Weekly Meal Recap/Upcoming Week Meal Prep

Cooking comes so easily in the winter months compared to that of the summer months. Cooking warms my heart, my insides, and just takes up time that I have plenty of when I can’t go outside. This week I made two new recipes and both were big hits. Take a look at our nightly meal selection and maybe you will be inspired to spend some time in your kitchen

Sunday: grilled lobster and shrimp over pasta with dill lemon butter sauce

Monday: chili

IMG_0192

Tuesday: crockpot chicken and cabbage over bulgar

*** This was a new recipe I tried from my new clean eating cookbook. I did have to change a few ingredients up to make it work for my family but we did really enjoy the finished product.

IMG_0199

Wednesday: out with my brother for our monthly chat/dinner

Thursday: hoisin ground turkey, sweet potatoes, spinach, and cabbage over farrow

Friday: salmon patties with dill yogurt sauce, seasoned rice, and cabbage

***I have been wanting to try making my own for quite some time. Since we went out once already this week and numerous times during the holiday I actually felt Friday would be perfect instead of our typical night out before weekly grocery shopping. They were fabulous…I was quite surprised since I had tried another brand of canned salmon years ago and it was horrible.

IMG_0214

IMG_0216

Meal prep: With a big menu next week including three new recipes we are going to try, food prep had to be spot on. I am once again bombarded with burp cloths and baby bottles so there really is not much time to do all this during the week. Here is what I all managed to get done in an hour and a half.

A few granola, fruit, and yogurt cups were made for my husband for breakfast.

IMG_0191

I whipped up a quick salad dressing to use this week. IMG_0027

IMG_0029

Of course I did lots of veggie prep since this is a huge time saver, hard boiled some eggs, made hummus, chicken salad, and dinner for the evening which was veggie enchiladas. IMG_0219

IMG_0226

IMG_0221

Which means I am officially ready for the week….let the fun begin.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Reader Question Answered: How Do I Manage To Cook Every Night? Meal Prepping-It’s A Time Saver

Over Christmas break I had a few requests from some readers for some specific blog topics. Meal prepping and daily exercise were the two most asked about. Today I am touching on meal prep since, for me, it’s takes very little thought and is priceless.

Many of you are parents and are very busy but still want to prepare healthy meals for your family. I too am a parent but my son is much older now, although, I am a childcare provider and care for very small children 10+ hours per day 5 days a week which is exhausting some days. IMG_8059

However, I still manage to prepare meals nightly for my family which I share with you weekly (like here, and here)  to inspire you all to get in the kitchen and cook. Today I am touching on meal prepping and why it is such a time saver for me.

First, let me give you a bit of insight into my life. Monday- Friday I religiously work on routine….a tight routine. Wake up at 4a.m., pack two lunches and make two breakfasts, eat breakfast with my husband, and leave the house to workout by 4:50a.m. every single morning. Trust me this takes planning. I then return home by 6:15a.m., shower, and begin to prepare for my daycare children to arrive from 6:30a.m. on for breakfast and the day. We have a normal day, they all get picked up at 4:30 or there about and I immediately go into dinner mode and begin preparing dinner for my family. Dinner is served at 5:30 when our son arrives home from work and dinner is then cleaned up and either I do yoga or go back to the gym for a second time with my husband depending on what day it is. We then return home at 7:30p.m, I shower again, and I am usually in bed by 8/8:15p.m.. Yes, routine for me is crucial!!!

OK, with that being said, this is why meal prepping can pay off for everyone. Spending an hour…maybe a bit more can allow you to pre chop any veggies for weekly meals.

IMG_0180

It can allow you to prepare healthier lunches for yourself, children or spouse instead of some processed wrapper covered convenience food, and can allow you a bit of breathing time if your day is thrown into a tailspin and you have to readjust on the fly.

IMG_0177

Now, don’t think that even with this tight routine things still dont go wrong because they do. And sometimes they do often. Especially being a parent…if kids are involved things can go wrong very quickly. However, having options like pre cut veggies and easy to grab healthy options that are ready to go makes it much easier to pick up the pieces of a failed plan and not call the takeout restaurant for delivery. Dinners for us during the week are far from gourmet…but they are healthy and fresh.

