Psssst….originally this was 1 post, but it was way too many words to make you guys read in 1 single sitting, so it’s broken into 2 parts- Meal Planning & Meal Prepping. This is Part 2 & you can go read Part 1 here!
Last week I began sharing about how we’ve changed our dinner routine in order to eat at home more. So far, it’s kind of working, so I thought someone else might benefit from our “new found” knowledge. You can read all about our struggle & Meal Planning in Part 1 here!
Now, let’s jump right into Part 2 shall we?!
2- MEAL PREPPING
I don’t mean the meal prepping that involves grilling 100 chicken breasts & filling a 1,000 tiny plastic containers with precise amount of veggies, rice & sweet potatoes. I have nothing against that life at all; I do that for husband’s lunches from time to time. But, seriously who wants to eat that for dinner 5 times a week & from a tiny plastic container none-the-less. I want real food & I want it fresh & I want it on a beautiful plate. Obviously, that’s not always doable, especially if you’re not doing any kind of prep.
So, here’s what you’re going to do…
Since you have the meals already planned for the week you can always be sure to have the appropriate meat thawing already. I keep an empty plastic container in the fridge just for holding packages of meat that need to thaw. that way you don’t have to worry about meat juices getting anywhere, etc.
Earlier in the day, or the night before you need to prep everything possible for dinner. If the meat is thawed & seasoned or marinating & the sides are cooked or the dough is prepared, you are almost forced to east dinner at home that night! It would be a huge waste to prepare everything then choose to pick something up or eat out instead. That fear of waste alone should help quite a bit.
On nights I’m getting home late from work or whatever, my husband is getting home a couple of hours earlier. So I will have everything as prepared as possible for him to cook. I will set out the correct pots & pans with spatulas or spoons & detailed directions for him. If you’re going to be the one cooking, you can skip the notes part, but still put out the appropriate pots, pans & utensils. I will even pull down plates, bowls, glasses & silverware that we’ll use for dinner. Set the table if you have the time, whatever works. For some reason, doing all of this in the morning seems to take much less time that it does when you get home from work & it seriously helps soooooooooo much! Even if you work from home or are a stay at home mom, I suggest doing the same prep-work. I do it on days I’m off sometimes too & the whole night goes that much smoother.
I know this might be kind of vague/confusing/a lot of words, so I will share a couple of examples.
The other night we had this Chicken & Gravy over rice with peas & carrots. So I had the chicken thawed & seasoned in the fridge, waiting to be cooked. The mushrooms were washed, sliced & sitting in the fridge as well. I had the pan it needed to be cooked in sitting on the stove with a bottle of oil sitting on top, the cans of cream of mushroom/chicken & the bottle of sherry sitting in the pan as well. I even had the tongs out for moving the chicken around in the pan. The cutting board was ready beside the pan with a knife sitting on top. The rice was already measured out in the rice cooker & the water was sitting by it in a measuring cup. I threw a bit of butter & salt over the rice too. Since the veggies were frozen I poured the amount we’d eat into a glass dish with a lid, seasoned them & left that sitting on the counter also.
All that my husband needed to do when he got home was take the chicken & mushrooms out of the fridge & cook them in the pan, then add the cream of mushroom/chicken & sherry. He had to pour the water into the rice & turn the rice cooker on & put the veggies in the microwave. That was it! I left detailed instructions for him, of course, but there wasn’t he cold do to mess it up & everything was totally prepped.
I would do it exactly the same way if I was prepping it for myself to make, minus the written out notes.
If you get all your prep done in the morning or the night before, you’ll likely already be cleaning the kitchen from breakfast or the previous dinner, so you won’t have to schedule an entirely new clean up session.
I know that was a tooooon of words y’all, but I wanted to make sure you got the idea.
Okay, now I want to hear your meal prep tips!!