The question for three families in the Harrington Oaks Subdivision is not “who is coming to dinner?” but “who is making dinner for us?” The families strapped with busy schedules and a desire for more quality time have adopted a neighborhood meal sharing program and are pleased with the results.  Here is how it works:  Each family takes a turn cooking for the other two families one night per week. The catering family shops, prepares and delivers the meal for a total of twelve people. Busy schedules are taken into account with the catering schedule changing on a weekly basis.  The menus were all agreed upon in advance with likes and dislikes accounted for. The meals are well balanced each including salad, bread and an entrée.
By Steven Snow
Food Columnist
Local Families Reap Benefits of Meal Sharing
Penne Carbonara serves 12-14
3# penne rigate
1#  diced pancetta(Italian bacon- check the grocery deli they should have it- have them slice it ¼ inch thick.)
1 quart half and half
3 tbspn chopped fresh garlic
5 whole eggs
2 cups grated parmesan(preferably fresh)
1 bag frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste
Cook Pasta in salted, oiled water until tender. In a large pot sauté bacon until golden and drain ½ of the fat off. Add garlic for 1 minute and stir in half and half and boil.  Add the peas.  Add the pasta and reduce heat to low. In a separate bowl whip the eggs thoroughly.  Stir the pasta vigorously and pour the eggs in. Turn off heat.  Add most of the cheese leaving a small amount for topping. Place in casserole dish top with remaining cheese and heat in oven until golden-brown and hot.
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“The idea started at a cookout where we were grumbling about the amount of time we spent preparing dinner and cleaning it up,” said one neighbor. “I found myself with too much food for three of us and no one eating the leftovers.”
All of the group agreed that the additional cooking one night per week was worth the two nights off. They were also encouraged by the spending less on average than they had previously. “It actually cost us less for the three day period, even though we spent more on our night.”  The neighbors watched out for sales at local grocery stores and found it less expensive buying a larger volume of food.
No one will say who the best cook is but the quality of the food has definitely improved thanks to friendly competition. One of the neighbors, Lyn Kelly shares her recipe for penne carbonara which she served with a caesar salad and a baguette.