IMG_0023

And believe me, having a major food allergy in our home as of the last few months makes calling for takeout almost impossible, so I do know how hard it is to think fast and come up with something instead of takeout.

The easiest way for me to meal prep is to plan a weekly menu and stick to it. Do this on the weekend, then grocery shop, then prep anything you can on Sunday before the beginning of the week. For me, Sunday works best, first thing in the morning so nothing else becomes more important. I usually will also make some go to foods for me for during the week also. Boiled eggs are a favorite….you can grab and go, smash them in seconds and make egg salad or stuff them with hummus and avocado with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and have a healthy fast lunch. I am never without hard boiled eggs in the frig. IMG_0170

Also if you have a sweet tooth make sure you plan for this. Having something sweet but healthy in sight is always better than grabbing that bag of candy and forgetting to stop eating them until you find the bag is empty. I keep a well stocked fruit bowl in sight at all times.

IMG_0184

I also was amazed when our son started his new job a few months ago to hear him ask me how he could make a healthier lunch but not buy expensive processed lunch meat. I suggested cooking up some chicken and making sandwiches or wraps with this instead. So he has been taking my idea and making this ever since starting his job. It easy, filling, and does not need heating up since he does not have this option like his dad does who takes leftovers every day. Plus, he can easily change it up with different meats or add ins.

IMG_0186

IMG_0189

Another great help when it comes to spicing life up a bit in the kitchen or adding flavor to dishes is to utilize your freezer. I will blend sundried tomatoes in olive oil and freeze in small containers. When you are ready to use in a dish simply take it out and toss it in. It unthaws in seconds and adds so much flavor.

IMG_7847

IMG_7849

You can also do this with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Simply toss the entire can into a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon tablespoons onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and toss it in the freezer. Wait until its frozen (2 hrs or so) and easily remove them and put them into baggies, containers or wrap each in plastic wrap. Place them back in the freezer and take one out when you need to add a bit of spice and get a deep smokey flavor in any dish. We love this in chili at our house.

IMG_0160

For upcoming weekly meals posts I will also include what I prep for the upcoming week according to the menu I have in place. Some things will be for meals and some things will be for work lunches. Maybe this will help and maybe it will not. Although, I do believe if you all give it a try and a bit of dedication you can really make your life a bit easier and find that making a meal after a long day is not always as hard as it seems. It’s kinda like going to the gym…..getting there is often times the hardest part. Just like starting meal preparation after a long day…once you start you might as well finish.

 

Meal Recap From The Week/Plus Readers Requests

Finally, we are once again back to nightly meals at the dinner table as a family. Holidays are great but the grazing from appetizer to appetizer gets old really quickly for me.

IMG_0142

Here are the meals that got us all back on schedule once again:

Saturday: grilled chicken, homemade stuffing, and corn….grilled food tastes so fabulous when the temps are down right frigid

IMG_0105

Sunday: out for sushi with my husband

IMG_0157

Monday: chili lime seasoned chicken, bulgar, and sauteed veggie bowls IMG_0077

Tuesday: stuffed manicotti and side salads

IMG_0076

Quick Tip: to easily stuff your manicotti noodles, prepare your cheese stuffing and scoop it into a ziplok bag, cut the corner and squeeze the filling into the pasta tube until it hits the other end.

IMG_0075

Wednesday: homemade chicken breakfast sausage(recipe here), egg, and cheese on Annie’s Homegrown biscuits IMG_0094

Thursday: homemade sloppy joes, sweet potato rounds, and homemade coleslaw IMG_0153

Friday: out

Coming up soon here I will be answering some of your requests from over the holiday break. More specifically in regards to meal prepping and how I manage to get dinner on the table every night when I care for small children as a career. To all of you that asked for suggestions, just know that I feel your pain, trust me I do. Being a parent is the hardest job you will ever do….but one of the most rewarding. I will offer some advice on how I manage to cook every night coming up soon.

That will do it for this week. Not bad considering we have been so out of routine. Plus, life is pretty busy here. More on all this as life happens.

Any other reader requests can be left in comment form and I will do my best to answer your questions.