Freezer Swap

Today, I participated in my first drug deal.

I dropped my kids at school, drove to the parking lot of a church (I know, right?) and met up with some people who have the stuff I like. We all gathered between our SUVs and minivans, exchanged the goods, and went home feeling like we could do anything.

What would I do with my new found freedom? Take a week off? Stay up all night? Spend naptime napping myself? The possibilities were endless, folks.

But really – I participated in my first freezer meal swap today, and I want to share how we did it, so you can get the good stuff and feel like you can fly.

This is actually my second swap, but my first one was a crock pot meal swap. In that swap, we met at someone’s home, we did all of the crazy chopping together and bagged up our stuff, and we each went home with 4 crock pot ready meals in gallon ziplock bags.

I was invited to join this freezer swap group recently. My street cred had somehow been established, and I was issued an invite to join on this group’s second round.

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Based on how we did our swap, I’m sharing some rules about how to get this going in your life.

  1. Choose your swap group carefully. Know that chick who never puts in enough for the bill at a restaurant? She’s the same one who will stiff you at the swap. The one who always cancels last minute? She’ll bail. Choose dependable, reliable people who will stick to the deadline, the rules, and the spirit of the swap.
  2. Stick to the spirit of the swap. What is the spirit of the swap? Again, know thy group — our group all has small children, and we all eat everything. This is an omnivores swap. We have a few husbands who don’t like onions, but for the most part, no foods are off limits – this makes it immensely easier to swap. I love my friends with food allergies, but a meal swap may not be for them. Stick to your kind for the swapping. Additionally, we all want the meals to feed big families with big eaters and have some leftovers- so this isn’t a skimpy swap.
  3. Include it all: meals should contain everything needed to make the meal. If it’s a soup, give a box of broth; if it’s taco soup, include the bag of tortilla chips. If it’s a meatloaf, it should have a veggie side. You get the point.
  4. Be clear: be clear on your directions for each item. I wasn’t as clear as I should have been, but the best meals are in a foil pan, cooked, sealed in a bag with the name of the meal and the instructions clearly included. Remember, you’re going to be digging through your freezer to get these out, and the easier they are to identify and make, the more helpful they are.
  5. Set clear parameters: your swap could be an Instant Pot swap, or a Crock pot swap, or a things are already cooked and frozen swap, or a healthy swap- just be really clear so everyone knows what to do.
  6. Group text must exist: today I was told – text when you make your meal! Report back to the group, share what you loved, anything you learned while reheating it, and what the reviews were. This is the fun part.
  7. Extras are fun: during this swap, someone included a breakfast casserole as an extra, someone else made ginger molasses cookies to be baked, and someone else had homemade applesauce. The more the merrier.
  8. Be ready with freezer space: this goes without saying-be ready to clear some space, or be ready to have a light week of cooking!
  9. Set aside time to make your meals: our swap has 6 participants. Prepping my ingredients, setting aside time to assemble my items, and freeze and package them, took time – so make sure you plan your time accordingly.

 

My freezer now contains:

  • chicken and dumplings
  • ginger soy chicken and rice and veggies
  • taco soup
  • meatloaf and sweet potato mash and side of green beans
  • chipteh stew with flatbread
  • molasses spice cookies (to be baked)
  • chocolate chip cookies (to be baked)
  • applesauce

If you decide to do a swap, my advice is to:

  • start small – 4-6 people
  • choose a date 2-3 weeks in the future
  • decide on any parameters re: ingredients
  • get cooking!

I am so excited to have a freezer full of meals to get us through this busy month, and especially for the nights when we are gone all day and get back and want a home-cooked meal.

If you have done a swap before, what made it work? what didn’t work? Share please! And if you want to start a swap, how about sharing this post and seeing who might want to join you? Good luck!

 

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