REPOST: How To Organize A Freezer Meal Group Option 1

In response to a number of emails and requests that I have recieved I will explain to you how to organize your own freezer meal group.  You do not need a to organize a group in order to make freezer meals, but it can be a lot of fun when you share the experience with a friend and it’s kinda nice to split the work.
First of all, I want you all to understand that there is more than one way to do it and I will try and address a few of the various ways you can go about getting a group together by doing a separate post about each option.

TO GET STARTED…………….
Send out a message on Facebook, an email, or make phone calls to a group of ‘friends’ who you think of similiar food tastes as your own family and who have near the same sized family as your own.  As you put your feelers out there you will start to hear back from gals wanting to know more.  Here is a sample email or message:
Hello Ladies,
I’m sending you this message to try and find some other busy moms (gals) who are tired of worrying about what’s for dinner each night or those wanting to come home from a day at work and NOT have to worry about spending a lot of time preparing dinner. I have decided that I would like to spend less time in the kitchen, and save money on groceries.  I am inviting you to come to my home this Friday at 10am to discuss the possibilities of starting a freezer meal group.  I am just learning about it myself, but have spent a lot of time learning about what foods freeze well and which ones don’t, the best and safest methods for freezing, and how to best preserve food flavors.  If you are interested please RSVP and bring any recipes of yours that you think may freeze well and we can begin planning a menu if there are enough interested gals. 
Please call me or email if you have any questions. 
Sincerely,
Maggie

Now that your message has been sent give it a few days for the responses to come in.  Before your meeting you need to do your homework.  Learn as much as you can about freezer meal cooking… read blogs, the library and bookstores have books about freezer cooking, you can even talk to your mothers, aunts, or email ME for tips and advice.  I’ll try to share more of it so that you don’t feel too unprepared going into your first freezer meal meeting. 

At the meeting first find out how interested the ladies EACH are.  Some may only be there for the information, but not too join.   Find out any allergies, any strong aversions to certain foods, and find out if families want an 8×8 foil pan for the casseroles or 9×13.  After you have some gals on board start seriously planning (even numbered groups are much easier to calculate usually than odd numbers- 4 gals in the group verses 3 or 5) .  BELOW ARE SOME OPTIONS OF HOW TO RUN THE GROUP.

OPTION#1-
(this is how my meal groups run best)  Each gal is on her own to do her own shopping and cooking.  With 6 gals in our group each meal’s recipe is multiplied by 6.  That makes a meal for each lady including herself.    In our group what I have done is I know that we need to make 2 different meals and make 6 of each.  So when we come to the swap we are bringing a total of 12 meals that we swap out and each participant goes home with 12 different meals.
We have the rule that you don’t do two of the same meat.  We meet about every 6 weeks. So.. this time because it’s fall I decide to make a soup- Chicken Tortilla Soup.  It has chicken in it… so I need to make my other dish using beef, pork, or vegetarian (we do not do fish in our meals).  So for my other meal I decide to go with a favorite Shepherd Pie recipe.  The other 5 gals email me about 3 weeks before the swap day and let me know what meals they have decided on.  This helps ensure no duplicates and a good variety of meats/types of dishes.  Not only do we shop for our own ingredients, but we also cook alone in our own kitchens.  This can be a lot of work, but it means we can each cook when we have time.  I prefer cooking after all kids are in bed (about 8pm and usually finish around 11pm).    We freeze most all meals in disposible foil pans and freeze flat in Ziploc gallon sized bags. On Swap day the gals come to my home with all the frozen meals and each gal has a certain spot on the countertop/card table/ kitchen table and any other space we can find and we divvy up all the meals.

So about this method:
THE PROS

  • You can cook whenever you want. It’s the most flexible method of group swapping.
  • You can shop whenever you want and just add the food to your monthly shopping list and build it into your monthly budget. 
  • You can save a lot of money if you do it right!
  • If you prefer shopping sales and going to the work of getting the best prices then you are rewarded. You aren’t penalized by other’s bad shopping.
  • You only get together with your group to swap. This is good if you have little time.

THE CONS

  • It can be a little lonely spending hours chopping veggies, browning meat, stirring soups, baking… all by yourself (unless you rope your sweetie into helping you out)
  • If you are one who goes the extra mile you may be disappointed by others who pick super easy meals like beef stroganoff or a meat marinade (you need to set some rules to protect from this)
  • If you are a people person and are partly doing this for the social aspect then this method is not good for you.

Option #2 (link)- Shopping on a rotation and cooking at home on your own.
Option #3(link)- Meal Assembly as a group.

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