One of the biggest challenges I face as a mom (and the primary cook in our family) is figuring out what we’re going to eat for supper. You’d think it wouldn’t be that hard. It’s not like I don’t know it’s coming. It happens every day… around the same time. So why can’t I get a decent plan together?
Because it takes a lot of work. Planning, shopping, prepping, thawing, chopping, and—in my case—ensuring things aren’t burning while simultaneously engaging little people (with me or preferably elsewhere—as long as they’re not screaming at each other).
All parents face this issue—whether you’re at home or away during the day. The best solution I’ve found? A Freezer to Slow Cooker Meal Swap. You make a meal—one for yourself and one for everyone swapping with you. In return, you get several meals prepped and ready to go for those times when you just don’t have another ounce of energy at the end of the day.
I’ve been to two successful swaps—one detailed here and the other recently organized by a friend. The recent swap went beautifully.** The parameters this time were gluten-free and vegetarian. I’m the gluten person, and I knew that could be a pain. My friends dutifully sent me their recipes ahead of time, and the only sneaky culprit was veggie stock. So I just asked them to leave it out of mine, and I’d add my own when I cook the meals. I was little hesitant about the vegetarian requirement…but the more I thought about it, I think it’s the way to go. Meat is expensive (especially if you’re trying to buy organic cuts for 4-6 families), but it’s relatively easy to add to a slow cooker meal if you want to do so. Moreover, I tend to fall into a squash or broccoli or sweet potato rut, so getting a freezer full of different vegetable combinations fixes that problem!
Our hostess set a time and date and gave us these instructions:
1. Bring 5 servings (one will be for you, four to give away)
2. Please double ziploc and freeze flat (if you have pre-frozen)
3. Put instructions in-between the two bags
Here are the recipes we tackled at this swap:
Chana Masala: Smitten Kitten
Vegetable Soup: Cooking Classy
Pumpkin Coconut Black Beans: Once a Month Meals
Black Bean Quinoa Taco Soup: Little Leopard Book
Chickpea, Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Stew: eat, live, run
Is the slow cooker one of your favorite kitchen appliances? Have you ever been apart of a swap? Have any great recipes to share?