Back before COVID-19 hit, I was part of a "supper swap" group with some girlfriends.
Hot meals on the table five nights a week and I was only responsible for ONE of them.
And if I'm being completely honest, it was nothing short of amazing.
While we're not completely "opened up" from our stay-at-home orders yet, I still want to share this concept for those of you that might be looking for a way to save a little money and eat at home more often once we're free to be out and about.
1. Form Your Supper Swap Group
Our Supper Swap group included my sisters-in-law, a few friends, and my mom.
For us, having five families in our group worked best. We each cooked one night per week. On the weekends, we ate leftovers and cooked for our own families.
Before we began this process, we listed out how many servings each family would need, any allergies, and any dislikes.
2. Fill out the Supper Swap Calendar
We used Google Docs to fill out our Supper Swap template. I put the dates in ahead-of-time and then the members of our group went in and decided what date each week would work for them to cook.
We also shared what meals we were planning on making. Our meals consisted of a main dish and one or two sides. Sometimes the side dishes were already cooked and sometimes, we would send canned goods for the family to fix. Every once in a while, someone would send a dessert, as well.
Another thing to discuss with your group is how each family will get their food.
For my family, my mom's house was a central location with an accessible refrigerator right inside the back door. So our group just made sure all the food was at her house by 4:00 each evening. Each family was responsible for picking up their own supper package.
Some other families might do a drop-off, where the family that cooks takes the meals around to the various families, depending on how close you all live to each other.
A third option might be for each family to pick up their own meals at the cook's house each night.
This is something your group will need to work out. My sister-in-law and I live very close together, so every once in a while, we would just grab both meals for both families. One of our friend's kids rode the bus that my sister-in-law drives, so sometimes she would just drop her meal off with the kids!
Just think about your options and develop a plan early on so everyone in the group knows what to expect and what is expected of her.
4. Get to Work!
Now it's time to put in the work! To prepare for this venture, we all bought some reusable casserole dishes and plastic containers to share amongst the group. By doing this, we weren't always worried about getting dishes back to the owner. We just cooked in them the following week and passed them all around.
After your calendar is filled out and your reusable containers are purchased, it's time to start cooking once a week and grab a hot meal the rest of the week from someone else!
If you commit to having your meals ready for your friends once a week and putting forth the effort to make this concept work, I promise you will really enjoy this process!
5. Tweak the Process and Start Again
After your first week or two, you'll notice some things that you might need to change for the future. It's no big deal to just be in contact with your friends and make those changes right away or as you go into the new month. Just remember to be flexible with the process and to take good notes about what did and didn't work!
Bulk cooking takes a little bit of preparation, but by the second or third week, you'll fall into a rhythm.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments or over on Facebook that I missed here!
Looking forward to starting the Supper Swap again soon,