We’re all trying to stretch our budgets lately. Everything seems a bit more expensive than last year. But instead of letting it get us down, we’re getting inventive over here and reverting back to something I use to do years ago. Meal prep!
I’m not talking about the huge meal prep Sundays that were very popular for a while. Are they still popular? Maybe so.
But, I do things a bit different at my house. A bit more sustainable for us long term. And maybe, it might be a help to your family as well.
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Preparing meals for the week, Your Style
Truthfully, meal prep looks like dinner prep in our house. We’re simple people for breakfasts and lunches.
For us, I know we need to have lots of bread on hand for lunches, and sometimes breakfast. Travis loves a good poached eggs on toast on his days off.
So, on Saturday I start my double batch of bread, let it ferment overnight, and bake on Sunday. Usually, that’s enough to keep us in carbs through the end of the week. Sometimes, if my family is extra hungry, I have to make more loaves mid week. But that’s a rarity.
Breakfasts usually consist of sourdough toast and eggs laid from our chickens. Bacon if we’re feeling fancy or enjoying a lazy slow morning. Yogurt is also a staple. maybe oatmeal. We’re talking basic.
These are items I always have on hand, so they’re simple and easy to whip together. Not much prep needed.
Again, lunches are pretty simple. Usually, it’s leftovers from the night before, or sandwiches. Or maybe a simple meat and cheese plate topped with one of the many mustards I keep in the fridge. I’ve got a love for mustard, don’t judge.
I’ve been making Travis lunches our whole marriage, and he usually gets a sandwich, nuts like cashews, his favorites, a string cheese, water bottle he can refill when needed, and chocolate chip cookies that again, I always keep on hand.
So to recap, little to no prep for lunch.
Dinners steal the show here.
Sunday mornings are the perfect time to figure out dinners for the week. I go through my favorite cookbooks, Pinterest boards, or just family staples.
Meat I know we’ll use, I pull out of the freezer to thaw, and if we need an ingredient, I add it to the after church shopping list. We usually make a quick shopping run right after church. Then it’s home to clean and prep for the week!
Getting the kitchen meal ready
If you can tell, for us, it’s making sure we have a plan, the necessary ingredients, and the meats and items we need are thawed and at the ready.
I love to cook. That may seam silly, and truthfully, it wasn’t always the case.
I’ve always loved to bake. Desserts are my specialty. I’ll own that if sugars are involved, I’m a natural in the kitchen.
But lately, I’ve also loved to make dinners.
And it’s because I’m prepared. No more rushing to the kitchen frustrated and mad that it’s 4:30 and I have no idea what I’m doing for dinner. When I have a plan and the items needed at the ready, it’s actually enjoyable. I’m not in a rush, things are ready for me, and the meal comes together (usually) seamlessly.
Refilling and taking inventory
To make sure I’m ready to put together the nightly meals, I take inventory of the kitchen.
Flour canister low? I pull out my five gallon bucket from the pantry and refill it. Herbs half gone, I add to my order on Mountain Rose or refill from my panty supply.
I also take a moment to refill my soap dispensers, see if we need to add paper towels to the list, and also run a cloth over the counters and deep clean a bit more than I do the rest of the week.
That is how we meal prep
And it works really well for us. It also cuts down in waste, since I’m purchasing and taking items out for an exact purpose: to use within the next 6 days. No mystery containers in the back of the fridge either. If we have leftovers, and sometimes, I do that intentionally. Make extra with the exact purpose of leftovers. To freeze, label and date, and keep for a quick lunch or dinner. For those days that still do get away from me. No longer am I left to question what to make. I simply remove from the freezer, toss in a pot or the oven, and in 30 minutes, we’re ready to eat.
How to you meal prep? I’d love to know. It’s always fun to learn how others are efficient and maximize their time in the kitchen.