Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to Host a Crockpot Meal Swap

Each person will make 5 meals that can either be dumped into the crockpot or popped into the oven to be baked. You want each meal to be pretty complete. You don't need to provide a 4 course meal but say you choose to make chili, it would be nice to add a side of cornbread or if you do spaghetti maybe include a 1/2 loaf of French bread (98 cents at Walmart for the whole loaf) just so that each meal is ready to be served to the family. You can alter things depending on the people you invite but in general most meals are made for 4 people. 

Each meal needs to include:
the name of the recipe
to thaw, if necessary
Anything they must add (i.e. water)
cooking instructions
use-by date

You can write directly on the ziplock with a sharpie or make labels.

This will be a quick in and out type event as everyone will all have freezer meals that need to get home so you want to set the total time for this no more than an hour. I think the longest any of mine have gone is 20 mins. 

For my recent swap I made Spicy Coconut Chicken. Total cost was $40 and I spent about 20 mins putting the meals together and in exchange I received 4 meals plus I had made 6 portions of the spicy coconut chicken so I had 2 of those for our own family. I could have saved more had I shopped at Aldi but I was heading out of town and planned poorly so I bought my groceries at Target. That being Said spending $40 to get 6 home cooked family meals is still very cost efficient. 

Here are the other meals I received in exchange:
Chicken Noodle Soup

Taco Soup 

Almost all Veggie Lasagna

Chili with Cornbread

Now with an exchange its best to go tried and true. While most Crockpot recipes are pretty fail proof, not all are. In my last case like I said I was pressed for time and just took a chance on the Spicy Coconut Chicken. It still came out really good but I'd definitely do things differently next time. I added a cup of water to this because I wanted more sauce but it diluted the coconut milk so next time I'd do 2 cans of coconut milk and I'd add the full amount of spicy. I also served this with cooked white rice but if I ever do this on a swap again I'll include a bag of veggies to be microwaved at added at the end. 

Spicy Coconut Chicken -- 1 bag
1 can coconut milk (I used lite)
2 tablespoons sriracha

1 bouillon cube
1 tablespoon garlic thai chili paste
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium)
1/4 cup white onions, chopped
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 bunch cilantro
4 chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients in bag and freeze until ready to cook. This recipe does not need to be thawed. Cook on low x8 hours. Serve with rice.