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Dinner Dilemmas: Part VI — Meal Swapping!

Welcome to the sixth edition of Dinner Dilemmas! Thanks to everyone who has shared their ideas on how we can make dinnertime a little less stressful and a little more fun! I have loved seeing everyone’s thoughts and trying out your recipes!
If you would like to check out the Dinner Dilemma Forum — click HERE.


Makin it Domestic

Today, I am very excited to introduce you to Brooke @ Making It Domestic who is going to share something that she does that simplified dinnertime at her house — Meal Swapping!!!
Hi,  I am Brooke from Making It Domestic.  I am so excited to be here on Tatertots and Jello.  Thanks for having me Jen.
Meal Swap was formed when I heard my sister talking about her meal swap and I decided I wanted in on  it  too.  I talked to a couple of my friends to see if they were interested and they were.  Hurray!  We got started by deciding who wanted to cook on which days.  There are two others besides me that swap.
Mondays:  Callie
Tuesdays:  Deann
Wednesdays:  Me

We started out by setting a time we wanted the meals delivered. 
At first it was at 6 pm.  We did that for a couple of weeks.  I decided I wanted it to be earlier.  We got together and decided how to work this out.  We would bring the meal around 5:30 if it was hot.  If the person cooking that day wanted you to cook it in your own home then bring it by 4:30pm.
For example,  a couple of weeks ago, I made lasagna and french bread.  Instead of me cooking 3 pans of lasagna, I made 3 pans and dropped 2 pans off at their houses about an hour or so earlier.  The lasagna had to cook in the oven for an hour and that way it was still done by 5:30. However, last night I cooked because it was my daughter’s birthday and I made french dip sandwiches.  I took it to their houses by 5:30, so it was hot when they ate it.
Here are some of our ground rules.
1.  You have to prepare a main dish and a side.  The side can be whatever you decide.  Usually our sides have been salads or vegetables or rolls.  Last week though I made stir fry.  Since it had all the vegetable, I could have made a salad but I made a cake instead because I had a migraine.
2.  Let each other know if you have way too much or not enough food.
3.  Check on allergies or dislikes.  It is hard to please everyone.  My family has liked most everything that we have had.  Some may not be our favorite but we eat it.
On the serving dishes,  we each have a few serving dishes of each kind we use.  If I don’t have enough serving dishes I will run over to there house and grab what I need.  Everyone has been very willing to work with each other.  I have used everyone’s crock pots a few times and then I let my meal cook all day.  I also have picked up a few extras serving dishes at thrift stores so we have some extra.  What Callie brings me on Mondays (as far as the dishes)  I try to put her meal in the same dishes to take back to her on Wednesday.  It doesn’t always happen but most of the time it works out.
I love meal swap because it has really taken off my hands what we have for dinner each night.  Now I know we only do it three nights a week but usually I have enough leftovers to last the rest of the week and I end up only cooking on Saturday or Sunday.
Also,  we got together and planned out what we were going to fix for meals for two or three months ahead.  That way, we don’t have one week of all chicken and it evens out the variety. I love this too, because it teaches my kids to eat what’s fixed, it spares my time around meal time.
It seemed for awhile that every time I fixed dinner my kids were sitting at my feet crying.  That has mostly been eliminated.  To all the crafters, you will have more time to craft or clean or to do whatever you want.  Another bonus is that when I am sick or my kids are sick I know I don’t have to fix dinner because someone is bringing  it to me.  I think that since I have been doing this my meals have gotten healthier.  I am not saying I have become a better cook but when I get meals there are vegetables and fruits.  I was not always great at fixing balanced meals before but now I think I am better.We have only been doing meal swap since the end of January but we all really like it.  We are probably going to add a 4th person to take Thursdays.  We try to keep Fridays free for date night with the hubs or whatever.

