If you're bored with your own weeknight dinner rotation (hello, Taco Tuesdays), consider holding a soup swap with your friends. These events are great ways to socialize while sharing home-cooked food. Here's how to plan your own soup swap - a delicious idea for a chilly night!
One Month Before
Invite people. You'll want to plan in advance so that there are a few weekends before the event. Be sure to let everyone know they will need to bring six quarts of frozen, labeled soup (that's 24 cups). You'll need at least seven swappers (including you), but probably no more than about 20.
The Week Before
Make, freeze and label your own creation. Six quarts is usually at least two batches, so get out a couple pots (or fire up the slow cooker) and start cooking. Try an old favorite or branch out with something you've always wanted to try. There's no need to buy expensive storage containers -- sealable freezer bags, frozen flat, work great.
Here some top-rated soup suggestions:
The Night of the Swap
Write it Down. As guests arrive, write their name and their soup on a big piece of paper. Have name badges on hand and ask guests to fill in their name and the name of their soup (it's a great way to get the conversation going).
Pick a Number. Write out numbers on scrap paper, one for every swapper, and have them draw at random.
Telling of the Soup. The person who picked number one goes first. This is a chance to offer a minute or two of fun facts -- ingredients, history, health benefits or even the sad story of how it would have turned out better if only you hadn't gotten distracted with the immersion blender and ended up with puree all over the kitchen.
Swap! Starting with the person who picked number one, begin to pick your soups. Once you've made it through six rounds, everyone will have six containers of brand-new soups.
Give Back: If you have a friend with a new baby, or know someone struggling with illness, suggest a "bring a seventh quart" option. Your guests can help someone fill their freezer with nutritious meals for weeks to come.
Offer Prizes: Award prizes for silly categories like first one picked, first to run out, most exotic ingredients, best recipe name, or best story. Give old cookbooks (a cheap find at thrift stores or garage sales) or other cooking-related items as prizes.
Collect Recipes: Ask everyone to email their recipes to you and create a virtual cookbook for the group.
Find inspiration in this delicious collection of soup recipes and videos, including steamy potato, miso, chicken noodle, and more.
If you'd like swap meals on a regular basis, consider forming a dinner swap group with friends.