Making Dinner Work: Save time and stress less

If the simple question, “What’s for dinner?” makes your whole body tense up, you aren’t alone. The supper swap might just be the solution for you. Imagine only having to cook dinner once a week. It’s possible.

Here’s how it works:

You prepare one dish in bulk (three-times the normal amount), keep one meal for your family, and deliver the rest to the families in your swapping group. The rest of the week, someone delivers supper to you!

Call a meeting with your neighborhood freinds to discuss schedules, recipes, delivery times, any food allergies, and how to coordinate the exchange of dishes and pans. You can also do freezer swapping to stock up your refigerator (and your friend’s fridges ahead of time).

“The secret of the method is that you do all similar processes at once; Cook all the chicken, brown all the beef, chop all the vegetables. You shop one day or evening, the next day you cook–making one big mess and then minimizing it on succeeding evenings,” says Mary Byers, mother of two and author of Making Work at Home Work.

Trish Berg, a columnist who writes about women’s issues, says there are simple steps to dinner-swapping success. “Start with who you know. Ask a neighbor or a co-worker” or someone with whom you have something in common. Plan meals three months out and then write them on a calendar so each family knows what is being delivered for dinner each night.

“Be flexible,” Berg says. “When life throws you a curve-ball, like a sick child, a broken-down car or some other unexpected circumstance, have a meal backup plan for those nights agreed upon… like switching days or having pizza delivered if you are in a pinch.”

And make it simple. If you deliver a meal in the morning, have the meal prepared but not cooked, with cooking instructions attached. If you deliver at dinnertime, have the meal ready to eat.

…. Bon appetit!

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