A No-Frills Dinner Swap!

My friend Pam and I have been talking about doing this for over a year.

And since food concerns us all, to some degree, we busy moms of 6 active kids tried something different with our cooking.

I’ve said it before: I really get tired of eating my own cooking! So I asked Pam if we could swap meals once in awhile? She’d cook for our family and I’d cook for hers!

So I brought Pam this one night last week:

And she brought our family this:

I said – No Frills! As in, let’s just swap the main dish and keep it simple.

Meals can be very inexpensive and don’t have to be elaborate at all. We all have our shortcuts in preparing a meal, but sometimes it takes creativity. Meals should always be more than just food.

Pam and I try to make our meals interesting – pleasing to the eye. Because guess what? Every family has blue, dark, grey days. When the team lost their game or a kid gets a bad test score. When a kid is bullied at school, or comes home sick, or even when the parent gets some not-so-great news!

Isn’t it up to us moms to get something on the table that looks good, and is also healthy and comforting to the belly? I know for a fact that children can feel the difference in a home that takes on this attitude.

So Pam helped me out one night last week, as we enjoyed her delicious lasagna. And her family benefited from my green enchiladas.

By the way, I changed it up a little. Using my green enchilada recipe, here, I added green chilies and black beans to the meat. YUMMY!

I also took an extra pan over to my friend who just had eye surgery, along with individual potpies that I cooked up the night before. I threw in fresh apples (future post) and tomatoes from the garden.

Yes, ladies, we cooks have a great opportunity to make something very real out of the dishes we prepare. When I get down or blue, I need to remember that I am making a difference to my family.

And it was actually fun last week to maybe make a difference in another’s.

Have you thought about a dinner swap with another family? Change it up a little and give it a try!

30 comments on “A No-Frills Dinner Swap!”

  1. Great Idea. I never would have thought of that, but it surely would be a wonderful treat and would inspire me as well.

  2. that’s a great idea… swapping home cooked meals with friends.. :) both dishes look great…

  3. what a fabulous way to score new recipes and get a little variety on the table. great idea!

  4. Hi Sandy

    I've heard of this on the cooking forum I belong to, a great idea, you know the problem I have is that many of my friends simply don't cook, they either buy it ready made or grill a piece of meat and add a bag of salad. I'm racking my brains as to someone I could ask.

    there are some girls on my forum who do the make 6 dinners thing then they all have a big swap for the freezer, I would really like to try that seeing as I am a big once-a-month-cooker and like to have my freezer stacked with homecooked meals – our schedule is so hectic due to elite gymnastics & state academic comps that to come home to a home-cooked dinner on school nights without any hassle is a real help to me and I think it is vital for family life to have homecooked meals…

    I've been bored with our family meals lately and have spent sessions on my recipe site adding new things to try in my next cook-up



  5. sandy- that sounds amazing. well it looks amazing too! your blogs and pictures are always so great! and your recipies … well mouth watering comes to mind. you sure have been blessed with some great gifts!

  6. What a fantastic idea! My friend and I were going to get together and cook a meal that we could split and take home…but this is even better because you get something totally new and yummy that someone else made (I think it always seems to taste better when someone else cooks!). I love it! :)

  7. That looks delicious! I love green chilies!

    What a fun idea – dinner swap. I may have to try this one day.

  8. I love this idea of course. I think it is a fun way to share your staple meals with friends. What you might think is common in your family might be spectacular to someone else. Thanks for the link to your recipe.

  9. I is so good to be reminded of the love cooking can pass on to those enjoying it. That is what will get me up when I am tired to put something together for those I love.
    Thanks Sandy for encouraging!

  10. Wow, this looks yummy!!!

    Thanks for visiting today and your sweet words….and yea, the picture is awesome, don’t ya think?? : )


  11. I’ve never thought of dinner swapping, but I’m all about bringing the family together at night with a nice meal. It might be the most important part of our day.

    I can’t wait to hear more about those pot pies.

  12. Once again, another fantastic idea! There is so much one can do to bless another person when it comes to food. I offered dinner (I had an abundance!) to Eve’s principle the other day… She said she had a really bad day and my offer was a huge blessing. You just never know how God can use a simple meal to encourage another person. And this meal swap is a sure fire way to bring encouragement! Thank you for the great idea!


  13. ok sandy – we'll bring you 4 quarts of salsa and some chips for some green enchiladas! What a great recipe – yum! And, what a great idea….sometimes you just get in a rutt, and this would be perfect!
    Have a great week!
    Karla & Karrie

  14. A Dinner Co-Op! What a GREAT idea – I love it! What a great way to bless your family AND your friend with some new recipes all around.

  15. Not a swap but we have young friends with a new baby and the Mom just started back to work. I’m going to take a meal to them one day this week. They have YOU to thank, because you are the inspiration behind my gesture.


  16. I love this idea! I am constantly trying to think of something “new” to make. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    What a great idea! I get so tired of eating my same old stuff so this would be great!

    Another idea I have heard of is getting like 4 girls together and each of you make a dish/casserole or whatever. But instead of making one serving, you make 4 (or however many girls are participating) and then you each give your dish to the other ladies. So if there are 4 of you, you end up with your own meal and then 3 others. If you do casseroles, you can freeze them and save them for a later date!

  18. I have done this before and then it got really big and there were 6 dinners being swapped to freeze! It was great and I didn’t have to think
    “What are we having for dinner?”
    Happy Monday!
    Sandy Toes

  19. What a great idea – a dinner swap!?! I have never heard of such a thing but I just love it. So fun.

  20. I have never done a dinner swap….maybe I will do this one day…but your meals sound wonderful. I’am however making Taco Soup for a friend who is having surgery on Thursday.

  21. I’ve kind of wanted to do something like this on a regular basis with a couple of friends for a while now, but haven’t ever actually gotten off my butt and DONE it!

  22. What a fun idea! And I love that you made extra for another friend who had surgery. You get a huge blessing from giving, don’t you? I truly is better than receiving.

  23. Great idea Sandy! I may have to try this sometime.

  24. That is such a cool idea but you would have to make sure you swap with someone who can cook lol. You are so wise lol. Oh I made a Chicken Caesar Lasagna the other night that you might be interested in. I posted the recipe today. I can’t take credit for the recipe but it sure is a winner.
    Blessings to you!

  25. That is a great idea. I have never thought of it, but I just might do that!!

    I cooked up a quick batch of chicken soup and drop biscuits for lunch today. Both of my girls were up sick most of the night. I slept in with them till 9 and thought chicken soup would be just the thing for all of us. My oldest is the only one who hasn’t eaten any yet.

    While at our youth camp this year I was talking to two of our leaders (guys..one married, one not), and we decided that an enchilada night was in order. So sometime in the next few weeks we are doing just that…making up a few versions of enchiladas and enjoying them all together.

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