I hope this will ease up your dinner dilemmas and make it easier for you all.  Enjoy having some else do the cooking!!
Here are some pictures from last night’s meal.
Thanks Brooke!! I am really loving the meal swapping idea! Be sure to check out Brooke’s cute blog — she has all kinds of great creative ideas!!! Brooke – here is a button for you for sharing your idea!
If you have any ideas you would like to share — shoot me an email. I would love to have you guest post on Dinner Dilemmas!
I had a few people last week ask for the recipe for German Pancakes that my kids loved So here it is:
German Pancakes With Strawberries
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter
3 eggs
 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the over to 425-degrees. Put the butter into a 10-inch ovenproof skillet and place it in the oven. (Or you can use a 9 inch round baking pan if you don’t have a skillet.)
  2. Meanwhile, mix the eggs, four. milk, and salt in a blender.
  3. When the butter has melted, carefully pull the skillet out of the oven and pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the pancake is puffed up and lightly brown. It will flatten slightly after if comes out of the oven.
  4. Sweeten the strawberries with the granulated sugar in a small bowl and mix the sour creme with the brown sugar in a separate small bowl.
  5. Cut the pancake into wedges and serve on plates. Top with the strawberries and sweetened sour cream.
 Delicious!
Do you have any recipes or tips that you can share with us?? Please leave them in the comments and also link them up in our Dinner Dilemmas Forum so everyone can come over to YOUR blog and learn your secrets and tips for making dinnertime easier!
Have a great Sunday!
I will be announcing the winners of the Bad Girls kits and the How Does She Birthday Board later tonight!

XOXO

Comments

  1. Awesome!

  2. Michael Vandeven says:

    There is a new group meal swapping website called http://www.heyfood.org. Currently me and 30 friends from my neighborhood organize our weekly meal swap. It has been a life saver.

    We each feature what food we will bring to the swap online before the swap so we can plan who we want to swap food with at the future food swap. This way we know what food we will be receiving and how many portions we should cook and bring to the swap. Check it out at http://www.heyfood.org.

  3. Kelli @ RTSM says:

    This is a really great idea! I wish I had some other moms closer to me so we could give this a try. We live so far out that most of my friends' houses are a good 10 to 15 minutes away, and I think that would make us swapping a little more difficult!

  4. I love this idea…it is brilliant. Unfortunately…my hubby has to eat a certain diet and my kids eat way more veggies than anyone I know…I may have to put some more thought into this though and see if I can organize something.

    I have not posted as many recipes lately…but we LOVE this chicken chili recipe…
    http://www.504main.com/2010/01/mind-body-food-chapter-2a-chicken-chili.html

  5. Connie Weiss says:

    What a fun idea! I only have one close by friend. :(

  6. That meal looks delicious Jen! What a great idea to meal swap! Sounds like tasty fun!! xxoo

  7. Grammy Staffy says:

    What a good idea to have a meal swap. I wish that I had thought of that when we had a family of kids at home. I wonder if I could get a few of us old folks together to do it. I think it would be fun and a nice change of pace from our normal routine.

    Thanks for the recipe. I love German pancakes and fruit. yummy
    How is your daughter doing? I hope she is back to normal and doing well.
    Have a great week. Hugs, Lura

  8. What an awesome idea!! I've got to find some amazing neighbors/friends to do this with. We just moved about a year ago- – and have not settled just yet… so I am anxious to give this a try in the future. Thank you for the ideas.

    Blessings
    -Sarah

  9. The Maxwell Family says:

    We used to also do the meal swapping on our street. Our take on it is that we would fix the meals and call/text everyone when it was ready and the other families come with their tupperware containers and pick it up. On really nice nights in the summer we would all eat together at one house and let the kids play. Not only would you have to cook once per week but it really saved money!

  10. thanks Jen for the flour… excited to make. Love your blog!

  11. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing…

  12. ~Lavender Dreamer~ says:

    I love strawberries and pancakes! YUMO! And the meal swapping is a great idea! My neighbor always share desserts. That way we don't have too much! When there's only 2 in the house, you still like to bake but I give some and freeze some to keep from eating too much! lol

  13. jenjen says:

    I forgot to put the flour in the recipe when I posted it the first time. I've changed it now. Thanks for the comments!

    XOXO
    Jen

  14. Bonnie says:

    The recipe didn't say how much flour… would love to know.

  15. OH YUM, Brook my address is…JUST kidding. I do love this idea. I have seen it done in frozen form. Ppl prepare a freezer meal for however many in their group, get together and swap! FUN