On to the topic of Meal Prepping! We do this once or twice a week at our house. Once we have our meals planned out we decide what we are going to prep and get everything ready.
Type of meal prepping
There are many different types of meal prepping. There is a misconception that meal prepping means cook every meal for the week and be done with it. Meal prepping is whatever you want it to look like. However big or small. Let’s go through somel of the more common types.
Batch cooking is basically cooking a very large portion of a single thing. Commonly this could be for something like soup. You make a very large bowl of soup, for example, portion it out, label it and store it.
Assemble without cooking
I use this method a lot with marinades and meats. I buy a ton of meat and marinades, then get my storage bags ready and prepare the different marinades in each storage bag, add the meats, seal them up, label them and store them in the freezer. I love doing this with chicken drumsticks for example. I find it so nice and convenient to pull the meat out of the freezer that I can thaw and simply cook without worrying about how to season or flavor it. It is already done!
Assemble with cooking
Here is a category that I will use with things like casseroles and meatloaf. I make up large portions of these, cook them, portion them out and store them. When it is time to eat them, I just warm them up. Now, meatloaf is a fun one because what I do often is to either eat the meatloaf as is, or I cut it up into small pieces, add some veggies, mix it up in a casserole dish and put organic tater tots on top. My kiddos LOVE That.
You can also prep portions of meals. For example, we’ve already talked about prepping just the meat. Another great thing that you can do is to prep the veggies. I don’t recommend prepping the veggies and freezing them. I feel they are better kept fresh and unfrozen. But you can certainly prep veggies for meals coming up in the next 1-3 days or so. I will often cut them up and store them in the fridge until it is time to use them. You can store them in a glass storage container or you can vacuum seal them (this option seems to work better in terms of keeping them in tip top shape).
As we’ve already discussed, meat prepping can consist of separating meats with marinades and freezing or storing them without cooking. Meat prepping can also consist of cutting meats, pounding meats and anything else you might need to do in order to prep for a given recipe.
Why meal prep?
Meal prepping can save you time and keep you eating healthier!
When you meal prep and always have something in the fridge or freezer to pull out for dinner, it saves the last minute choices of pizza night or fast food, for example. Now, we have pizza night frequently in our house so pizza night in and of itself does not need to mean an unhealthy choice. You can make your own crust and sauce or buy a cauliflower crust pizza. However, just because it has a cauliflower crust doesn’t mean it is healthy. Look at the ingredients list.
As for time saving, imagine cooking dinner 5 out of 7 nights in a week, all of which contain meat. If you had to properly set up and clean up each night, that would take time. But if you set up and clean up just ONE time, imagine the time savings!
What can be prepped?
6) And anything else you think fits for prepping for the week!
Here is an example from the other night where my hubby and I did some meal prepping for the week. Here is what we made:
1) Large portion of meatloaf to freeze
2) 2 Small portions of meatloaf to freeze
3) Marinated chicken drumsticks to freeze
4) Marinated chicken drumsticks to put in the fridge for dinner
5) Southwest chicken to put in the fridge for dinner and leftovers
6) Salsa chicken to put in the fridge for lunches
7) 2 portions of salsa chicken to freeze for lunches
This took about 60 minutes with both of us working on it. I probably could have done it in 90 minutes by myself. But I saved a TON of time down the road!