of other mommy friends who we thought might be interested...I went home and emailed them that day. Within 24 hours we had our group of 8!
Between the 8 of us we have 10 kids under the age of 9...with 2 more babies arriving very soon. And 8 of those 10 kids are under the age of 4! Some are working mommies, some have infants at home, some have husbands that travel a lot.
So (with the help of Pinterest) I came up with our game plan:
1. Set a date & time for our exchange
2. Agree on 8 recipes (because there are 8 in the group)
3. Each mommy pick which recipe she would "assemble"
4. Make that recipe 8 times (writing the meal name & cooking instructions on each container)
5. Bring 7 of those meals to the exchange night
6. Enjoy some wine and mommy time
7. Go home with 7 different meals!
Some things we did that was helpful:
1. For this time, we did all chicken meals - that way we could all stay within a similar budget.
2. We let each other know when chicken went on sale at certain stores.
3. We stayed mindful of allergies and family eating habits - that's why everyone had to approve the list of recipes before we began picking which to make.
4. This time, we did all crock-pot friendly meals - we have said that we can get fancy with our meal selections later but for our first time, we kept it simple.
Where I found this month's recipes:
The Frugal Girls - www.thefrugalgirls.com/category/crockpot-recipe
Six Sister's Stuff - www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/09/slow-cooker-freezer-meals-make-8-meals.html
Mama:Inspired - www.mamainspired.com/2013/01/mass-crock-pot-dinners.html
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
5 chicken breasts
1 red onion cut in chunks
1 can undrained pineapple chunks
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours - serve over rice.