I love a good girls night.
When I was in college, me and my roommates had “roommate night” every Thursday night where we took turns cooking a yummy dinner and watching a favorite TV show. Once I got married and went to grad school, opportunities for girls nights became less and less, eventually falling off my radar.
Fast forward to two kids later when a friend of mine invited me over to a girls night where we would work on crock pot meals. All I had to do was chip in for my share of the groceries (which rarely exceeded $25) and I would leave with 5 meals for my family. I was IN.
I could have girls night, 5 free nights of cooking, and the friend hosting it was going to make dinner for us! I couldn’t believe it…best idea ever!
I’ve done meal prepping before on my own and it is really boring.
I’m an extrovert, so doing a mindless task like cutting up carrots and potatoes for an hour by myself is like nails on a chalkboard. HOWEVER, hanging out with friends, chit-chatting, eating good food, AND getting 5 whole free nights that I don’t have to cook that month? A-MAZ-ING.
So have I convinced you yet to have a girls night at your house that saves you money and time??? Here’s how we do ours!
- Number of friends 3-6
- Number of meals – no more than 5
- Hours needed to prep meals – 1-1.5
- Jobs needed to be done before prep night -make grocery list, Walmart pick up, hostess, dinner, clean up
- Other things you will need – lots of gallon freezer Ziploc bags!
There are usually 5 in our group who come faithfully. One girl has a large kitchen and a passion for cooking (read – has all the fun knives, measuring cups and chopping boards) so she usually offers to host while her hubby takes the kids out for special daddy-daughter time.
I like to do the ingredient list. Once we have picked the recipes we want I simply write down all the ingredients from each recipe (multiply by number of girls) and then give the list to the Walmart pick up gal.
Usually the Walmart pick up is a rotation job for whoever can do it just before we need to start cooking. You don’t want to pick up to early or your ingredients that have to be refrigerated will ruin. ALSO, if you are concerned about food spoiling you can do what we do which is skip the meat.
So when we make our recipes we just add the meat on our own at home at the time of cooking. This helps too with preferences of meat, amount, and cost. We had one friend who didn’t eat red meat, another who only uses organic and me, who mostly uses meat from my deep freeze when I find it on sale (or from my husband’s hunting season).
On the night of,we all usually show up as soon as our husbands can get home and watch the kids (about 5:30 pm). Once we are all there we enjoy a nice dinner from the girl who makes dinner for us all (in our case, our hostess!). You can all offer to chip in each time to cover costs or make this one of the rotation jobs!
We don’t rush this part. We enjoy dinner and chit chat. Once everyone is through we get rolling with meal prep (while we keep chatting of course!).
So far the EASIEST way we have found to do it is for each person to take ONE recipe and just make it 5 times. So if I’m doing pot roast, I measure out all the seasonings, cut all the veggies for that recipe and bag it. Of course, don’t forget to write what recipe it is with a Sharpie AND how long to cook it for (ie 3-4 hrs on high).
It really only takes about an hour or so for this part. And that’s going at a leisurely pace while we talk. If there is one recipe that is crazy harder than the others, we will pair up that one with the easiest and two people tag team those.
Don’t pick hard recipes your first time. Use your first time to make just like 3-4 super easy meals where you just dump cans of veggies lol. The first time this friend group did a meal prep night they did 7 recipes, several of which were required some cooking for the final result. The group didn’t finish until midnight and several girls didn’t return! That’s why we only do crock pot meals that can be stored in Ziploc bags.
Pick friends who have similar food tastes as you. If you have a friend who is SUPER healthy but you only like fried foods, you probably will have a hard time finding recipes you can agree on and both enjoy. We are all healthy eaters who mostly eat gluten free (some of us for allergy reasons) so this works great for all of us! We have certain recipes that we know our families like and we usually pick at least 2 from our “favorites” list each time and then throw in a couple of new ones to try from Pinterest.
Last tip – everyone stay to clean up! It may seem obvious but I’m adding it here in case your hostess tries to pull the “no it’s OK I’ll clean” card. STAY. It takes way less time when everyone cleans up at the end 🙂
We already have our next meal prep night scheduled and I can’t wait to see my friends again after taking a long summer break! That, and, having 5 nights off from “cooking” this month 🙂