Cooking Parties & Meal Exchanges

by Beth Montgomery on September 10, 2009

in Cooking Tips & Tricks, Frugal Cooking, Frugal Series

With the final post coming out next week, we’re wrapping up our Freezer Series with a fun event to help you have many meals on hand quickly.

While many of us have participated in a cookie exchange around Christmas time, the idea of a meal exchange has never crossed our mind. OAMC may sound appealing to you, but the work involved is an absolute turn off. Instead of doing it all yourself, try it with friends.

There are two options for cooking with your friends to split the load. If you have a large enough kitchen, invite your friends over to cook. Each of you prepare 1 or 2 meals for every family involved in the Cooking Party. Each person brings his/her own ingredients and spend the day cooking together. When you leave, grab one of each meal to take home and freeze.

If, like me, you’d never fit that many people in your kitchen or have the room for a Cooking Party, try a simple Meal Exchange. In this scenario, each family involved prepares 1 or 2 meals beforehand, then you meet and swap. It’s simple!

The greatest part of a Meal Exchange or Cooking Party is that you get to enjoy some meals that you wouldn’t necessarily have cooked yourself. It’s a chance for your family to try new things. Plus, it saves you money to buy items in bulk and prepare one meal for several families.

1) Set limits before hand so everyone is on the same page. For example, make sure everyone knows to prepare 2 meals per family participating. Also make sure they know that each meal should cost approximately $5 a meal and include 5 servings. This stops one family from preparing fillet mignon, while another makes sloppy joes, and evens up the costs.

2) Make sure everyone submits their recipe beforehand, so you don’t have two of the same meal. This creates variety.

3) Instead of making 2 different meals, have each family double the servings in a meal to create more food for everyone participating. For larger groups, only make 1 meal per participating family.

4) Make sure each family notifies the others of any allergies beforehand!

5) Keep is simple. If you overdo it or make it too complicated, no one will want to participate.

Check out the entire Freezer Series HERE to see what you missed!

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