Here's a great way to save money and have fun at the same time: Cook with a friend. I started cooking with my girlfriends a few years ago, and found it was the perfect way to catch up with a friend while I stocked my freezer with dinner for my family, treats for my kids, and baked goods for an impromptu brunch.

The other day, my friend Alison and I made vegetable stew with rice at my house. While our kids played happily, we pooled our ingredients and took turns peeling, chopping and stirring. Within an hour we both had a delicious dinner for the night, and enough leftovers for lunch the next day. Then Alison had the idea to take the leftover leeks and make a yummy leek and potato soup as well. Another meal to check off the list.

Cooking dinner can often be a tedious chore -- especially with kids underfoot -- but do it with a friend and it becomes a fun get-together. Plus we saved a ton of dough by buying in bulk, then sharing our ingredients and making at least three meals together. Several months ago, Alison had the idea to turn this fabulous notion into a Yahoo site and now a website. It's a great way to set up cookie and appetizer exchanges and get some food in your freezer for a later date. This year, a group of friends and I pooled our time and efforts and made granola and biscotti as teacher gifts -- a huge hit, and also a money saver as well. Check out Cookingwithfriendsclub.com for fantastic recipes you and your friends can cook together.

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