I get asked a lot about my frozen food group so now that we have this blog I will start posting a few times a month about what I am making or what I receive and maybe I'll even share some recipes if anyone seems interested. So far our blog has not received any comments so I am beginning to wonder if anyone is actually reading it (yes, this is a hint)!
Let's make sure we are on the same page first:
What is a frozen food group?
It is a group of families (we have 7 total) who exchange a frozen meal with each other once a month.
What does being part of a frozen food group involve?
Once a month I make an entree (and sometimes a side dish) in multiple, package and label it for freezing and then type up and print out the directions. Later in the month I meet with the other moms from the families and we exchange our meals. So, for example, if all 7 families are participating in October I will take 6 meatloaves to the exchange and return home with 6 other entrees plus I will have my own meatloaf in the freezer.
How does a frozen food group handle the costs of making the food?
In our group we each keep track of our costs and submit them online (we created a "group" on google to keep track of everything). One of the members averages them and then she determines what each person owes the other in order for everyone to have paid the "average" in the end. Some months I don't owe anything, other times I owe someone and other times I get money from someone else. We do not typically include the cost of staples (salt, sugar, etc) or packaging in our totals.
Where does a frozen food group find recipes that are okay to freeze?
I use the Dream Dinners and Dinners in the Freezer cookbooks alot. Some of the other moms like to use Recipezaar which has a section on Once A Month Cooking (OAMC). Beyond that you can do a search on google and find lots of random blogs of folks who do OAMC or other websites such as 30 day gourmet with recipes. Also, the group I am in has been exchanging for 2 years or more so we also repeat family favorites regularly within the group.
Hopefully this gives you an idea of what I am talking about.
I made my meatloaves last weekend so I don't have any "progress" photos but I can take a picture of the meatloaves in my freezer. I will write again later and include the photo. Our exchange is on the 16th this month so I will plan to get some photos of what I receive. We have 6 families participating this month and so far I know there will be a chicken pot pie, a beef and fettucine alfredo dish, a polenta casserole with sauteed peppers and sausage and my meatloaf. There will be 2 more dishes that are currently TBD. I am considering making a side of candied carrots to go with my meatloaf but I need to add up my costs and see if that brings me closer to the average or puts me higher than the average. If it puts me higher then I will probably hold off. I like to be right around the average every month so I don't have to worry about taking any money or knowing that the money I receive will likely not be put back into our grocery category but spent on something else instead. Stay tuned....