The. Greatest. Thing.
I had a request for the details....
I have my friend Sarah to thank for getting me started. She had been doing one for a while and kept raving about it. She actually does it weekly - I personally could not handle that but, wow! That must really change her life! 2 hours a week prepping her four meals and she is done for the week! Imagine coming home from work and not having to figure out dinner. Or imagine having a long day at home with the kids and not wanting to make the kitchen a disaster trying out some new recipe.
I started by finding three others that were interested. I actually emailed two people in my mom's group that I thought, not even knowing them very well, would be interested. They were already both in a meal group (together). Very weird that I thought of them and that they were already doing one. But they both knew of people who had showed interest so I emailed and away we went. So know that you don't have to know the people that well - you will get to know them and that is one of the best parts. So Jessie, Paula, Gwen and I talked out the details. We planned on meeting once a month at one of our houses. I think my friend Sarah might meet at houses or a coffee shop. Our kiddos play and we chat. And the best part - we walk away 3 meals to use during the busy month. For me, I always make an extra pan or two of my meal so I then have a few more than 3. The family sizes in our group are different so we make the same amount for each family - enough for the largest eating family. Jessie and I have smaller (littler eaters) so at times they split our meals into two smaller meals which is great too. The meal mainly is the main dish and it has to be frozen (most meals can). If the meal is maybe smaller or cheaper we will throw in a side of rice or a garlic bread or something. I am known as "Mexican Shell Girl" and have made that recipe a couple times because everyone loves it. And since we do it once a month it is easy enough to repeat a recipe from time to time. It seriously takes 2 hours or less to make the meals. And those four or five nights that you don't have to cook are totally worth it. My friend Sarah's group invested in enough Pyrex 9x13 pans so that everyone has plenty to use. We just rely on the tin pans (that you can wash and reuse - I didn't realize that before this group). I was worried that was going to be a big cost for us but plenty of meals go in zip bags etc. So it hasn't been a big cost.
We have been doing it for a year now. My hardest part is finding a recipe that I am excited about and confident about to share. I have done a few recipes without testing them out first and everyone has survived. I know of meal groups that keep track of how much meals are costing but we don't worry about that. I think my friend Sarah's group also discusses the type of dish - chicken, beef, pork etc...since they do it weekly they don't want all chicken meals.
Let me know if you have any other questions. The people you do it with do NOT have to be your best friends....because they will become great friends who you are thankful for 3 nights a month! The gals that I first approached had made some yummy foods at potlucks that attended .
Go for it! It really is a time saver! It might even cut down on groceries! And for me...it is like eating out for dinner because it is something I DIDN'T slave over all afternoon.