my dinner group

A couple of friends, Julie and Andrea, and I started a dinner group last Spring. It has been WONDERFUL and I don't think I could ever go back to the way it used to be. Here's how it works:

Every Monday we make 1 dinner each, with enough to serve 3 families (4 servings per family). We each bought 3 Pyrex dishes that were the exact same size and came with lids and that's what our dinners go in each week. Then we meet at one house and swap meals. For example, last Monday, I made 3 recipes of Shrimp Scampi Pasta, Andrea made BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Julie made Beef Stroganoff, separately at our own houses. We divided the meals into 3 for each of the families and then swapped. So I came home with Baby Back Ribs, Beef Stroganoff and my own Shrimp Scampi. (this week was a bit on the unhealthy side....usually we have one main-dish salad a week and some sort of whole grain dish)

We get together every couple of months and plan out what we're going to make, so we don't end up with 3 salads or 3 chicken dishes that particular week. We also have to plan it so a few of the meals still taste great later in the week when they are reheated (since we exchange all of them on Monday). So at first when Julie described to me how the whole thing would work, I was skeptical. I mean, would dinner made on Monday really taste that good eaten on Wednesday? But it totally works. For example if you're doing a salad, you prep everything, but put each ingredient in separate bags, not tossed with dressing. Or with Julie's Beef Stroganoff, the meat was seared and seasoned, the sauce made and noodles cooked, so all I had to do was throw the meat and sauce in the Crockpot to finish cooking and heat up the noodles that evening. Obviously my Shrimp Scampi was eaten the first night because it had Shrimp in it. Anyhow, I absolutely love it. Monday mornings are a bit crazy, but it's so worth it. You have hardly any dishes the rest of the week because dinner is already made in one dish. You have one dish to pots, pans, spatulas, etc. I love that it makes us try new things and I get out of my rut of cooking the same things. I also think we save money because it's only one trip to the grocery store a week and way less take-out. Here's a of what the meals look like when we switch.

I'd suggest this to anybody. I love it.