Emily and Lindsay are two women who stopped by the “Sharing the Gospel, One Click at a Time” Sharing Station at BYU Women’s Conference. They wanted to share with our readers how they work together to make their lives easier with a Frozen Dinner Swap.
Dinner time can be stressful, especially when you have swim team, soccer and PTA all on the same day. One day, our friend Merica suggested we start a frozen dinner swap. We have been eating better foods, and with much less stress ever since. Here is how you to can start a frozen dinner swap group.
Step 1: Find 4 friends or neighbors who have families in similar size to yours.
Step 2: Pick a regular day to do your swap. We do every other Friday.
Step 3: Find a book at the library on frozen meals to get you started on what freezes well and what doesn’t. Casseroles freeze really well and so do things that marinade.
Step 4: Purchase gallon size freezer bags and quart freezer bags, and a lot of aluminum foil. Having aluminum disposable casserole dishes around is good too.
Step 5: Make 4 -5 meals at once. This can take a long time but you can choose a time that is good for you.
Step 6: Find a side dish or dessert that matches up with your meal. Frozen bread, vegetables or ice cream sandwiches are fun. (Some groups omit this step and just do main dishes.)
Step 7: Swap till you drop!
These dinners are also excellent things to premake for a friend who is having a baby, or surgery, or health struggles. Here is one recipe we’d like to share with you.
Lindsay’s and Emily’s Excellent Empanadas
Place a 2-3 lb pork roast (boneless) in a crockpot. Add one can of diced tomatoes (juice and all), and one can of diced green chilis in with the meat. Sprinkle cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper all over the top of the meat. Cook on high 4-5 hours or low 6-8. When cooked, REMOVE meat from crockpot (so it won’t be too soggy) and place in a bowl to shred. You can add more cumin or s & p if desired. We also like to add one more can of diced tomatoes, drained, while shredding the meat.
For the dough: (this makes 8 empanadas. If you need to make more empanadas to use up the meat, do the
dough in batches–don’t double or triple the recipe.)
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 c. cold water
Combine dry ingredients, then cut in the cold butter until mixture is crumbly. Add just enough cold water so dough comes together. Divide the dough ball in 1/2 and knead each half 2-3 times. Cut each 1/2 into 4 equal pieces. Cover. Let stand to rise for 20 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into a THIN 8-inch round. Place meat and a small amount of monterey jack cheese (optional) onto one half of the circle (don’t add too much or it won’t seal). Fold over the other half, brush edge with water and crimp with a fork. Seal well, or it will burst open in the oven. You can individually wrap these now, and freeze them.
When ready to eat, thaw for a few minutes while the oven preheats and bake as below. Brush tops with butter or an egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water). Bake empanadas at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden brown.
FYI-If you have leftover meat (and don’t want to make more dough), you can freeze the meat and then thaw later and re-heat in a frying pan for tacos/burritos. It’s still yummy.
Dinner is an important time of the day. It is a great time to reconnect with family members and talk about what happened that day. Frozen Dinner Swap has made our dinner prep time stress free. And our families love it!
[You can find more recipes like the one featured above at www.frozendinnerswap.wordpress.com]
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What a great idea. I’d like to be involved in something like that, I think.
Thanks for this useful tip. Although, we do our swapping differently in our neighborhood. We cook once a week (there are five of us in our group) then we swap meals. So its piping hot every time its delivered. Its really a great relief to us plus we get to eat together and sit down with our family every night! Do check out my site if you have the time (http://www.dinnertrade.com)
Heather (dinner group enthusiast)