Tuesday, April 8, 2008

BUDGET IDEA DINNER SWAP

This is something I must share and I hope it's a blessing to many. Myself and five girlfriends are doing something we call Dinner Swap. It's a money saver, a time saver and a wonderful ministry!

Here are some of the details:

  • We each make SIX yes, 6 portions of a meal including one for our own family.
  • We meet at a sheduled time and give out our prepared meals, so each of us walks away with 5 new meals that only need to be heated (or baked) plus probably the sixth one that we all have admitted we either don't make or use what is left--keeping in mind Phil 2:3 where God tells us to think of others as better than ourselves.
  • We spend between $30-60 on the food (and containers) and we've all seem to spend between one and four hours preparation to prepare the bulk meal. If someone only spent about $30+ they add something extra, like healthy whole grain pancakes that we can use for another meal, or corn muffins or a healthy loaf of homemade bread.

This has worked out so amazing for us all. We are all pretty much in shock that it hasn;t been a disaster thus far. Our husbands love it! There's no way I'd be able to prepare 6 meals (mostly gourmet type) for my family in a three hour time span. And, I'd never be able to make these types of meals on this budget. But, because you buy in bulk, it's much cheaper.

When it comes time for dinner, I just shop in my freezer or fridge and follow the directions that one of my lovely sisters provided on the container!

Here's what each family of 4-7 people ate the first week:

Chicken Piccata (Weight Watchers style which was delicioso)

Vegetable Lasagna (zucchini, mushrooms, red pepper with white or whole wheat noodles)

Turkey chili, which was by far the best ever!

Good Chicken (a recipe with apricots and russian dressing, yum!)

Sausage and Peppers (WOW)

Chicken Enchiladas (My husband was upset that we only had one HUGE tray and not five!)

I highly recommend this Dinner Swap.

  • What we all did was chat about our likes and dislikes and we all happen to want very healthy food. We decided on portions of 4 chicken breasts per family and if we have extra that we throw it in for the larger families. (We all said we shouldn't eat so much anyway!) The chicken for the chicken piccata was filleted, so we all had about 9 pieces--a lot of leftovers with almost every meal! We can easily supplement with salad and/or bread if there isn't enough one week. Using say Gladware containers that are about 8-10 cups, those get about 3/4 filled with sauce/chili. Pastas and rice aren't included unless it's part of the dish (like lasagna or a casserole.) We all have also said that we take all this as a blessing to our families so we have all been very gracious and thankful.
  • Even those who were stressed the day of because they felt stressed by preparing the large amounts, realized it's worth it--financially and time wise. It just takes a little planning and time management.
  • Twice now I've divided my prep to a little bit of time one night and a little time the next day. I even had enough meat sauce this week to give dinner to a neighbor/friend and stash away a few extra portions for my own family.

This week's menu:

Meat sauce (ground sausage/beef), eggplant parm, monastery stew, pot roast with veggies, chicken parm. Can't wait!

If anyone wants more details or has questions, please ask! I think this is one of those gems!

5 comments:

Sara Mincy said...

Wow- what a great idea! I think I would love to try it at some point.

Fee said...

Katie...... that sounds like an excellent idea!It's just to find 5 ladies whose domestic helpers don't make them dinner!!!!! I think that might be hard over here! We ara a bit spoilt here!

Fee said...

Hi there dear friend....... come on over and see what you've been awarded!!!
You deserve it!

Halfmoon Girl said...

Came over by way of Fee. Funny enough, I was just working on my freezer dinners for my group tonight! We flucuate between 5 or 6 people. When we are 5, we do 3 different meals each, when we are 6, we do 2 meals each. This time it is spaghetti sauce and honey garlic chicken for me. We meet on Monday morning for breakfast and meal distribution. I just love having ready made dinners!

Summerdayblues said...

This is brilliant! I will try to find some friends to try it out.