HI DARLINGS! As you can imagine my schedule I pretty hectic most weeks and although I love to cook and spend time in my kitchen I simply don’t have the time. There are times when I have time on my hands and I love figuring out what to make every night but over the last several months my schedule has ramped up even more than usual and I found myself ordering out a lot! Door Dash and Postmates were on frequent rotation, lol. As convenient as that can be sometimes it does get pricey and it’s just not the healthiest options, especially for me when I am trying to follow a low carb meal plan.
I have been toying with the idea of meal prepping but most of what I kept seeing was ready-cooked meals that were being stored and reheated and I just am not a fan of reheating food unless it is leftovers from the night before. My family and I also enjoy eating something different for dinner every night so I am not going to make a batch of something to eat all week.
Freezer meals seemed like the best option for me and doing the prep and storing uncooked and then simply grabbing the freezer meal the night before to defrost and cook it. It is so MUCH FASTER than spending time chopping, pulling ingredients, and having to figure out what you are feeding your family every day, that is stressful!
HOW I DO IT
- I plan my dinners and lunches for the week and make a menu. KEEP IT SIMPLE! I only cook 5 days a week so we make 5 dinners. The other two days are a free for all.
- I go through each recipe and make a grocery list. This is great because I never buy more than I need because I know exactly what I am making.
- I mentioned I plan my lunches, for the family they can just grab whatever they want to eat but I am trying to stay on track with my fitness goals so I need to have my lunches prepped to eat or I will go rogue. I can eat the same thing for a day or two for lunch so I choose two salads or meals that I can put in mason jars and grab every day for lunch. I will show you those below.
- I take time on Sunday to prep all my meals. Because I am not cooking the meals only doing prep work and cooking sauces this only takes me 2 hours maybe three depending on my menu. Just turn on some music and enjoy the process knowing that these few hours on a Sunday are going to save you SO MUCH TIME during the week!
I used freezer bags for a while but then I got the OLISO FRISPER and I fell in love. The vacuum seal bags and jar attachment is great! I chop, season, dump in the freezer vacuum bags, seal them and put away.
The great thing about the FRISPER bags is that they can be reused up to 12 times! It’s pretty amazing, lol.
- Note that I completely defrost the meal overnight in my fridge before cooking it and never cook anything from frozen.
MY MENU FOR THE WEEK & PREP
I linked the recipes below and also noted any changes I make to each along with how and what I prepped.
MONDAY: Basil Chicken w/ Broccoli ( I make a batch of white rice for the fam) I omit the rice from my dinner.
We actually ate this yesterday (seeing as today is Tuesday) which is also why it is not in a freezer vacuum bag. I prepped Sunday and knew we would be eating this Monday so it just went in the fridge for the night.
- I cut my two huge breasts in half lengthwise since they were thick which gave me four pieces of chicken, plenty for my family.
- I lightly seasoned it with salt and pepper and bagged it, then I cut my broccoli into florets (I buy the big head) and bagged that in a separate bag because it was not being frozen.
- Then I make the sauce! This is the only thing I fully prepared for this meal. The sauce takes just a few minutes, I let cool completely and bag it.
Yesterday when I had to make dinner, I pulled out the bag, cooked my chicken, removed it from the pan, warm my sauce, added back the chicken, and steamed my broccoli. It took me 15 minutes and we were eating. AMAZING!
TUESDAY: Broccoli Beef This is a keto-friendly version so there is no sugar used and instead of Soy sauce the recipe calls for coconut aminos which I use anyway. This is fam favorite which is often in rotation. I ran out my vacuum bags so I just used a freezer one for the broccoli.
- I sliced my beef really thin, I use rib eyes instead of the flat iron steak they use in the recipe above. It’s just juicier.
- I mix together the marinade and dump it into the bag together and seal.
- I cut my broccoli according to how much I need and freeze it.
This is a really fast meal to make because the thinner your beef is cut the faster it cooks and stays really tender.
