After a lot of trial and error in my own meal making co-op endeavors, these are some of the tips and examples that have worked for us.
The first thing you will need to do is make a list of your families favorite meals and what ingredients they require. You will need to get together with the other members of your co-op and take a vote. Each family should wind up with at least five meals on their list at the end. Keep in mind that food allergies or picky eaters could prohibit other families from enjoying that meal. If something can be eliminated or substituted you might wish to share that and then make note of what requests anyone has.
You will take your list home and for the following week, each family will prepare dinner each night for their own family as well as making an additional meal for each family participating. You might even wish to make an extra one for your own family. All extras (including for other families) need to be stored in the freezer and labeled with the name of the meal.
A smaller co-op works best. We found that three families works really well.
At the end of the week the families will get together and hand out their extras to the other families. Each family should receive five meals from each participating family.
Here is a quick rundown on how that would work:
For instance, Pamela, Sarah and Jacque all start a co-op.
Pamela chooses five meals to create.
Starting on Monday night, she creates a Enchilada Casserole for her own family, and in addition one for both Sarah and Jacque’s family. She then freezes Jacque and Sarah’s, after first carefully marking what the meal is on the container it is placed in, and quick, and easy, directions for the meal.
Meanwhile on Monday night at Jacque’s house and also at Sarah’s house, the same thing should be occuring. Each girl is preparing a meal for their own family, and then preparing one for each other family in the co-op. This continues throughout the entire week with each meal.
A week after they have begun, Jacque, Sarah and Pamela get together to exchange their meals. Pamela will give five meals to Jacque and five meals to Sarah. Each lady should leave the swap with ten different meals (five from each of their friends).
And if Pamela, Sarah and Jacque were smart ladies, they should have also prepared an extra dinner each night for their own family and frozen it.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.