Monday, February 21, 2011

Meal Exchange

I've been in a bit of a cooking rut as of late. I find myself thinking of the same handful of recipes when I plan the weekly menu. Tacos, veggie pasta, soup, burritos, salad. Needless to say, both Jose and I have been getting a little bored with what's on our dinner plates. Luckily, I got an email from a friend in my moms' group at church inviting me to do a meal exchange. In case you've never done this before, the way it works is that each person makes a single meal for all of the other people in the exchange. Then, you get together and trade.

So, last Wednesday, I found myself spending about two and a half hours buried in noodles, sauce, veggies and ground turkey. (Figuratively, of course.) I ended up making six lasagnas to trade and one to give to a pregnant friend. While the project was intense, I reminded myself that I could go an entire week without really needing to cook. Or...that whenever I felt too busy, tired or overwhelmed to cook, I could just pull a homemade meal right out of the freezer. I don't know when I will cook my friends' meals, but I am excited that I have something that I know will be delicious because each of them decided it was good enough to share. No mediocre meals here!
It may not look beautiful, but I can't wait to dig in!

This is the first time I've done a meal exchange, but I've learned a couple basic tips that might help you. Choose something that is not too expensive or complicated, or else you will be in the kitchen all day and won't save any money. If possible, purchase your ingredients in bulk or on sale. (I had the unfortunate experience of trekking all the way to Costco and discovering that they do not carry lasagna noodles, aluminum loaf pans, or zucchini. Griffin was not happy making two grocery stops.) Give your meals in containers that do not need to be returned to you, but can hopefully be recycled. Oh, and make sure you have room in your freezer for the size of container you choose.

You can exchange with a whole group like I did or you could just exchange a couple meals with a single friend. Any way you look at it, a meal exchange is a great way to pull yourself right out of a dinner rut.
Griffin: checking out the newly stocked freezer

A few recipe ideas:

1 comment:

  1. A meal exchange sounds like an awesome idea! Now I just need to find some people to exchange with :)


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