From must-make recipes to time-saving tips, we’ve got everything you need to know about hosting the ultimate meal swap party to stock your freezer with a dinner stash that will last for months. So call up your friends and get ready for one great afternoon of cooking together.
Start with Freezer-Friendly Recipes
Deciding on recipes that freeze like a dream is the key to any successful meal swap party. While we love casseroles, soups and stews for freezing, this is the time to pull out all the stops. If you’ve been dying to try that recipe for cheesy lasagna made with slow-braised beef short ribs and pork belly, instead of regular ground beef, go for it. Everyone will appreciate the extra effort when they finally dig in to their freezer supply.
If you’re looking for recipe inspiration, start with these 12 Make-Ahead Meals You Can Freeze.
Clear Out Space in the Fridge
Before your guests arrive, do an intense fridge and freezer clear out to ensure you’ve got enough space to accommodate all those meals you’re about to whip up. Take the opportunity to use up items you already have on hand, like frozen peas and corn for casseroles, fresh herbs and vegetables and even eggs, cheese and cream.
Have One Person Buy All The Food
Orchestrating a freezer meal swap party takes some next-level organization skills. Keep it as streamlined as possible by having one person do all the grocery shopping. This will minimize
waste and any chance of forgotten ingredients.
Make Work Stations
To run your cooking party with military precision, every recruit will need their own set of tools at their station — think chopping boards, a sharp knife (emphasis on ‘sharp’) and bowls to keep all those pre-chopped ingredients together. It’s also a good idea to ask guests to bring extra cooking vessels like pots and pans, to limit intermittent dish washing and make the most out of your time.
Before you start, comb through each recipe to see how much chopped garlic, onions and fresh herbs you’ll need, and then designate a member of the group to tackle it all at once, making use of appliances like food processors and mandolins. Prepping all the ingredients ahead of time makes cooking and assembly that much faster.
Another scrumptious recipe option is Shepherd’s Pie with “Squashed” Potatoes.
Make Sure You Have Enough Storage Containers
All those meals need to be portable, so ensuring there is sufficient food storage containers is key, especially if you want to maximize the number of meals each person gets to take home. One bonus to meal prep parties is that you often come out with more food than you bargained for, so plan accordingly. If your aim is to cook enough food to stretch into 15 take-home meals per person, it’s a good idea to budget enough containers so that everyone has 20. Also, don’t forget to label your meals clearly and include a simple ingredient list, the date it was made and cooking instructions.
Have Easy Snacks at the Ready
To have a marathon cooking day, you’re going to need sustenance. Ideally, things that don’t need to be cooked and don’t take too much time to prepare. We like the idea of a simple charcuterie board that guests can munch on throughout the afternoon, or this idea for a DIY bruschetta bar.
Looking for more kitchen tips? Try our 20 Life-Changing Freezer Hacks.