WEDNESDAY: Black Pepper Chicken w/ Cabbage (or rice for the kids) This is another really easy recipe. The only change to this recipe is that I omit the cornstarch. Instead, I cook it a bit longer to reduce and thicken the sauce if needed.
- I dice my chicken into 1″ cubes, season with salt and pepper, dump in the bag.
- I cut my veggies, we are not fans of celery so I just used red and green pepper and onions. Feel free to use any veggies you have, this a great way to use up veggies that might be on their last leg, lol. Dump veggies on top of the chicken and I seal the bag. I could have put my sauce bag in there too but I forgot and didn’t want to open and use a second seal, lol.
- I mix my sauce ingredients and pour it in a baggie.
When I am ready to cook, I cook my chicken, add veggies, dump sauce, and mix. Serve with rice or cabbage. I like angel hair cabbage so I generally use that.
THURSDAY: Meatballs and Cauliflower Mash This is another household favorite! These meatballs and gravy are so good. I don’t make any changes to this recipe.
- I dump all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and make my meatballs, I set them in a freezer-safe container and layer them. I use plastic wrap in between the layers so they don’t stick. You can use the FRISPER BAGS here too and just stop the vacuum before they crush the meatballs but I just used the container.
- I make the gravy start to finish and let it cool completely, then bag it and set it inside the container. Freeze it and you’re done.
When I am ready to cook I cook my meatballs in my cast iron, remove them, and warm my gravy back up in the same pan so I can pick up all he seared goodies at the bottom, then I put the meatballs back in a cook for a bit together. I usually just use the frozen CAULIFLOWER MASH.
FRIDAY IS A NO COOK DAY!
SATURDAY: Pesto Chicken with Roasted Potatoes I don’t actually follow this recipe exactly and kinda just wing it with whatever veggies I have in the fridge. I also use store-bought pesto sometimes instead of making it. There is a brand I really like that you can find HERE. I also don’t cook this in the oven and instead just use my stovetop.
- I cut and ice my chicken and lightly salt. Dump in the bag.
- Cut veggies. I used zucchini, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes.
When I am ready to cook I simply cook my chicken, add veggies and cook until fork-tender, add pesto and mix until its all nice and covered in the pesto. The potatoes I just cut and throw on a sheet pan and bake.
SUNDAY IS A NO COOK DAY, ITS PREP DAY!
HOW I PREP MY LUNCHES
Like I said above, I choose two meals and then make enough for at least 5-6 days. Lunch is more for me to stay on track. The family is great about making their own lunches. I like to choose things I can stack in a mason jar and then dump and eat or dump and warm up, then eat. Lunches are fully cooked and stored.
WHY MASON JARS? Mason jars just make my food look pretty vs a Tupperware container, lol. Just a visual thing for me.
LUNCH #1 This week I decided on Chicken Lettuce Cups (minus the lettuce cups, lol) Instead I make the chicken filling and then top my jars with angel hair shredded cabbage, and when I am ready to eat I dump it in a pan and warm up together. It’s delicious! This recipe made me three jars.
LUNCH #2 This is a personal favorite! Big Mac Salad makes me feels like I am eating a Big Mac without the bread, LOL! This is so easy, you don’t really need a recipe.
- Ground Beef or Turkey, season with whatever you want. I use salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Cut lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and red onions.
Now I have seen many people add the “Big Mac Sauce” to the bottom of the jar but I am not a fan of cold ground meat so I need to warm it, therefore I use sauce cups instead. I don’t make the sauce linked above, I just buy a low-calorie Thousand Islands dressing.
HOW I LAYER MY SALAD: I layer my jar with the ground beef first, then onions and pickles, tomato, then cheese and lettuce on top so it stays crispy. Then I fill my sauce cups and set them on top.
When I am ready to eat.I dump all the veggies and leave the ground beef at the bottom, I heat it up in the microwave and then dump over plate.
THAT’S IT! It takes me 15-20 minutes to get dinner cooked and on the table and I don’t have to wonder what we are eating everyday. Do you prep? I would love to hear what you guys do and if you think this would work for you.