Thursday, April 17, 2014

Start your own Freezer Meals Swap Group

After the success of my massive freezer meals feat, I decided there had to be a better way to do things.  I had some interest from friends on Facebook to get more information on doing Freezer Meals.  I had heard from others that a 'Swap Group' works well.  If I can do 1/20th of the work with the amazing outcome of easy straight from freezer to oven, 'from scratch' meals... You betcha.... "I'm in!"

A few 'Guidelines' to get you started:

  1. Once you gather your group of people, get a 'family headcount.'  My swap group has families as small as 3 people and as large as 10 people.  The best way to make this work for the large and the small families is: The meals made to swap should feed 5-6 adults, 1 serving each.  Larger families act as (2)- contribute 2 meals to the swap and take 2 of each of the other contributions. 
  2. *Important* Find out any SEVERE ALLERGIES.  The only one in my group is Seafood.  Pretty easy to work around.  We personally as a group do not cater to Gluten-Free, Vegan, or Picky Eaters.  I do have to say that so far, we have had some pretty amazing recipes come out of these ladies' kitchens! 
  3. Choose a swap location that is somewhat central for all swappers and has easily accessible parking for EVERYONE to park in one straight line.
  4. Choose a time to swap and ask that everyone is 10 mins early so that swapping can commence on time and no one gets missed.
  5. If there happens to be someone not show up or cancel last minute, we take the contributions that would have gone to them and donate to a needy family.
  6. More than 15 people/ Meals to make is too much
  7. Between 5-6 weeks between each swap is just about perfect.

Here are some highlights from our first swap (2/16/2014) and the recipes to each contribution:

Spaghetti Pie (In the round tin on the left)
Contributed by: Angela Hatsfield

Instructions from freezer to table: The day before serving, remove pasta dish from the freezer. Remove foil, and place in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cover and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bake as directed. (Note: Pasta dish may also be baked frozen. Plan to double the baking times.)

Homemade Stromboli (in the cooler on the right)  Contributed by: Angela Hatsfield
From freezer to table: Remove the foil wrap and thaw your plastic-wrapped Stromboli in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking. Keeping the plastic wrap on the Stromboli while thawing prevents the bread and interior from drying.  Paint the egg wash over the thawed Stromboli bread immediately before baking with a basting brush. Bake your Stromboli dish in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes or until the top of the bread is golden brown.

Contributed by: Nichole Boehland
1 med. pork roast
6 sm. carrots, sliced diagonally or a couple handfuls of baby carrots
3-6 red potatoes sliced in half
3-5 cloves of garlic
1 envelope of Lipton Onion soup mix
1 pkg. pork gravy mix
1 1/2-2 c. water
Salt and pepper, to taste, Garlic powder
Salt and pepper pork roast. Slice 2-3 openings in the top of the roast insert garlic cloves. Put prepared vegetables around meat; sprinkle with garlic powder. Mix gravy mix, onion soup mix, water, and pour over vegetables. Cook for about 8-10 hours on low in crock pot or about 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.

Contributed by Cristi Hall
Thaw/Heat then garnish.

Shepherd's Pie
Contributed by Kristen Morton
Mash 7-8 potatoes w/ butter salt, pepper, and milk- set aside
Brown 1 lb. hamburger. w/ one med. onion, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion salt
Drain off fat, add: 8 oz can tomato sauce 1/2 C ketchup 1/2 C brown sugar 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese 1 can green beans
simmer together @ 5 min
Butter casserole dish, line w/ mashed potatoes (reserve @ 1 1/2 cups for top)

Pour on hamburger mixture. Top w/ leftover potatoes. Sprinkle w/ 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Sprinkle w/ salt. Bake 350 for 25 min. **Freezer to table: Thaw overnight before baking.
Shredded Beef Enchiladas Contributed by Kristen Morton
* 3 pounds beef chuck roast * 1/4 cup water * 1 1/2 cups beef broth * 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar * 2 tablespoons chili powder * 1 tablespoon ground cumin * 1 large onion, chopped * 2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers * 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour * 2 cups sour cream * 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided * 1 cup oil for frying * 20 (6 inch) flour or corn tortillas
1. Place roast in a large saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Pour in water, cover, and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium/high, and brown the roast on all sides. Once the water has boiled away, pour in the beef broth, vinegar, chili powder and 1 tablespoon of cumin. Cover tightly and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the beef falls apart when you try to pick it up. Shred the beef, using 2 forks or your fingers. Place shredded beef back into the saucepan with all the juices, and let cool to room temperature.
2. In a large skillet, saute the onion until just soft, not browned. Mix in flour and green chilies. Stir constantly for 2 minutes to cook the flour taste out. Stir in sour cream and 2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese. Cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the cheese is all melted and mixed. Set aside and let cool.
3. In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil. Using tongs dip the tortillas, one at a time, into the oil for 30 seconds each side. Drain on paper towels.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spread 4 tablespoons of sour cream mixture down the center of the tortilla. Top with about the same amount of beef. Roll up and place seam side down in one or two 8x11 inch baking dish. Repeat for each tortilla. Continue until you are out of the filling. Sprinkle with remaining Monterey Jack cheese. 5. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Hawaiian Chicken & Rice
Contributed by Me :)

Freezer to Table-
Throw contents of bag into Crockpot on Low for 6-8 hours.  Steam rice.
Serve Chicken & Sauce on top of rice.

Farmers Casserole
Contributed by Sarah Bastian

Freezer to Table:
Place thawed contents of bag in greased casserole dish and bake for 40-45 mins at 350 degrees.

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry
Contributed by Kayla Gross

Chicken chunks in Stir fry sauce in one bag
Yakasoba Noodles in 2nd bag
Stir fry Veggies in 3rd bag.

Wok chicken in sauce until almost completely cooked.  Add veggies and noodles.  Cover to steam.

Here's what my freezer looked like after I got home.

Perk #1: It takes an incredible amount of stress off my plate knowing I can come home, have MANY choices for dinner and that it will be healthy and from scratch.

Perk #2: It typically costs around $100 to make my freezer meals to swap and those dinners last darn near all month.  When is the last time you said that you were able to feed your family dinner for a month on $100?  :)

Perk #3: It feels like I have take out EVERY night because these are not my recipes! Something new all the time :)

Time, Health, Savings......Yay!


  1. Thanks for share helpful idea.We must need a catering freezer to store items in a secured and hygienic way.
    Posted by: Sabrina Lgo | Wv howe

    1. I hope you got some good tips! And, yes.... I have 3 freezers :)