Last weekend I went into a meal prepping frenzy and made about 25 meals
(for 2-4 people) to use throughout the month of November. I’ve haven’t felt that accomplished in a long time and it feels good to know I have a few weeks worth of food prepped and ready to go.
I decided to try this method out after realizing (and having it pointed out to me by my boyfriend) that I spend entirely too much time in the kitchen every night cooking and preparing our meals. I love food and I enjoy cooking and being able
to eat homemade food that I know what ingredients went into, but I also get really tired of constantly spending all my free time in the kitchen.
That being said, I mean no shade toward anyone that does less cooking or eats more processed foods/takeout/whatever. We all have to do what works for us, especially in an economy with high prices and low wages and a society that makes it near impossible to make a living without two incomes. It’s hard finding a balance between work, home, cooking, relaxation, and life in general. To anyone that orders take out or fixes meals from a box, there’s nothing wrong with that. My choice to cook homemade meals daily is my choice and mine alone.
This meal prepping madness stemmed from a conversation I had with my boyfriend one night after cooking dinner. He pointed out that he sometimes wished I spent less time in the kitchen so I could spend more quality time with him. I had found myself growing frustrated with how much time I spent in the kitchen also, but I didn’t realize I wasn’t the only one frustrated by the time it takes to prepare home cooked meals daily. I had been thinking about how I wanted to spend more time exercising, cleaning, crafting, reading or what have you in the evenings rather than spending all night cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. That short, sweet conversation with my love served as a nice little wakeup call that I needed to come up with another solution to help cut down on kitchen time for both our sakes.
I want to point out that I am not the kind of person to spend every weekend meal prepping for the coming week. I know that works for some people, but as someone that doesn’t have a lot of free time, my weekends are precious to me and I want to spend as little time as possible doing chores and working. Thus, I decided to spend one Saturday every month meal prepping enough meals to give us 2-3 dinners/ lunches a week and 2-3 breakfasts a week. By doing this, I think it will give me a reprieve from constant kitchen time during the week, but still gives me a couple days a week to cook, try new foods and be more creative in my cooking. One day a month spent prepping to allow less overall work week time in the kitchen seems like a fair trade to me.
This is only the first month trying this new method, but I think it’s going to be a good change. The biggest challenge is going to be convincing myself to do this every month, but I’m not too worried about that. I’m the kind of person that, if I see that something is working and makes my life easier, I’m pretty likely to stick to that habit.
We’ll see how things go, but I have high hopes for this monthly meal prepping idea and hope it will help declutter my life a little more and give me more time to do the things I enjoy. If it works, I hope to make more blog posts about how I do it, some of the foods I make and how the overall process is going.
If you’re thinking about trying a similar method, here’s a list of what I prepped to give you some inspiration and ideas for simple and easy meal prep meals. There are a lot out there, but this is what I chose to try this month. I also want to note, I’m working on eating lower calorie, high protein meals in order to lose weight, so I kept that in mind while prepping.
2 meatloaf dinners: For these, I prepped everything, including the sides. You could easily just prep the meatloaf and come up with a quick side when you go to cook it, but I wanted to have the entire meal ready to go. One meal includes a tin of meatloaf, potatoes with garlic and herbs and green beans. The other included a tin of meatloaf with parmesan broccoli.
I also want to note that I used one pound of hamburger and one of turkey burger and split the 2 lbs into the two tins. The turkey burger was added in an attempt to lower the calorie count. This was an easier meal to prep because nothing had to be cooked, just mixed up and/or chopped up.
2 fajita dinners: This is another easy one since I just cut up chicken breasts, peppers, and onion and added seasoning. I put everything in a bag and stuck it in the freezer so all I have to do is thaw and throw in a pan to cook.
3 lasagna/pasta type dishes: This is a newer idea/recipe I came up with based on something a I came up with due to a lack of ingredients. I had seen a friend make a baked ziti/lasagna type dish where they basically took all the ingredients for lasagna (except using regular noodles) and mixed it up in a dish and baked it. A few weeks ago, I started to make lasagna but realized I didn’t have lasagna noodles, only regular noodles, so I just mixed all the ingredients and baked them like a lasagna. Not only was it delicious, but way easier than layering all the parts of a lasagna. For meal prepping, this one takes a little longer since you have to cook the meat and noodles beforehand (or at least that’s how I chose to do it, but I’m sure there are other ways to go about that).
4 grilled chicken wraps: All the meals I’ve listed so far, I tried to make up to have 4 portions, 2 for dinner and 2 for lunches the next day. I’m not 100% confident the meals I made will yield enough for two meals for two people, so I made up these chicken wraps to have as backups for lunches or just to have a quick meal on a busy night.
5 breakfast burritos: This was a simple one. I just cooked up some pork sausage, added broccoli and spinach to get my veggies, mixed it all with scrambled eggs and seasoning, before rolling it all up tortilla with a little cheese.
1 Quiche: Another easy, peasy meal. This was the one meal that I actually used a recipe for. Everything else I made up on my own, but this one was a recipe my mom found years ago that I had been craving.
Bonus: I ended up with more noodles than I needed for the pastas and had an extra chicken breast, so I cooked it all up and made a pan of chicken alfredo for a dinner that same week.
That’s it! It took me about four hours to cook, prep, and clean everything up which is a pretty fair trade in my book. Now the goal is to continue doing this every month. I used a lot of baking tins from the dollar tree and freezer bags to help save space in the freezer and cutdown on dishes (I don’t have a dishwasher, so part of my time spent in the kitchen every night is just washing dishes).
If you’re interested in keeping up with my organization and planning agendas, give my blog a follow. I don’t post often but hope to be more regular about it in the future. I say that all the time and it rarely changes so, no promises.
Peace and love