An Innovative Freezer Meal Cooking Club
Gather some friends.
Above all? Choose the ones you want to hang out with on a regular basis. Then look for similarities in family size, food budget, and food tastes. We offer tips and suggestions for accommodating varying family sizes. Budget and food tastes or restrictions might be deal-breakers.
Get everyone on the same page.
"How BIG will our entrées be? How many entrées will we make? How frequently will our cooking club swap? My husband hates green peppers. Do we use fresh vegetables or are frozen okay? Does Hamburger Helper® qualify as an entrée? Can we do cookie dough, too? And how do we handle the finances?" Missing this step will pretty much guarantee somebody is not going to be happy. We offer you a step-by-step guide for all the details.
Plan your first menu.
Keep it simple. Choose one or two recipes per person to prepare in bulk and freeze in meal-sized portions. Pass around the recipe for everyone to review. Your Beef Stroganoff may be continents away from the one your friend has in mind (we learned this one the hard way).
Time to get smart. We help you move toward efficiency and prowess. Whether you’re preparing something quick and simple, or a pull-out-all-the-stops pièce de résistance, you’ll be buoyed by the tips and comments offered in Cooking Among Friends®. Each entrée recipe is supplemented with a Divide and Conquer list of proposed do-ahead tasks. Accomplish one or two in advance and make the big cook a little easier. Recipe instructions reflect a streamlined method of preparation and assembly.
Do you have room in your day, and room in your budget, for one extra meal? Many Cooking Among Friends® groups have committed to preparing an extra entrée to give to someone in need. They might be collectively ribbon-tied together, topped with an encouraging note, and delivered to a grateful recipient. Your freezer meal cooking club may decide to operate individually, with each member passing along his or her own entrée. It is a wonderful way to share love, hope, and encouragement.
Fun, fun, fun. The work is done. Enjoy a rejuvenating gathering of friends. We’ve swapped over appetizers in a warm and cozy home, popping the cork on a bottle of wine in celebration of one another. We’ve swapped in the parking lot before rushing into a restaurant, allowing someone else to wait on us. Sometimes we can’t decide which is better—the fabulous food we bring home to the ones we love, or the lifted spirit that accompanies us as well.
Do take a few minutes to take care of business. Choose a facilitator who will initiate and record a discussion about the next menu of freezer meals, the winners and losers among the previous menu, and the date, time, and place for the next meal swap gathering. We offer a form for streamlining the process. We suggest a pain-free way for delivering the news when an entrée bombed at your house.
There must be something more.
And there is. Why stop at entrée preparation when you can also swap cookie dough, baked goods, soups, breakfast items, à la carte dishes, appetizers, dry mixes, and more? You might wish to become a co-op of sorts, purchasing very large quantities of staple items like flour, rice, pasta, and spices to divide among group members. You may find yourselves cooperating to prepare holiday gifts and holiday meals. A couple of friends with large families might be wheeling and dealing on the sidelines of your group—negotiating the exchange of a few more entrées, just between the two of them.
Our strategy is to commit as a group of friends to the basics—entrée preparation. At each exchange gathering, supplemental ideas are thrown out and everyone has the option of opting in or out of the deal. Did somebody say cheesecake?
Capture a plan for make-ahead entrées that is doable and fun! Without devouring the grocery budget, or ravaging your schedule, you and your lucky friends can plan, prepare, and swap fabulous food items. Prepare? At your utmost convenience. Plan and swap? Now you’re talking fun. Get together to chill, connect, swap, and plan for next time. We'll help you get started!