Friday, February 17, 2012

Meal Swap

You may or may not have seen us comment on each other's food posts about how much we enjoyed eating them or that we hope to try it next time they make it.  Maybe you think we are sister-wives, living on a compound sharing responsibilities and a husband?!  In reality, we have a pretty sweet set-up that is simple and helps both of us out.

We got the idea from another mom in our neighborhood who was switching meals with her neighbor across the street.  On Mondays, Mama A was responsible for delivering food to Mama B and on Wednesday Mama B would deliver to Mama A.  They often met each other in the middle of the street for the exchange and went home to enjoy.  They loved it because it was little trouble to double a recipe once a week and then they got to enjoy a home-cooked meal with NO work on another day.

We talked about trying it for over a month!  It's kind of important that you have similar tastes and compatible schedules so we wanted to make sure we were on the same page.  Our agreement is a little different than our friends' but it's working out great!  Basically, if one person is meal planning for the week, they'll text and say
'we are having this, this, and THIS on these days.  Would you like to trade this week?' 
And, in general, the response is
'I would love to try THIS on this day.  Here are YOUR choices-' 
It is really easy and laid back and it's been fun getting meal ideas from each other.  Sometimes we'll go weeks in a a row of trading and then weeks without trading.  Sometimes, we even spread it out over two weeks.  There is something so wonderful about playing with your kids at a time when you are normally hustling to get food on the table.  Everyone is just in a better mood.  Then, when we hear the knock on the door, we all answer it together, mom grabs the hot paper bag and takes a big whiff as we move straight to the table.  Heaven!
This had Sausage and Pesto Ravioli, garlic bread, and sliced grapefruit.
Tips to make this work for you:
  • Have a recipe swap! If you don't have someone in particular in mind, having a recipe swap over ice cream may the way to find one!  Ask questions like 'what's you favorite type of food or favorite restaurant.'  This will give you both an idea of what types of foods the others like.
  • Meal time should be similar unless delivering food to-be-cooked.
  • Keep the meal simple, trying to do no more than 2-3 dishes/containers.  Any extras I try to make disposable.
  • Just like in your own home, keep healthfulness in mind.
Red Beans and Rice delivered piping hot! KC had two full servings:)
Still not sure this is for you . . .
  • The openness of our arrangement helps both sides not stress about it.  If this week doesn't work, then you just move on.  If Monday you have dinner out, you don't have to feel like you are letting someone down by not making them dinner.
  • If you work full time, find someone at work who you can switch casseroles etc. with once a week or month.  
  • If you are only feeding one or two mouths in your house, find a couple in the same boat and trade.  It's easy to get tired of cooking for two at the table and then eating leftovers for four days!
  • Even if you don't want to trade with someone else, you could plan to double a recipe once a week and freeze it for the next. 

I hope you can find some inspiration in this! 

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