Preparing meals to exchange (WHO)

Many parents dread the question: what’s for dinner tonight? A group of metro neighbors came up with a solution to the nightly dinner dilemma. They take turns hosting a monthly meal night.

Brandy Case Haub says, “We just open up our houses and we bring all the meals and sit and talk and drink wine or non-alcoholic wine and have dessert.” Case Haub started the group of seven neighbors about seven months ago. The ladies get together each month to swap meals.

She says, “It’s a great time saver. Instead of coming up with ideas for dinner every day, day after day, and it’s a money saver too. And, it’s also just a lot of fun to get together with people in your neighborhood.”

The moms spend about an hour to an hour and a half in the kitchen once a month. They freeze the meals, include heating instructions and bring the goods to the monthly meal exchange. They go home with seven dinners to thaw and throw in the oven the next few weeks. The only rule: Keep it simple, healthy and cheap. Member Stephanie Cathcart says, “We usually buy generic, but stay healthy, try and stay as healthy as we can, but we buy in bulk and generic and we can usually do it for $30.”

Cathcart says it’s fun to see what her neighbors dish up each month. And, she says it’s fun to know they’re not only feeding their families, but also someone in need. She says, “The eighth meal is going to go to somebody in need that a gal in the group knows that feels like she could use, her and her family could use some freezer meals this month.”

The ladies say meal favorites include enchiladas, burritos and anything with pasta.