Freezer Cooking (2): Co-Op Cooking

Photo credit: gracey 

Last week, I shared about my delight in filling my freezer with ready-to-go meals.  (Click here to see the post.)  Today, I want to share how we take Freezer Cooking to the next level.

It all started when a couple cousins and I got together to spend an evening cooking.  We selected meals that freeze well.  Each was in charge of one particular dish and then we swapped before going home.  We had a lot of fun, but when cooking in bulk with multiple people, space and available kitchen utensils become tight.  However, we were hooked on the idea of cooking in bulk and variety.

So we started co-op cooking.  We found 5-7 friends or family members at a time and each person cooked one kind of meal in their home.  For example, I made 7 lasagnas, someone else made 7 chicken pot pies, etc.  Then we met to swap and I went home with 7 different meals for my freezer.

Photo credit: earl53 

The Logistics of Starting A Cooking Co-Op:

* When asking people to participate, share the Swap Day date from the beginning and a RSVP date so you know how many will participate.  I usually give people a week to RSVP and choose a Swap Day that is a month away.  Cap the number of participants at 10 people.  Any more would be too difficult to cook for.

* Once you know how many, ask people to choose their recipes and let you know their selection.  This way you won’t have 9 chicken dishes.  I often provide a list of dishes that people can choose from if they don’t have anything particular in mind.

* Remind others about shopping around for deals and trying to be economical.  Buying in bulk at a Sam’s or Costco really helps.   Our meals usually average $9-13 per meal per person and for the smaller families, this meal lasts two nights.

* Participants can cook according to their schedule and then freeze the meals.  Freeze everything possible in flat freezer bags, write each participant’s name on a meal and prepare instructions.

* Ask for all totals spent a day or two before the Swap Day.

* Do the Math:  Add all totals together and then divide by the number of participants.  Figure how much is owed by or due for each person.  Email out the results and ask people to come prepared to make any payments needed.  Sometimes this means that one person is writing out a couple checks.

* Swap and Enjoy!

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Adding a Ministry Factor:  One thing we like to do is add an additional meal to be given away.  If we have 6 people, we make 7 meals.  Then each person is to give away their extra meal as a blessing to someone else.  Often we’ll choose someone who just had a baby, is ill or injured, going through a crisis . . . no restrictions.

Happy Cooking!

And if you need good Freezer Meal recipes, here are two books on Amazon I have used and like:


Related Post:  Baked Ham & Swiss Sandwiches (Great for Freezer Cooking)

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