It's time for another Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family and I'm sharing tips for a freezer meal swap. This freezer meal swap worked for me because I came away with some great dishes that are ready to thaw and heat. That's what I'm talkin' about. This will be ideal when I'm short on time or just don't want to cook one night. You know those nights.:) I came away with chicken enchiladas, mexican stuffed shells, spaghetti with meat sauce and creamy italian chicken with noodles(pictured below).
I joined with a few other ladies from my church to do this swap. My friend, Renee, organized and set out some guidelines and tips for us to go by when doing our swap, which I thought was a very good idea.It's always better to have a plan. She did a great job at organizing it. See her tips below.
Some of the things Renee had us consider and guidelines to use were:
1. What type of container to freeze your meal in. It's usually not a good idea to freeze in containers that you need back. Use disposable aluminum pans that can be found at WM and Dollar Stores. Freeze soups or sauces in large freezer bags(like the pic above). Try to get out as much air as possible to freeze flat. Also, you can freeze in your own pan, such as a 9x13, by lining it with foil first. When it is frozen, just remove the whole thing and wrap in foil. The person receiving it can then use their own pan to cook it in.
2. Make the same number of the same meal as the number of people in your swap. (I did 4 meals since their were 4 of us in the swap)Also, make sure the meal will feed 6 to 8 people, taking into consideration those with larger families.
3. So that no one feels shorted , plan on a good quality meal. It doesn't have to be expensive, but shouldn't be minimal either. For example, if you made a nice casserole, pasta or meat it wouldn't be fair to exchange and get Kraft macaroni and cheese.
4.If your sauce, soup, casserole needs pasta, rice or potatoes to go with it, you do not need to include that except where it is a main part of the dish like a baked spaghetti or something like that. (However, one of our participants did include the noodles in a bag with hers.That was nice,huh.)
5.Cook the meat you exchange. No uncooked meat in a casserole or marinade to avoid any potential problems.
6. Consider bringing a cooler to the swap to store your meals in.
7. Label your dishes with what it is and cooking instructions.( A good example is her dish below)
8. Make and freeze your food ahead so if you can not make the actual swap you can still pass your food along to the others.
Renee also hosted our first swap at her home with a light lunch.(I couldn't make it because I had family in)It would also be good to rotate the swap each month so the same person isn't hosting it every month. We planned for 3 months, Oct/Nov./Dec. Maybe I'll host next month.
I hope these freezer meal swap tips and guidelines work for you!