This was my 5th freezer meal swap I have done, and let me be real...it was stressful...BUT well worth it! Planning it out went great, until the day of...morning filled with fellowship with other mama's at MOPS(no not what you use to clean your floor, it's a organization; Mothers of Preschoolers) followed by power cleaning my house with a friend so I could host 20 ladies total at my house to do a meal swap!
WHAT was I thinking!? Last meal swap was 10 people and we hardly fit, that was only 100 meals. I obviously wasn't thinking until we had set up the 3rd 8ft plastic table and I had my 10ft dining room table extended and hardly any walk way. So I contact our church and asked if we could swap there, they were so gracious to say yes, note they had their 1x a month board meeting at this exact same time. So the whole time we are swapping I'm dying inside because there was 20 - yes TWENTY ladies, 3 guys, and a few kids running around chatting having a good time(as I was trying to enjoy it I was dying because I didn't want to disturb their meeting and get in trouble)! But you know what .. at the end of the day, everything went well, everyone got 20 different meals so that's a total of 400 meals at one place, and everyone got home safe - some ladies traveled 1hr+ from Willmar, MN and Sioux Falls, SD.
Okay, okay ... enough chit chatting... how to start your own group:
*post on facebook
*ask ladies at your church
Don't know what to post? this is what I posted:
"Freezer Meal Friends: many of you have asked myself or Heather when the next swap will be. If people are interested I'm able to host a swap Oct 17 at my house. If you want to participate please comment below or pm me. I've had a request to have a group of 20 vs 10 so I will not limit it at 10 but keep it open to as many want to join up until Oct 1. I will cap at 20. All meals are different. You make x amount of participants for the same meal and bring to my house and swap with moms and bring meals home. Example: 15 moms participate; you make 15 lasagna on your own, come to my house and bring home 15 different meals. ***You need to be available to bring meals or have someone bring meals. We don't have the space to swap for people or hold meals."
...and then people commented, in less than 12 hours, all 20 spots were filled! - we only had 1 person not able to do it and had a waiting list of others who wanted in so easily filled it!
Then you send a private message:
"Hey Ladies! You all expressed interest in doing the freezer meal swap. If everyone would like to participate you would make 20 meals. Please read all of the notes on this message!
*You make 20 meals and keep one for yourself and bring the other 19 to the meal swap.
*We ask that they feed 4-5 people
*You can freeze in freezer zip lock bags or tin pans with tin foil over top. (It is easiest to make your meal and freeze it ahead of time so it's easier to transport for the meal swap.)
*You can make any meal of your choice pinterest has lots of great options! Otherwise look up the book “Don't Panic – Dinner's in the Freezer” on amazon. Don't Panic Dinners Freezer Cookbook
*Easiest to transport meals via cooler or laundry basket!
*Please include recipe for each meal and baking instructions!
*Swap will be Tuesday, October 17th at 7pm at my house – MARSHALL, MN
**Just make sure to comment on this message the meal you are going to make so multiple aren't made! If I left anything out please feel free to ask questions!**
**If you decided to not partake in the swap please let everyone know BY OCT 1st. so we aren't left with lots of extra meals! Also reminder we don't have space to hold meals and swap for people so please make sure you bring your meals or have someone lined up to do so."
If this is your first time a few tips to help you out:
*9x13 pans work great for casseroles - also buy the tin lids at Sam's Club for a few extra $ to make stacking easier!
*if you're doing soup - gallon size ziplock bag is generally enough for a family of 4! BUT make sure it is freezer bag.
*remember to label your meal on the actual container
*freezing is a must for easy transport, not only for yourself but for everyone!
*spend the little extra on name brand tin foil so that your meals don't get freezer burnt and double layer them if needed.
But seriously, all in all I would give this meal swap a 9/10....the ladies that participated were amazing, the meals look amazing - if you have ever wanted to do a swap start now! It's ok to have 5 people or be crazy like us and have 20 people!
Okay... now to the meals here is a PDF of the meals and I will list them below as well:
Potato Cheeseburger Soup
Shredded Chicken Burrito Bowls
Ground Beef Enchiladas
Hamburger Hasbrown Casserole
Cheese & Ham Potatoes
Tator Tot Hotdish
Crustless Ham & Broccoli Quiche
Cheesey, Rice, Broccoli, Chicken Casserole
Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Chicken Noodle Casserole
~~~meals in the making~~~
~~~The swap itself ~~~
This was 16/20 of us!