I love hanging out with other moms, because that is often where I get the best ideas. Tried and true, right?
One of the moms in my group suggested we try a freezer meal swap. I am so glad I did this! We meet up monthly and boy is it nice to come home with 7 other meals to put in the freezer.
Here’s how it works:
The concept is so simple. We limited it to 8 people. One person hosts each month. On the designated day at the designated place, we get together for a play date, and bring our favorite freezer friendly meal. Times seven. So you bring seven of the same meal, enough to serve families of 4-6, and the cooking instructions. Each person leaves with 7 different meals, just like a cookie swap.
I mean, duh! Why haven’t we always been doing this?
If you’d like to know the specifics of how I did this, here you go!
I went grocery shopping, of course, got all my materials, and set to work. I chose to do an Italian pasta bake. Sometimes I call it Rigatoni if I’m using Rigatoni noodles, but they aren’t mandatory. Finish reading this post, and you’ll get the recipe!
We actually only had 7 people, so I made six to freeze and one for dinner for us tonight. The recipe I use is so simple and easy, it really didn’t take much longer to do six extra ones. I put assembled them and wrapped them up, printed the recipe and taped one on each meal, and stuck them in the freezer. Then I put the seventh one in the oven, and dinner was done!
In addition to being simple, it was inexpensive. Total cost for one full family meal was about $5.00. I spent roughly $35.00, if that much. We had dinner tonight for our family of five, leftovers for my hubs to take for lunch, and I’ll get six more dinners tomorrow at the exchange. Not bad!
I can’t wait to get my meals tomorrow that I can pull out of the freezer on those days that I just don’t feel like cooking.
If you have a group of friends that you think would be willing to do this with you, I highly suggest a freezer meal swap. The other key element is to share what you are bringing so that not everyone will make the same thing. Our meals are pretty varied – chicken and rice casserole, baja chicken for burritos, baked spaghetti, and so forth.
So here is my simple, 6 item recipe.
Italian Pasta Bake
1 Box of Pasta
1 can of mushrooms
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb ground meat (any kind you like)
1 bag of pepperoni (full size or mini)
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese
1. Cook pasta and drain.
2. Brown meat and drain.
3. Layer pasta, meat, pepperoni, mushrooms, sauce, and cheese. Repeat.
4. Bake at 350deg for 30 mins or until cheese is melted.
(from frozen, bake at 350 for one hour to 1.5 hours)
And of course, I forgot to take a picture of it after it was cooked, but it was YUMMY! Everyone enjoyed it.
Easy, delish, inexpensive.
What is your favorite go-to quick meal?