Meal Prep

family dinner (not my family)

In this crazy, hectic world of ours, I enjoy the little things like sitting down together for dinner as a family. This doesn’t get to happen every night because T’s schedule is ever changing, but I enjoy it when it can happen. I think it’s good for the little one too. It’s the one time when phones get put away, we talk about our days, we discuss dinner, we make up silly names. Tonight, she gave me grief for us having tacos because “it’s not Taco Tuesday!!” So, my solution? Tonight was dubbed Thaco Thursday. Say it out loud. It’s hilarious. She looked at me like I was crazy until she slipped and said it. Then she was laughing too and it stuck.

Like any other person, I have lazy days where I just don’t feel like cooking. Some days T will pick up the slack and cook instead. Other days, I want us all to sit together for dinner, but I either have no idea what I want for dinner or I have no desire to cook it. These are the times where it’s handy to have some pre-planned meal prep ideas.

Like I’ve said in earlier posts, I have my little prepper stockpile downstairs. We also have a freezer full of meat and vegetables (each February/March we buy either a 1/4 or 1/2 cow from one of the local farmers and it usually lasts until the following winter) and I try to make what I can ahead of time when I have the motivation to do it. Today I made a batch of meatballs to freeze before I made “thacos.” This way, when I have the lazy ‘Let’s just have spaghetti’ day, I can throw in some homemade meatballs and make a meal out of it. I’ve tried a few make ahead freezable crock pot meals in the past. While the concept behind them is amazing, our house wasn’t a big fan of those recipes, so I will have to figure out something new on that front.

Another thing I like to do to ensure that homemade meals are being enjoyed is to intentionally make a little too much. There are only 3 of us in the house, but I will defrost 4-5 chicken breasts or pork chops and cook everything. This way T has a homemade meal to take for lunch that he just has to throw in the microwave at work. (By the way, a trick I learned from my stepdad, when I buy chicken or pork from the grocery store, I open the packaging and place each piece of meat into its own sandwich bag before freezing them. This allows me to defrost exactly what I need and the meat defrosts quicker because it isn’t all together.)

For Christmas last year we asked my mother in law for a pressure cooker. She bought us the 8-in-1 type that works as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, soup maker, slow cooker, and I’m not even entirely sure what else. I just know the thing is amazing. I can put frozen chicken in there with whatever type of sauce I’d like to pair it with and in 12-15 minutes, it’s done, tender, and falling apart with a fork. This has saved me on multiple occasions when I was either too lazy to defrost something ahead of time or too busy during the day. I’ve also made roasts in the slow cooker. That you need to plan ahead for, though.

My plan is to make some freeze ahead meals for after I have the baby. A tray of baked ziti, some slow cooker recipes that we actually like, plenty of meatballs, etc. This way our way of life isn’t completely disrupted by the new little one in the house. It’s going to be a big enough adjustment for all of us. I’d like to keep as much normalcy as possible for my peanut.

What do you do to ensure your family is eating a home cooked meal? What ways do you prep ahead of time? Also, if anyone would like to share any freeze ahead recipes, they would be much appreciated.

Have a great night and thank you for reading!!!


Author: Candice

I am a wife, mom of 1 1/2 (it'll officially be 2 in May), part time waitress, avid reader, and an unpaid comedian, chauffeur, cook, maid, therapist, and cuddler. I love my family more than anything and as scared as I am to start over on this whole mom gig, I'm so excited to do it again.

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