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Funky Freezer Girls: Jackie Wheeler explains how she began her freezer group. Plus a yummy Chili recipe.

Our March guest cook Jackie Wheeler explains how she began her meal swap group:

Funky Freezer Girls came to being in June 2010.We started out with 7 people.We each made 6 of the same meal (extra for our own freezer if we wanted).I felt so blessed to walk away with 6 different meals at the end of the exchange. I know I wouldn’t have been able to make those 6 different meals for the same cost it was to make 6 of the same meal.Not to mention the time involved in making 6 different meals.It has blessed each of our families in ways we never imagined.Less stress, more time, meals together, meals into lunch boxes for work.  Here are the steps that I took for planning my first swap and you can do it too!

  • Pick out some friends who would appreciate and need this idea. (AND that you are willing to eat what they make, have similar size family, and same food preferences.)
  • Message everyone and see who is interested. (Figure out how many meals/friends you are wiling to have.This might depend on your freezer size.)
  • Decide when and where you are going meet.We meet the first Friday of the month at the same location every month so we keep confusion down.
  • Find out if there are any allergies or major preferences.I.e. My husband is allergic to nuts so I asked that nuts be left out of the recipes and/or warned ahead of time. 
  • Keep communication open.I use facebook, created a fan page and create events for each months exchange.This helps keep track of whose participating, what meals are being made, and if there are any questions.You can use email, e-vite, facebook or any other method that is easy for you.
  • Decide on the type of pans you are going to use and size.An 8 x 8 pan can provide a family of four at least one meal w/ leftovers.We used foil pans at first and now use the Glad ovenware reusable pans (freezes, bakes, microwaves and can wash in the dishwasher).A little bit of an investment at first but over time reduces waste and the cost becomes better.
  • Make your meals (one for each person exchanging). I recommend making family favorite first while your getting the hang of it.Test new recipes on family and test freeze them before you make it for your group.

“Heidi is my partner in (Funky Freezer Girl) crime so to speak. She helps me keep up with the FB Page and is a great cheerleader for when I have “stuff” going on. Here is one of her recipes. It works for our group for many reasons… one of the best is that it is duplicatable… we can just grab all these items from our pantry and make it again anytime.”Pantry Protein Dump Chili/Filling  Member recipe: Heidi PettigrewServes: 8Prep time: 30 minIngredients:
1 lb ground beef (optional if you want to make this vegetarian)1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed1 can black beans, drained and rinsed1 can of corn, including liquid1 can of diced tomatoes, including liquid (substitute with Ro-Tel if you want more kick)1 tbsp cumin1 tbsp chili powderInstructions:Brown Ground beef in separate pan. Add all ingredients, including beef to crock pot on high for 4 hours. Cool completely. FreezeOn serving day: defrost and heat. You can either eat this in a bowl like chili or fill a flour tortilla and each like a burrito.

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