How to Create a Freezer Meal Exchange Group on Facebook!

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The following is a guest post from a friend of mine, Jennifer.  She coordinates a Freezer Meal Exchange Group with friends of hers on Facebook.  I asked her if she would be willing to share with us how it works and what it looks like and she graciously agreed!  If you’d like to submit a guest post, you can read more about what we offer in exchange and what we’re looking for over here

I really enjoy cooking, trying new recipes and providing a home cooked  meal for my family.  However, as a homeschool mom with three under  five years, an aging, live-in mother-in-law to care for and life in general, mealtime had become so overwhelming. It seemed like most of my time was in the kitchen making meals or cleaning up the mess.  Somehow this had to get easier…
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In September of last year I posted something on Facebook about freezer meal exchange groups. I decided to contact the friends that had commented or “liked” the post. We have been exchanging meals monthly since and I can’t express enough how blessed I’ve been by the group!  I have more time with my family and a stockpile of freezer meals.

Initially there was some concern about how much each person was spending on meals and quantity provided but with some guidelines and realizing that some people prefer to shop at discount stores and with coupons and some choose not to we have agreed that it’s up to the individual on what they spend each month. However, typically speaking, since we are buying in bulk to prepare in bulk we are saving time and money. Besides being a blessing to myself and my family, I have also had the ability to grab a meal from my freezer to take to a sick and/or needy family.

So, how does all this work?
Here are the guidelines we (currently) follow:

OBJECT:  To have a freezer full of meals each month.

MAIN IDEA: Choose a meal to make in bulk, meet to exchange meals, fill your freezer with a meal from each person who is cooking for the month.

EXAMPLE:  You decide to make lasagna and there are 8 cooks for the month (including self). Make 8 casseroles of lasagna (keep one for yourself). Bring 7 lasagnas to the exchange and take home 7 other dishes for the month.

FINE PRINT:  This is a Facebook group. Being on Facebook makes it easy to communicate “in bulk”.  Each month will be entered as an “Event” on Facebook with an rsvp deadline.  You must rsvp by the deadline to be included in that months exchange.  If your rsvp changes, please remember to change your status on the  event page.  When you rsvp please state what meal you intend to make.  Cooks, please keep in mind that rsvp’s can change and will not be “firm” until the deadline stated. Therefore, shop/cook early at your
own risk.

PREPARATION: Typically soups are stored in gallon size ziplocks and frozen flat. Casserole type dishes are stored in 9×13 aluminum casserole dishes with tin foil on top.  Portion should be the same for all. (i.e. a family of 2 does not get a smaller casserole than a family of 6). Please label items before they are frozen. Your Sharpie pens do not work on plastic/tin that has been frozen. Recipes should be printed and handed out with your dish.

Allergies/Dislikes: Allergies should be expressed and respected by all cooks. There is a dislike list being generated for each family.
However, at this time it is up to each cook what to do with the given information.

I see options here:

  1. Omit the item of dislike.
  2. Omit the item of dislike for the specific family only.
  3. Just cook! and maybe leave items of dislike big for easy pickin’ out.

Meals for the month should have some variety (i.e. Soup/Stew, Italian,  Mexican, etc.). We love Mexican food but don’t necessarily want a freezer full for the month! Diversity is a good thing!  If you can’t make it to the exchange please make arrangements to drop
off/pick up at a different time.  In addition to cooking for the group you may also choose to cook an extra meal. This meal will be used to bless another family. If you have a family that would benefit from our group’s monthly meals please let me know.

As always, suggestions and questions are welcomed!

Here are a few great bulk cooking/freezer meal cookbooks that you may be interested in…

Freezer Cookbook: Recipes for Freezer Cooking – Cook Today and Eat for Months

Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family

Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy

Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites


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(28 Comments)

Comments

  1. Mandy Halverson via Facebook says:

    Just posted a link to your page about this. I’m checking to see if any of my local friends want to do this with me! GREAT idea!

  2. That’s a great idea! I hope several of your friends jump on board!

  3. Mandy Halverson via Facebook says:

    Me too!! :)

  4. Julia Guinter Chandler via Facebook says:

    We did one of these before, there were some great benefits to it!

  5. Neomi Thomas via Facebook says:

    Love the idea!

  6. Julie Davidson via Facebook says:

    I did this for about 6 months, then people moved and it got overwhelming because we had 9 people in the group… I’d recommend a group of 4-5 people only.

  7. Melinda King Brecheisen via Facebook says:

    I participated in one a of these a few years back. We did it slightly different. Each member of the group selected a day of the month to make their bulk item and delivered it to the others on that night. (we all lived in the same neighborhood) and then when you received the dinner you had the choice to eat it hot and fresh or put it in the freezer. Sometimes someone would warn us in advance that they were making something tasty that didn’t freeze well, so we would all enjoy taking the night off from cooking and wait for our delivery. We typically all picked the same week to make it easy on the schedule so M-F we’d exchange and then be done until the next month.

  8. Cheryl Bailey Kelly via Facebook says:

    I would like to know if you can freeze can biscuits (may be misspelled) and sour cream? Is there a website that tell you all that can be put in the freezer ?

  9. Biscuits, absolutely! Sour cream, yes. But, it might separate a bit. So, it might not be the best consistency for making a dip or using for tacos or something. But, it would be TOTALLY fine to cook with after being frozen! Honestly, you can freeze almost anything. Here’s one reference just to get you started…http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2011/02/10/freezable-foods/

  10. Jessica Musante says:

    I would. Love to join a local concord/pittsburg group

  11. Gsvskakakkajsjsshhd

  12. Oops! Guess my two year old had something to say about this!! :)

  13. Margarita Garcia via Facebook says:

    I really want to try this but nobody that I know wants to :(

  14. Melanie Korn Field via Facebook says:

    I LOVE this idea. I’m going to put it out there to some friends and see if I can get a group together. I think its brilliant. Thanks for taking the time to create and post all the details. They are so helpful in making this work. I’ll keep you posted.

  15. AHHH!!!! I’ve been wanting to do this SO BAD for ages, but I’ve been too busy/lazy to figure out the details to get it organized. Thank you so much!

  16. I have been trying to get one off the ground in Concord, please feel free to contact me if any of you Frugal Find readers are interested! whitney.flores@ymail.com

  17. Kim Garroutte via Facebook says:

    started one today!!! woo hoo, so excited!

  18. Krista Meletiou via Facebook says:

    I just shared this even though I wouldn’t do it. It is a great idea!

  19. That is awesome Kim!

  20. Melissa Watchorn Roldan via Facebook says:

    putting one together also! thank you for the great idea

  21. I’ve been wanting to do one of these forever! I never thought about creating a group on FB.

  22. Anyone interested in doing this in the Covington, LA area?

  23. Laura King Leggott via Facebook says:

    I posted in hopes of starting a local bunch. :)

  24. Nikki Sortland via Facebook says:

    oh i LOVE this idea…. wish we could do this around here

  25. This is definitely an interesting idea. I guess if try to eat organic and avoid HFCS and MSG, it makes it a little harder to find people who cook the same way…..

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  1. […] How to Create a Freezer Meal Exchange Group on Facebook! […]

  2. […] keep it posted on the door of my refrigerator for later reference.  A good photo to study is the Freezer Meal post where the items are stacked compactly & neatly in her […]

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