Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Meal Exchange Group!

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!

Last night was our first exchange!
Yoga pants & sweatshirts = the mandatory attire :)
I also served some wine and a yummy hot pepper jelly cream cheese dip.
Mommies unite!

We're excited about where we can go from here! And who knws - maybe next time we'll have more mommies joining in the fun!

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

Hawaiian Chicken
5 breasts
1 can pineapple
1 jar of Hawaiian BBQ sauce
Add 1/2 cup water when it goes into crock pot
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.

Peach Chipotle Chicken
5 chicken breasts
One 18 oz. Bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
1 jar Smucker’s Peach Preserves {18 oz.}

Chicken Cacciatore
5 chicken breasts
1 (26 oz) jar of chunky vegetable-style spaghetti sauce
1 zucchini, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.
Serve with cooked spaghetti noodles and parm cheese.

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
5 chicken breasts
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours). Sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary for serving.
Barbecued Chicken
5 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Cook on LOW for 4 - 6 hours.

Salsa Chicken
5 chicken breasts
1 - 15 1/4 oz can corn, drained
1 - 15 1/4 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 16 oz. jar of salsa
Cook on LOW for 4-6  hours. When done, take 2 forks and shred the chicken and mix all together.
Wrap on tortillas for serving.

Teriyaki Chicken
  5 chicken breasts
1/2 bag of baby carrots
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.

Orange Chicken
5 chicken breasts
3/4 cup Smuckers Sweet Orange Marmalade
3/4 cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.


Cheryl said...

Oh I really needed some new recipes and these are a blessing to me. Thank you for your post