I’ve heard for years about how friends do freezer meals, and I always fought it. It seemed so complicated to buy ingredients for so many meals, and prepare them all in just a few hours. I also didn’t want 10+ ladies (thought I love them all) cooking / food prepping in my kitchen. We have a big kitchen… but I wasn’t ready to sign up for such a big mess.
So I got to thinking… How can we make this easier!? And I’ve never looked back! Every single lady that participated has said Why did I never think of this? This is so easy!
So what’s the solution? I make O N E. R E C I P E. Yes! JUST ONE! But, I make 10 portions of it. So at the end of the day, you’re still making 10 meals worth of food. However, you’re only purchasing ingredients for one recipe. This is amazing for a few reasons…
- It’s cheaper to buy in bulk.
- It’s faster to prepare one meal ten times than ten meals once.
- I’m meal prepping in my own home, but 10 other people are not meal prepping in my home.
So how does it really work? Simple.
- Organize a group of 8-20 ladies. Hit up those mom friends. They’ll want in. We have a group of up to 20, so that by the time all of the RSVPs are in, we probably only have 8-10 actually participating. We don’t really want more than this, because I (and we) can’t really fit much more than that in our freezers. But you could invite as many as you are comfortable with!
- Choose a date and time every 4-6 weeks. Across our group, with 10 meals, 4-6 weeks seems to be about the sweet spot for when everyone will need another round of meals.
- Make a facebook event so that you can track RSVPs easily, and have everyone comment with what they are bringing. Our rules are simple. Each meal must serve 4. Each meal must contain a meat and a vegetable. Each meal must fit into a one-gallon ziploc container (laid flat to freeze), or a tin foil pan. And last, each meal must be prepared to put straight into the oven, or straight into a crock pot. Might sound like a lot of rules, but when you’re prepping your meals this is actually very easy! And it saves everyone the most time and space.
- Now – remember that date and time you chose? You’ll prepare your meals before then. That date and time is SWAP DAY! We do a Sunday at 2. That gives everyone a Saturday to prep, and enough time to get home from church and have lunch. That said, you could make your swap a lunch or something. But – we just have a ladies coffee hour! We chat, have a snack that someone usually provides, and I always serve the coffee! Once everyone is chatted out, we stack all the meals on the counters, and everyone walks through the kitchen and takes one of each!
Q U E S T I O N S
How do you know how many meals to make? We always make 10 meals. If less than 10 people show up, you get a few duplicates. If more than 10 show up, you miss out on a few. Either way, no big deal. But, everyone comes and leaves with 10 meals!
How do you make sure all of the meals aren’t the same? I post in the event the week of asking everyone what they are going to bring. Everyone comments so that we can all see what’s coming. If 7 people are already bringing a chicken dish, people start chiming in with ground beef. If a few meals already have potatoes, the rest of the meals stop that! It’s pretty simple.
So you prep the meals alone? Yes! This saves us from traveling back and forth with a lot of ingredients, having to share supplies, etc. My husband watches the kids for an hour, and I prepare 10 ziploc bags of Chili (my go to – recipe below). I lay them flat in my freezer to freeze, and we’re done!
Do some people spend more than others? Sure they do. But be fair. Don’t make something your family wouldn’t eat. And don’t make something so cheap every time. Sometimes I spend $35. Sometimes I spend $60! Just be fair.
F A V O R I T E R E C I P E S
My go-to meal is chili! It’s so simple, affordable, and absolutely delish!
My chili recipe is at the end of this post, but make sure to check out a few more of my favorites!
Cream Of Chicken Veggie Stew (you could add chopped chicken!)
All Season Pasta Salad (you could add mini sausages!)
Now… our favorite! The Salt Water Wife CHILI!
You will need: (I get all ingredients from our local Publix!)
- 10x 1 gallon Ziploc Storage Bags
- 5 lb Ground Beef
- 10 cans of chili beans
- 10 cans of sweet niblet corn
- 10 cans of tomato paste (or bulk size cans)
- 10 cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 each: red, green, yellow, orange pepper
- 4 onions
- Badia Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
Start cooking all of the ground beef! While it’s cooking, chop the peppers and onions and open all of your cans! I drain the corn and diced tomatoes, but you don’t have to! Then I pretty much just make an assembly line. I open all 10 bags, and start adding everything! Each bag gets 1 can of beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Then I just divide by the handful, the peppers, onions, and (spoonful) ground beef. Then I add a generous amount of chili powder, and a few dashes of garlic powder, to each bag. Mush it all up and zip it shut! Lay them flat in your freezer to freeze so that they take up the least amount of space. A flat frozen bag will also thaw faster! One full gallon ziploc bag should feed a family of four.
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