Host a Potluck Dinner Swap

Host a Potluck Dinner Swap

Organize a meal swap group and have homemade meals without having to cook every night.

Getting dinner on the table is no small task. Planning, preparing and cleaning up often become the focus instead of enjoying family time over a home-cooked meal. Wish you could cut your shopping, cooking and dishwashing duties to just one or two days a week? You can! Just round up a few fellow cooks and throw a potluck dinner swap. Here’s how to do it.

1. Pick Your Partners
Participants in the meal exchange need not be gourmet chefs to be welcome members of your group. What’s more important is the ability to consistently contribute tasty, family-pleasing fare. Based on the number of families and the size of each household, figure out how many portions each person needs to make.

2. Declare a Budget
There’s a big difference between the cost of ingredients for lasagne versus beef bourguignon, so make sure your group is on the same page (of the cookbook).

Steer clear of recipes that require expensive ingredients, exotic spices or unusual equipment. If you check in with each other at the beginning of the week, you might be able to save by buying certain ingredients in bulk. Also try borrowing gear that another chef in your meal swap circle already owns.


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3. Choose Your Recipe
This isn’t the time to experiment with crazy dishes. Don’t make anything that spoils in less than a week in the fridge or that can’t be frozen and easily reheated in the microwave, oven or on the stovetop.

Casseroles, stews, and other one-pot dishes are ideal — just make sure you’re not duplicating what another cook is whipping up.

4. Set Up the Swap
Sunday afternoons are a great time for a meal exchange. If someone in the bunch has a spacious kitchen, you might even cook together, which will boost the fun and the inspiration. If not, gather at the host’s house for the big dinner swap. Include instructions on how to store, prep and reheat your dish, plus what to serve on the side (egg noodles with your beef stew or brown rice with the chilli, etc.).

5. Make a Digital Cookbook
Store and exchange the recipes that everyone has prepared by creating an online cookbook complete with photos. It’s a great way to remember what you ate and how to cook it again yourself! If you like, print out the recipes once a year and create an actual cookbook using a DYI publishing template. You just might have a bestseller on your hands!

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