Once you've learned how to cook freezer meals, joining a freezer meal group, or a freezer meal exchange group as it's known in some circles, can save you even more time. A freezer meal group is a group of people, usually friends and/or family members, who join together and agree to cook a certain number of meals to swap with other members of the group.
Here's how most freezer meal groups are set up:
- A single meal (or a type of meal) is assigned to each member of the group. The number of servings that need to be made for each meal is also predetermined.
- Each member makes the assigned number of meals for the meal they've chosen (or been assigned).
- The members exchange meals, so that each member of the group gets one of each meal.
This benefits the members of the freezer meal group because they only have to cook one type of meal, but end up getting a variety of freezer meals. The premise is it's much easier to prepare large amounts of a single meal than it is to cook multiple meals.
Cooking is usually done in one of two ways. It can be done individually, where everyone cooks the meals at home and then meets up to exchange them, or it can be done as a group, where everyone meets up once or twice a month to cook all of the meals at the same time. If the latter is chosen, it's best to take one shopping trip and then split the cost of all the groceries.
It's also a good idea to have cook days at each of the members houses, so one person isn't stuck with the clean-up all the time. At the very least, stick around and help the person who's house the freezer meal party was at clean up.
And remember ... A freezer meal group is only as good as its members. If you have members who make more excuses than they do meals, you're going to end up with a lot of frustrated people. You're also going to want members who are relatively decent cooks (or at least meal assemblers), for obvious reasons.
Make sure you discuss ingredients in advance. If you want a group that uses only natural (or organic or clean or Paleo) ingredients, lay out the rules before your first member joins. That way, you'll end up with a group of people who are all on the same page and there won't be a bunch of angry members when you change the rules midstream.
Last, but not least, don't forget to have fun. Copious amounts of wine are typically consumed at our freezer meal group meetings and it's a fun gathering of friends. Choosing people you enjoy being around for your freezer meal group will make for a much better time for everyone involved.
Freezer Meal Group Pros
- You do a minimal amount of work for a large amount of meals.
- You can choose who's in the group (unless you're joining an existing group).
- You save money by buying bulk amounts of the same ingredients.
- You save time because you're only cooking one meal.
- You have the opportunity to try new foods.
Freezer Meal Group Cons
- You're at the mercy of the rest of the group when it comes to quality.
- You don't have as much control over what goes into the meals.
- The group is only as strong as its weakest members.