Dinner Swap Co-op

A few friends and I have created a most magnificent arrangement when it comes to feeding our families dinner. My genius friend Lisa stumbled across the idea to create a dinner co-op. Genius I tell you. Why didn’t we think of it before?

Basically, this is how it works. You gather a few friends that like to eat food like you. In our case we have 4 members (hoping to someday have 5) and we all eat relatively the same types of food and we all like to cook as organically and as unprocessed as possible. Then each person is responsible for cooking one meal per week (multiplied by the number of people in the group) for the group and we decide upon the meals each person will make ahead of time. We pick a day to swap meals and TADA! Four different meals in exchange of one.

We had our first meal exchange last week and it went really well. We had Chili, Green Chicken and Veggie Curry and rice, Cranberry Chicken and green bean casserole and Lemon Chicken Linguine.

We are getting together for our 2nd swap today. This time we are going to work on our organization by meeting with calendars and figuring out the meals for the rest of the month.

I can not tell you how much I appreciate this little group we have created and the concept in general. Do you know how much relief there is to have all your cooking for the week finished by Sunday night or Monday afternoon? All the meals are done! (Even though it is only 4 meals we have a family pizza night once a week thanks to pizzaholic husband and then on weekends we mostly have leftovers, etc). These meals also leave plenty enough for me to have leftovers for lunch so my lunches are taken care of as well. Another cool factor? You save money! It is so much cheaper to buy in bulk and multiply the ingredients for one recipe rather than buying ingredients for several recipes.

I plan on making a separate page on my blog pretty soon in dedication to this dinner swap co-op. I’d like to start posting the recipes to the meals we are exchanging.

Now all we need is that 5th person and we are ready to rock and roll!



  1. Vicki · January 21, 2010

    My friend and I also do this now, but I like the idea of more families. So do you freeze the meals and then when you get together to swap, do you meet at someone’s house and exchange? Right now we drop off on our day, so my day was yesterday and I dropped off and Friday is my friend’s day and she will drop off then, but I think I like your idea better…

  2. Heather · December 27, 2009

    Its nice to hear that the idea of trading has actually become more widespread. I started this in my neighborhood and now a lot of my neighbors have decided to join into groups. I also decided to make a website to spread the idea (http://www.dinnertrade.com) hoping this idea will become more popular and that families will realize the importance of eating dinner together.

  3. Terry in Chicago Area · December 12, 2007

    I would love to start something like this in my northern suburb of Chicago. Just yesterday, I made a “double meal” for my neighbors across the street who recently had a new baby: Greek lemon/oregano chicken, rosemary potatoes and Greek salad. It felt good to cook someone a meal, but what a lot of work! I could have just as easily cooked 4 or 5 times the amount I did and provided meals to folks in a meal exchange group. Hmmm…can’t wait to see the recipes you’ll be posting!

  4. Lisa · December 11, 2007

    This has brought me such a peace and taken a load off of my mind, I just can’t say enough good about it. It truly is fantastic and I encourage everyone who reads to start your own group.

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