Thursday, November 13, 2008

Freezer Meal Exchange

I've always known that I spend too much money on my lunches because I buy my lunch everyday. I am not fond of bringing my lunch for two really stupid reasons: I don't like to eat the same thing all the time and I'm too lazy to prepare it everyday. This week as I watched the economy continue to tank and I started to fear for my job being that I work in the financial services industry I realized that perhaps I should be trying to save some of that money and start bringing my lunch. Every little bit helps, right? And hey, it'd probably be better for me, too!

So, here's what I did. I sent an email to my friends asking them if they'd be interested in starting a freezer meal exchange! What's that? To save some time, I'm just going to post the email that I wrote to my friends.
Hey everyone!

So, economic times are tough and I know we're all looking for ways to save money and I know that I personally spend way too much money on lunches at work simply because I get bored too easily to pack sandwiches all the time. Also, I like to cook but cooking for one is so much harder! So, what I was thinking is that we should start a freezer meal exchange group!

Basically, we'd each make a certain number of meals (just entrees, no sides unless you're feeling ambitious). Then, we'd package them up into individual packages with some gladware or something and we'd exchange! Now, since we're mostly singles or couples there's no need to make multiple 6 serving casseroles and exchange the whole thing. I'm thinking more along the lines of lunch sized, not full family meal sized. Granted, usually 2 technical servings equal one real serving in our world so we'd make each portion a 2 serving portion. Ideally, we'd only have to cook for the exchange once a month and we'd still have meals for each work day for the entire month.

Here's an example if we had 5 people participating.

  • 5 people
  • 4 entree recipes each (each making 10 servings total)
  • Each entree divided into 5 individual frozen packages.
  • That means, each person would end up bringing 20 frozen packaged items to the exchange which is enough for 5 days a week for 4 weeks for each participant.
Make sense? If the interest is high enough we could work on the formula a bit to maybe spread out the work or something but this was my first stab at it and my brain isn't working as well as it should be.

I think it sounds pretty doable! I mean, how hard is it to whip together a casserole, or pasta, or a stew or some crockpot creation with 10 servings? I think I'd much rather spend a couple hours in the kitchen over the weekend making 4 entrees and packaging them up than making my lunch every morning.

What's cool, is that we could post the recipes that we each used on a blog or something along with the instructions for reheating and then we'd know how to make a dish on our own if we really enjoyed it. Also, there'd be feedback that way if a dish just bombed and we'd know not to make it again. As for recipes...I rely pretty heavily on because you can pick any recipe and modify the number of servings and it'll adjust the ingredients for you, so it's super easy!

There'd be some rules of course.....
  • We should probably set a price per entree limit or something to keep people from going nuts.
  • We'd need to know of any allergy or food phobias.
  • Try to keep it healthyish....we don't want to turn into blimps cuz we suddenly have some good solid meals! :)
  • We'd need to agree on some freezer containers.
  • We'd have to make sure that everyone is committed to participating so we don't have some months where we have half a month's worth of lunches after the exchange....even tho that's better than nothing!
Anyway, I just thought I'd throw that out there and try to gauge interest. I know that I'm excited about it and would love to get started right away but I obviously can't do it alone. And heck, if anything it's a reason to get together each month!

Please let me know if this is of interest to you and pass it on to anyone else you can think of that'd like to participate. Also please let me know if I didn't make sense or if my calculations are wrong!

So far I have one friend that's really excited and another that's interested but worries about having to double the effort because both she and her husband would be participating. Oh, and one that said no because she's too picky. I understand all of that for sure! :) I just hope I get enough people that are interested to give it a try. I think having a different meal every workday for a month would be awesome! AND I'd get to collect some new recipes!

If it works out, I'll have another blog to link to but it'll have multiple contributors. I think it'll be fun! I'll let you know how it works out.

1 comment:

yogagirl said...

This was pretty much a bust. I couldn't get any solid interest in it. I got a lot of "That's a great idea, but..." type responses. Sad.

Oh well, I'm making my own little freezer meals and it's going well for me! I'm getting bored with the same food rotation tho so I need to make smaller freezer batches to up the variety.

Yay for saving money and eating healthier!