Meal prepping has become a big thing for busy families. Taking time on the weekend to put a few things together can save time on busy weeknights.
I have done meal prepping in many forms: bulk cooking, planned leftovers, once a month cooking, doubling and tripling recipes. I’ve tried it all. I do a mix of meal prep techniques.
MY MEAL PREPPING STRATEGY
I follow a theme night system that makes meal planning SUPER SIMPLE. You can read about that here.
How I meal prep largely depends on what I’m cooking. I like to make very large batches of red sauce and freeze the extras. I love making huge batches of soup. It’s easy to fill pint mason jars with the leftovers and stick them in the freezer. They make easy, quick lunches. Planned leftovers is a great strategy to make mealtimes much easier!
I like to make two or three lasagnas at a time. I like them for nights when everything goes south but I still need to get dinner on the table. They have saved us from ordering takeout on more than one occasion.
Another thing I love to do is have hubby grill up five or ten pounds of chicken breast at a time. I can turn that chicken into topping for a big salad, throw together some quick enchiladas or even make a quick chicken soup.
This works with so many different meal prepping ideas. It makes filling the freezer easy.
MY NEW FAVORITE COOKBOOK
Recently, I found a new game-changing meal prepping cookbook. Cook Once, Eat All Week by Cassy Joy Garcia. It’s quickly become a favorite in my kitchen!
The focus of the book is simple. Each week you focus on one protein, one starch or starchy vegetable and one non-starchy vegetable. You’ll have enough for 3 meals per weeknight. Each week she lists 2 other recipes you could supplement with for extra dinners. She makes it easy to swap out ingredients too. My hubby refuses to eat pork unless it’s bacon. For any of the recipes that call for pork loin, I can easily swap out beef or chicken. If you’re not a fan of kale but like spinach, easy swap. She also lists ways to make each recipe dairy and grain free if you choose.
MORE THAN LEFTOVERS
The best part of the book is that the 3 meals each week are very different. Recently we had one of our favorite weeks where I turned a 10lb beef chunk from Costco into 3 amazing dinners, with leftover beef. We had cheesesteak fries, pepper steak stir-fry and Greek salad. I’ll turn the leftover beef into a super yummy beef stew this weekend.
Just taking a little bit of time on prep day makes for some quick weeknight meals. She lists out all the steps for each part of the prep work. It seriously couldn’t be any easier. She even gives you recipes for all the sauces and dressings for the week. If you’re in a pinch for time that week, you could just grab your favorite bottled sauce or dressing.
SO MANY YUMMY RECIPES
This week I’m making three recipes that called for chicken breast, kale and corn. I’m low on homemade chicken broth so I just grabbed two whole chickens from the freezer. I’ll just bake up both chickens and pull out what I need for this week’s recipes. If there is any extra meat, I’ll use it to top some yummy salads for lunch this week. Since we’re looking at rainy weather all week, I’ll use some of the leftover meat, the broth and some chickpeas and veggies to make a yummy soup! The produce is really strong currently here in Charleston so salads with tons of toppings make up the majority of my lunches. The recipes we ended up with are confetti chicken casserole, Mexican chicken and corn street tacos and green goddess salad. Y’all, they were amazing!
So…I LOVE this cookbook and look forward to her next one! I have been making 2 sets of weeks each week. I’ve been making a beef one for dinners and a chicken or pork one for lunches since hubby doesn’t eat them. It makes our mealtimes so much easier!
Do you meal prep? What methods do you use? Have you tried this cookbook yet? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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