This past weekend I decided to get ahead with meal planning and meal prep in order to reduce the stress of the first week back to school. I have done food prep before, but most of the time it was done blindly without any real plan. This time, I decided to be more organized and START with a meal plan and THEN grocery shop and THEN food prep.
I scribbled down my meal plan, understanding that it was more of a flexible plan than anything set in stone. I considered what ingredients I already had on hand and I planned a meal for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. I thought that Thursday could be a leftovers night. (This is what they call “chicken scratch”)
I also want to be prepared in the lunch and snack department. I’m going to be on campus into the evening most days, so a packed lunch and filling snacks are a must. The two most important foods to prep in my opinion are vegetables and whole grains. Preparing these two things are the most time consuming, but they are super important to ensure healthy meals.
So with my meal plan in mind, here is what I prepped:
Here’s how the meals turned out:
(Pork chops + roasted veggies + brown rice) In this meal, the rice was already cooked and the pork chops we cooked in the crock pot that day. When I got home the only cooking was roasting some frozen veggies.
(Salmon patties + spinach/tomatoes + grits) This simple meal was made even simpler, since the salmon was chopped and de-boned. Grits can be made in less than 10 minutes.
(Burger salads) Wednesday I knew I would be home barely in time for church, so Terry threw together this meal. Thankfully, the veggies were chopped so his job was to cook the burgers and shred the cheese.
(Kitchen sink zoodles) So basically I cleaned out the kitchen with this dinner. It contained zoodles, tomatoes, chopped salmon, cheese, salsa, and tomato paste. Terry had a church meeting, so I only had to feed me.
Here was my lunch most days:
(Quinoa salad + boiled egg +avocado) Turns out the grain salad I made wasn’t all that great and I was pretty sick of by the second day. Not wanting to waste any food, however, I had it 4/5 of the days. Next time I will not prep as much of a never tried before recipe. I think alternating two lunches throughout the week will be the best idea. Terry ate leftovers or sandwiches along with celery/carrots for his lunches.
I also made this pineapple fantasy pie by Chocolate Covered Katie evening snacks.
I made the mistake of using lite coconut milk, so it was more icey than creamy. Terry wasn’t crazy about it, but I thought it was pretty yummy! The crust was especially good- I will repeat it with other pies!
So am I glad I meal prepped? Definitely! However, I learned some lessons like don’t over-prep, consider the time limits of the evening, consider snacks and portability, and consider freezing half of what I prep.
Today is Sunday, so I will be back at again in-between church services. I am tempted to do other things instead, but I know how much easier this will make my hectic week.
What do you consider the most important to prep prior to a busy week?
Do you prep entire meals or just ingredients?