Hi everyone –
I began writing this update early in the week, but then got waylaid and am just returning now, much later than I had planned! Here’s to good intentions!
The swap went well this past Monday evening! During the meeting we covered a bunch of detailey things that we thought might be useful to record here so that we all have it as a common point of reference. Here’s what we chatted about:
– please remember that our group has agreed that the ingredients we use in our meal prepping will be MSG free. The specific words to look for in ingredient lists are: “Monosodium Glutamate”. MSG is a common additive to sauces, dry soup mixes and breakfast sausage.
– when prepping from the Breakfast category, please be mindful of the amount of meat provided as a side. Sometimes the amount of protein included has been on the small side, especially for families who are serving 6.
– for our entrees that include already cooked pasta, it seems to work best for the noodles to be cooked “al dente” (ie not quite fully boiled). Since the noodles will be heated again, this helps keep them from getting too soft.
– if there is an upcoming month that you are planning to take off from the swap, please give us as much notice as possible. We’ve got several great folks who are willing to be occasional subs, so this allows us time to connect with them and keep the group as full as possible.
– please continue to use Freezer quality Ziploc plastic bags – this truly makes a difference in helping protect the integrity of the frozen food. Double bagging bread and buns is also really important in avoiding freezer burn.
– while we bemoaned the million small finger cuts that seem to go along with the Sam’s Club aluminum pans and lids, these seem to provide the sturdiest and most economical pan and lid option. A couple of people with Sam’s Club memberships offered to pick up pans and lids if other swap members who don’t have a Sam’s membership would like them. And if you find yourself using aluminum foil to top your 9×13 pans, please use multiple layers of heavy-duty foil. This helps keep the food better protected, and also protects against rips in the foil if the pan gets jostled while in the freezer.
– if you haven’t already “followed” the blog, please do! That way updates will come automatically to you, including reminders to submit your recipe each month.
– it’s been a few months since we’ve designated extra meals for families who are in particularly heavy places, but please let us know if, in the circles in which you travel, there is a family who would be blessed by some extra meals. We’d love to continue extending help and blessing in this way!
– last, just a general reminder that entrees should each cost in the $10 ballpark – more some months, particularly when you’ve got the Beef category, and a little less other months. If your entree is coming in substantially less than $10, consider adding an accompanying side (ie – a bag of veggies, good dinner rolls, frozen fruit for smoothies, etc.).
It was great to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the meal swap when we were together on Monday….it’s crazy how quickly time passes! We’ve got a good thing going, and it’s fun to be doing this with each of you! Thanks for your tasty meals and your commitment to doing this well together!
See many of you on April 10th!