Sunday, June 03, 2012

Once a Month Cooking Part 4: Freezer Meal Co-op

I've blogged before about meal preparation and once a month cooking before, but I have an update.

After Cason was born we enjoyed meals from family, meals from friends and meals I had stockpiled in our freezer. Once those started to run out however, I knew I didn't have the energy to stand and cook for an entire day to stockpile for the month. So, I started a freezer meal co-op.

Essentially it works like this. Six women get assigned two recipes each month. They make each of those meals times six (for twelve meals total) and stick them in their freezer. We then get together, swap meals, and go home with twelve different meals to put in our freezer.

We typically make 10 dinners and two breakfasts (five to six chicken recipes and four to five beef/pork/fish recipes). I make up the menu each month and assign each gal her recipe, trying to spread around the easy marinade meals and the harder/more complex menus.

It's worked wonderfully. It's much easier to make big batches of two recipes than to put together 16 different meals in one day, plus I get an afternoon of hanging out with friends once a month when we do our swap.

Each month I gather recipes from blogs, pinterest and Facebook many of them coming from Once a Month Mom, Six Sisters Stuff, Saved by the Freezer, Freezer Meals for Us and Everyday Paleo. I try to keep the menu simple, healthy and mostly whole foods, but we do let the occasional pasta dish sneak in there from time to time. If you're looking for good freezer meals, you can always check out my recipes at WeGottaEat. I usually go back and star our favorites after we've eaten them.

For our June swap we decided to have a potluck dinner together so everyone could meet everyone else's husband and children. Danny smoked a pork butt and we moved the couch out of the way to fit some tables. It was chaotic and fun. Somehow all of the children ended up at the big table and the adults at the card tables. It was a comical sight looking up to see five youngsters chatting away in a foreign baby language and eating finger food.

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