a MEAL EXCHANGE. (Kind of like a Cookie Exchange, but with an entree, instead.)
This was a great idea and since I was already getting prepared to start some Freezer Meals, this fit in perfectly with my plan.
The idea was to choose a recipe and make an assigned number of Meal Packs, according to the number of women participating. We would then meet at the host house and exchange our meals with one another.
I chose a simple meal called:
Since our magic number was 7 (7 women participating), I made a list of ingredients and multiplied it by 7; coming up with the correct amount of ingredients for 7 meals.
Then I headed to the store for all of this:
(We were to add everything needed, with the exception of eggs or meat.)
I chose frozen veggies (to avoid all the chopping and also because they are less expensive).
You have to make sure to have plenty of baggies on hand. In fact, I calculated these into the cost of the meal (making sure this was truly cost effective).
I bought fresh spices, so I wouldn't deplete what I had on hand. This was also calculated into the cost, although many of the normal spices can be found in most kitchens.
When I had the veggies divided into baggies, as well as the spices, I lined up the remaining ingredients, here, so I could have an assembly line.
Here's the finished product: 7 Meal Packets (minus the ground beef, one egg, and 1/3 cup milk).
We met at the host's house and everyone placed their meal packs on the table, then we each took one of each meal and placed it in our bags to carry home.
The total cost of my 7 meals, was approximately $20.00, which comes to about $2.87 each. When you add about $3.00 of ground beef, one egg, and a little milk, you will MAYBE have a total of $6.00. With 6 servings, you're looking at about $1.00 per serving.
This was a great idea and I will most definitely be doing one of these at my own house - soon! However, the one glitch was that someone backed out at the last minute. This is not cool when you have 6 ladies who have already invested in 7 meals and are expecting to come home with 6 different meals. As it was, I came home with 2 of my own and only 5 different meals.
Another thing I noticed was there was a big descrepency in the amount of prep time each meal required. One lady had her husband chopping onions, celery, and peppers, while someone else simply picked up a box of spaghetti, sauce, and a box of garlic bread (which we had for lunch today!).
These aren't criticisms as much as just observations and brain storming as to what I will do differently when I do this in my circle of friends. When I get to that point, I will share my ideas.
For now, I will just say that I am extremely happy to have a week's worth of meals in my freezer!
This will make my journey into Freezer Meal Prep much easier this week, as I won't have to think too hard about dinner.
Tomorrow I will share more about Meal Prep and what I did today when I was baking cookies.