Back in January, I decided to jump in with a bunch of friends and fellow moms to form a meal swap group. One friend took the initiative and found a great cookbook full of freezer meals specifically designed for meal swap groups. She organized our first meeting to discuss logistics, including how often to meet, likes and dislikes, types of recipes, allergies, cost, and so forth. We chose the date of our first meal exchange and our meal swap group of ten moms was born.
I decided to make Black Bean Burritos, not just because I like them, but because I thought it was a fairly manageable recipe for my first foray into cooking six family sized (4 serving) meals at a single time. I had planned to make them earlier in the month, but life got busy as it always seems to do. So the night before our meal swap, after a weekend out of town, I finally headed to the store to buy all the ingredients, including thirteen pounds of black beans. The original plan was to prepare the meals and eat one of them for dinner. That idea got tossed out the door at the grocery store when I realized cooking six family meals may not be the quickest of all endeavors and it was already getting late. On my way to pick up seven onions in the produce aisle, I decided to call for pizza delivery.
After we ate dinner and the kids were in bed, I finally got the kitchen ready for the big production. I cleaned all the counters, got out all the ingredients, set out cutting boards, knives, bowls, and other tools. As I was peeling off the outer layers of the seven onions, I realized it was going to be a long night. My husband laughed that next day when he described finally lying down for bed and being jolted awake by the food chopper banging against the cutting board over and over again. Two hours into the cooking process I wondered what in the world did I get myself into? With three big pots of beans cooking on the stove, I felt like I was back in my food service rotation at school. Then finally, I was rolling burritos and actually finding it somewhat relaxing. The meals were coming together and looking pretty tasty. I assembled each family’s bag with their burritos, salsa, cheese and reheating instructions. When they were done, I was impressed.
The next morning, I packed my cooler full of burritos and headed to meet up with the other moms. Any doubts about joining the meal swap group were quickly erased as I emptied my cooler of burritos and filled it with Broccoli & Chicken Quiche, Sloppy Joe filling, Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Chili.
Thanks to my meal swapping friends, I’m well on my way to achieving my New Year’s resolution of making more home cooked meals.