I can't lie.
I love meal prep.
Grocery shopping, chopping, slicing, dicing.
However, I'm realistic enough to know that not everyone feels the same way that I do about grocery shopping. Not to mention, I'm a full-time working mom of a 2 & 3 year old, who runs a part-time business on the side, and I'm also in the process of earning my Masters Degree in Integrative Health & Nutrition. So, I get it! Ain't nobody got time for all of that chopping!
As a result, I've come up with some ways to make my own life easier.
- My crockpot and my pressure cooker are my besties. Just a few of my favorite Crockpot recipes (which can also be easily modified for the pressure cooker) are:
- Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal. This is one of my favorite breakfast foods of all time, and my kids love it too.
- Crockpot Beef Stroganoff -- I have to note that I modify this recipe by substituting plain Greek Yogurt for the cream cheese, and I use an organic cream of mushroom soup...because it makes me feel less weird about it being cream of mushroom soup.
- Italian Sausage and Cabbage Soup
- Salsa Verde Chicken
- Nearly every week, after I grocery shop for the coming week, I use last week's leftover bread to make French toast for the freezer. This makes it easy to have a quick breakfast for me or the kids. If you make the French toast as usual, as you remove it from the griddle/pan, layer it on a cookie sheet with wax paper between the layers, and then just put the cookie sheet in your freezer. Leaving it there for a few hours will flash freeze it, and then you can pop the frozen pieces off of the sheet and into a large Ziploc bag for longer storage in the freezer.
- Repeat the same "make a bunch ahead" process once a month for waffles and/or pancakes. My favorite prepared mix to use is Kodiak Cakes (high protein version is my favorite, but they're all delicious), and they freeze fantastically.
- Use this process for any type of muffin that you'd be interested in eating for breakfast or snacks. I normally make a batch of muffins when I have a few overripe bananas lying around.
- I make-ahead lasagna about once every 3 months. When I make a pan of lasagna, I generally make at least one extra for the deep freezer...usually 2. It just makes evenings much easier when I'm working late. However, it does take forever to bake if it comes directly out of the freezer, so this requires a bit of planning to make sure you have allotted enough time for it to bake. Or you'll be eating lasagna ice cubes. Not delicious.
- I employ this same 'make ahead' theory to Tater Tot Casserole, Chicken with Wild Rice Casserole, and basically any other "casserole" dish. They are generally very resilient, keep well in the freezer for several months, and the whole family likes them.
I have a large post about this in the making, including a bunch of tools to help you be successful at meal planning and preparation.
If you have any specific questions, just let me know! I'd be more than happy to help you plan your meals ahead a little more efficiently. Just a few hours every week or two can make your life much less hectic, and will help you to reach your goals!