I've always wanted to meal share, I'm pretty sure I may have just made up the term "meal-sharing" but it's where three family units (all should about the same size) get together and share the load of making dinners each week. This is an awesome idea for a few reasons:
1. No one likes coming up with dinner ideas and if you only have to come up with two each week that is AWESOME!
2. It's a cheaper alternative. It is always cheaper to make a meal that serves 8 than to make that same meal that serves 2. Most likely, you will be purchasing the same amounts of some things but will be able to use all of it rather than just a portion of the item.
So here is how it works. First you need to find two other groups of people like yourself that are willing to give this a try. Since Lilly is only 10 months old we would want to try to find two other couples that have one or two small children so that everyone is contributing the same amount and it's easy to equally divide the meals.
If it were me, (and hopefully it will be soon) I would meet with the other two moms at the beginning of each week and swap your meals. I would also make sure everyone had something like this
I own this CorningWare set and it comes in Handy. I think it would also be helpful if everyone owned the same thing. This set comes with plastic lids as well as glass lids which makes it easy for transport.
Since you have three groups of people I would have each group make two meals a week. This way you have six meals prepared each week. I would leave the seventh night free in case you and the Mr. wanted to go out for dinner... or just eat leftovers... or grab a pizza... or fast.
As far as which type of meals you make, I would suggest ones that can be easily frozen or refrigerated for a few days. Examples would be Sloppy Joes, Enchiladas, Soup or Casseroles.
Below is a recipe that we eat at our house a lot (Chicken Vegetable Soup) I usually make it for just the two of us but the ingredients below will make enough for 8 people (three couples and a kid or two thrown in there).
I usually serve biscuits with the soup, I just grab the "just-add-water" bags and they are about $1.00 a piece. If I were to make this recipe for just the two of us I would have still purchased many of the products and spent the same amount (like the cream which doesn't come in smaller amounts than 1 cup) So, I did end up saving money by making a greater quantity!
Chicken Vegetable Soup (enough for 8 people), served with Biscuits
- 4 cups of chopped chicken meat
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 2 cups of chopped onion
- 2 cups of celery
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- 12 cups of chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- 2 cups of diced potatoes
- 1/2 cup of diced carrots
- 1 cup of light cream
Alright, one meal down and one to go. For my other meal I would make Enchiladas. Below is the recipe I use (this make enough for 8) (the recipe can be found here)
- 1 lb of chicken breast, diced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- eight flour tortillas
- 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese (Mexican blend is good)
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1 (15 oz) can of chicken broth
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1 4 oz can of chopped green chilies
So for under $34 you have all your dinners prepared for the week.
Another tip, it might be good to chat ahead of time to make sure no one's eating enchiladas 3x that week :)
Also, I'm sure you could come up with some cheaper meals as well, like Spaghetti or those Complete Meals from Betty Crocker? You can purchase them on Amazon in a pack of six. (Yes you can purchase food on Amazon and for not a bad price too!) Three boxes would be more than enough for 8 people and then your total meal cost would be only $9.75! (and it would only take you 10 minutes to prepare!!)
The options are endless! Could you imagine if you only spent $20 a week on dinner for your family and only had to prepare two meals!? I'm getting excited just thinking about it! This makes your trip to the grocery store so much easier because you don't need as many items. I'd love to hear your stories, whether you've tried this in the past or might try it in the future.