Sharing meal prep and this week’s menu if you need inspiration (I know I always do).
Meal prep and planning is not my favorite weekend activity but it saves so much time, energy, and the pantry/ fridge space. We keep convenience meals to a minimum, and I like cooking in general, but I don’t have enough brain cells left to come up with dinner ideas on a typical week night. I have been doing it for a few years now, so the whole process doesn’t take very long. Here is my process and the tips I learned that make it easier/ faster (more tips in older posts here and here):
** Start planning the menu at the end of the week. Don’t wait till Sunday (unless you do your grocery shopping on Sunday). This way the grocery list is mostly made of the items I need for cooking, plus any staples that we are running out of. No random spending on things that will perish in the pantry or the back of the fridge.
** Be flexible with what meals are made on what nights. Shuffle the menu around based on what the week is shaping up to be like. The busiest nights call for the quickest meal.
I use this ancient dry erase board, nothing fancy or cute. It works just fine for moving the plan around, and it’s easy for the family to see what we are having for dinner (yes, they check the board).
Menu board design courtesy Phoebe.
This week’s menu:
- Italian sausage sandwiches, salad. For the sandwiches: ciabatta, Italian sausage (mild or sweet variety because of Phoebe), sautéed bell peppers and onion seasoned with dried oregano, mozzarella.
- Kielbasa with vegetable skillet. For the vegetables: mushrooms, onion, zucchini, potato. Fresh dill and parsley are good in this.
- Tortilla crusted tilapia, rice, green beans. Tilapia is premade from Costco.
- Croque Monsieur sandwiches, white bean soup.
- Chicken Tikka Masala, spinach, naan.
Here is what I usually have prepped for the week ahead:
Eggs: scrambled, baked, boiled, or in a casserole form. Today it was whole baked eggs with chicken sausage, scallions, and cheddar, baked all together at 400 F for 15 minutes along with a baking sheet of bacon.
I usually come up with the variations based on what veggies or breakfast meat I have.
Breakfast meat: bacon or sausage. I make a batch in the oven – 400F for 12- 17 minutes depending on how thick the bacon is. Drain on a paper towel as they come out of the oven.
Baked goods: muffins, bread, baked oatmeal. Today it was a Lemon Poppy seed loaf. Walmart had lemons on sale, so I grabbed a bag. It came out great but I’d use more poppy seeds next time.
Let me know if you are interested in more details or recipes. And feel free to share your favorite meal prep ideas. I always find it helpful to read other people’s tips on meal prep and menu planning.
Hope you have a nice week ahead.
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