Meal planning part 3 is the really fun part…the food prep!
Previously in the meal planning (part 1 and part 2) series we discussed organization, preparedness, getting a clear picture of how to create a plan for easier cooking.
You are home from your big day of shopping, ingredients loaded into the house and now what? First sort through everything. Put all frozen foods away, all canned and boxed goods into your pantry (rotating the new to the back and pulling older stock forward). This is the perfect time to put pastas, grains and nuts into pretty glass jars or other containers!
Meal Planning Part 3 Prep
Items to have on hand: some masking tape, a black sharpie, ziplock bags (in various sizes) and containers with lids. Label as you prep.
After washing your produce, it’s time to start chopping. Rule of thumb is to place one ingredient per bag or container. Wash berries when ready to use. To freeze, Wash, dry, remove any stems and lay on a parchment paper lined baking sheet After 4 hours transfer to a freezer bag. Individual berries won’t stick together in a big clump!
Time saving herb prep!
There a few ways to treat herbs. Wash and dry thoroughly. Wrap in paper towels and place in ziploc bags OR place in mason jars with a bag loosely covering the tops. Refrigerate.
A third way to prep herbs is to freeze them. Chop the herbs, place them in silicone ice cube trays and pour on olive oil just covering the herbs. After freezing 3-4 hours, pop out and place in labelled freezer bags. Pop one into a warm pan or thaw on the counter when ready to cook. Frozen herbs last for a year!
Are you planning to use canned beans or chick peas during the week? Drain and rinse them, then place in a container for a quick grab.
Cook Ahead Meal Planning
Batch Cooking: Meal Planning Part 3 Tip!
Overnight oats are a great prep ahead option for a quick breakfast! Put containers out with a variety of fixings and let everyone create their own.
Did you know that you can cook large portions of lentils, rice and quinoa and freeze in quart or gallon size bags? After cooking, portion out your ingredient into ziploc bags and lay flat to freeze on a baking sheet. This makes for easy storage. Any of these can go from freezer to stove top or you can thaw.
Purchase a whole roaster. Simmer it with vegetables, herbs and aromatics. Remove the chicken and take the meat off the bone. Set aside for dinners. Freeze the stock in ice cube trays or plastic soup containers.
Have a free day? Plan 2-3 casseroles that you can make. Double those recipes… Yes I said double. Set some aside for your upcoming week dinners. The rest pack up in disposable tins, individual or a whole casserole size and freeze!
Many veggies do not need to be peeled like carrots and parsnips. Vegetable skins are loaded with nutrients. Wash with a scrub brush to clean. Leave the skins on baby potatoes when roasting or smashing.
Buy beef bones for beef stock. Vegetable scraps make a great vegetarian stock!
Have your kids help! They will love being a part of preparing their own foods!
Healthy Hungry Cat says
I love these frozen herbs! So easy to use!
Hillary Tucker says
It makes life so much easier for weeknight cooking!