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Great Dinner Swap: Casserole Edition

Great Dinner Swap: Casserole Edition

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Fall is in the air, school is back in session and schedules are cranking into high gear. Once busy season hits, you hardly have time to make dinner, much less try something new. Before you know it, you’re stuck in a supper rut, repeating the same dishes over and over or relying on takeout too much.

Good news…there is a way out—one that will spice things up, save you money, and bring friends together for an evening of good food and fun. Time to host a casserole swap!

Much like the time-honored Christmas cookie exchange, a casserole swap involves guests doubling up on their best casseroles, then trading them during a cozy meet-up. In other words, everyone makes two casseroles, one to be served at the event (which is awesome for the host!) and one ready to store in the fridge or freezer. Casserole swaps are a fun way to help your friends (and yourself) survive the dizzying dinner season together.

Read on for 7 handy tips and tricks to make this shindig a true success:

1. Swap Planning 101

Before you send out invites and start buying supplies, do some quick research first. Ask potential guests if they have any ingredient allergies, dietary restrictions or foods they just can’t stand. You can shape your party with those needs in mind, letting everyone in the group know ahead of time if there are any ingredients they should avoid while cooking.

2. Invitation Only

Now it’s time to send out the invites. Set a time and place, and be sure to explain:

  • Each guest should bring two of the same casserole—one that’s ready to eat and the second to be refrigerated or frozen.
  • Suggest that swap-ready casseroles arrive in a disposable container. Your guests will thank you later for the quick cleanup!
  • Don’t forget to remind the group to bring reheating instructions for their casseroles.

3. Casserole Roulette

Have you ever attended a potluck that’s featured multiple versions of the same dish? To avoid repeats and guarantee plenty of edible variety, try assigning guests specific casseroles. Even if you’d rather let spontaneity rule the day by encouraging friends to bring whatever they want, it’s still a good idea to share recipe suggestions based on what stores best. We’ve rounded up a few favorites here, all delicious and freezer-friendly:

4. Set the Stage

To hold all of the goodies, have plenty of hot pads and non-metal trivets handy to protect hands and surfaces from the heat of your warm and delicious, just-from-the-oven favorites baked in your Pyrex glassware. You’ll also want to gather plenty of serving spoons and have supplies so guests can create little signs for their casseroles. This helps folks remember what fits their dinner needs when it comes time to switch dishes.

5. Slide in Some Sides

Prepare some quick appetizers and add a salad to round out your party menu, like this Summer Bean and Pepper Salad, which you can toss together in a handy PYREX® EASY GRAB™ 2 QUART OBLONG BAKING DISH.

6. Swap Central

About 10 to 15 minutes before guests arrive, turn on your oven to the “low” or “warm” setting. This way, the casseroles can be tucked away and warmed until it’s time to serve. You’ll also want to set up several ice-filled coolers to hold the dishes that will be swapped. For transportation purposes, offer guests paper or plastic bags to hold casseroles. Set out a permanent marker or two as well, so the dishes that will be taken home can be labeled and dated.

7. Freezer Fantastic

In most cases, the casseroles everyone will take home should last 3 to 4 months in the freezer.

If you and your friends really want to stock up on some serious busy-season meals, you can also set up your party as an exchange in which everyone brings several batches of their dish, and guests go home with one of each casserole.