So last week I went over my basic rules for meal planning. The number one rule being- keep it flexible.
If my plan wasn’t flexible I’d never be able to make it work.
This is a typical scenario at my house:
I look at the list of meals available.
Mr. Wonderful looks at the meals available.
I ask what he’s in the mood for (I’m usually not picky as we’re already working from a list of things we like).
He says he doesn’t care.
I decide we’re going to have Tacos and pull hamburger from the freezer when I get home in the morning (I work overnight).
At 3 in the afternoon when I get up I am d.r.a.g.g.i.n.g. The boys are crazy crabby and Mr. Wonderful says he’s running late and needs to stop and pick up a prescription…would I like if he picked something up from Target.
Why YES!!! Please do, we can have Tacos tomorrow. After dinner that night I cook up the Taco meat so it’s even less work the next night.
Another way I keep it simple (and avoid the previous scenario) is by using ready-prepped meals from Let’s Dish. Once a month I go to Let’s Dish and prep- since it’s really just the 2 of us eating I break each meal into 2 which gives me 8 meals in the freezer. These meals are in either Ziplock bags or aluminum pans, labeled with cooking instructions and clearly state whether they need to be thawed in advance or cooked from frozen. They usually have a couple different ways to prepare them (stove top, grill, bake, crock pot) so I can use the grill in the summer when we want to be outside or throw it in the oven when we’re heading into the cold months.
So now I’ve got my meals from my grocery list, PLUS the 8 meals I made at Let’s Dish. This month I made four things we’d never had before: Green Coconut Curry, Orange Teriyaki Mahi-Mahi, Chicken Pesto Panini’s and Cannelloni Bianchi. So far they have ALL been delicious.
One thing I’ve learned from doing meal prep this way is how to prep my *own* recipes in advance so they are ready to go when I need them. I’m not cooking in advance, just getting all of the ingredients together so I can just pull it out of the freezer and cook- no measuring, no looking for ingredients, no chopping up veggies, no cutting up meat- just cooking. This is a lifesaver when I’m tired, the kids are crabby and Mr. Wonderful is going to be late.
It seems like meal prep “stores” have popped up everywhere the past few years. Have you tried this? What did you think? Have you attempted to prep meals in advance on your own? Give it a try- it’s a huge time saver.
Here are some current coupon codes for Let’s Dish:
JUGGLEMEAL good for a FREE meal on a 4, 8 or 12 meal session held between 10/1/09 and 11/15/09
STATEFAIR09 good for $15 off any 4, 8 or 12 meal session held before 12/30/09