For the past couple of years, a friend of mine has been doing a dinner swap. I love this concept and think its brillz.
The idea is that during a 3 month period, you will have enough homemade food to cover at least 2 nights every week and thus limit the number of times you stand in front of the fridge after arriving home from activities, work, etc. and say “what’s for dinner”.
Here’s how it works:
- Decide the families you will be swapping with. You will want to select 3 compatible families in terms of the number of kids and adults, kids’ ages, food preferences, allergies, etc. Personally, I would select families close to you or in your neighborhood if possible so you are not running food all over town delivering food during your week to cook.
- Select a person to serve as the coordinator. The coordinator sends a cooking calendar to the other 3 families once a quarter. For example, second quarter would include April, May and June and would look like this where each family is assigned a week to cook each month.
week of April 1: family 1
week of April 8: family 2
week of April 15: family 3
week of April 22: family 4
week of April 29: family 1
week of May 6: family 2
week of May 13: family 3
week of May 20: family 4
week of May 27: family 1
week of June 3: family 2
week of June 10: family 3
week of June 17: family 4
week of June 24: OFF
- On your week, you choose 2 dishes to make and you make 4 of them (3 for the other families and 1 for your family). Let’s say I chose lasagna and vegetable soup as my 2 dishes. Then, I’d need to make 4 pans of lasagna and enough soup to split up 4 ways. Plus, I would provide simple sides as appropriate (such as a salad or bread).
Here are some other tips:
- No dessert – adds to expense and effort.
- If the cook for the week works full time, she cooks on Sunday and delivers the meals Sunday evening so that everyone has dinner for Monday and Tuesday, plus leftovers for lunches.
- Deliver the meals in disposable containers that can be washed and reused.
- During a 3 month period, you should have enough food to cover at least 2 nights every week, but it usually last for 3 or even 4 nights.
- Heather: It has been a LIFE CHANGER for our household. My afternoons are now much less stressful. I can dedicate more attention to homework, and one of mine really needs a lot of hand-holding with that, so it’s very good for us. It probably saves us money, but I have not done extensive research on that. The bonus? No peering into an open fridge every night and saying, “What’s for dinner?”