One of my biggest challenges is getting dinner on the table most nights. With balancing work, kid activities, supporting schoolwork, and everything else it can be tough. Some nights I’m tempted to just go through the drive thru and grab something quick or order delivery. However, its not the best thing in the long run. Health wise its not good for the family and its not good for your wallet. So over the last few years I have been trying different ideas on how to get dinner on the table most nights. I say “most nights” because I find it too much to do it every night. And sometimes you just have a taste for take out or delivery. Over the last year I have been trying to figure out how to succesfully meal prep. So far what I have landed on is setting aside Sunday’s for meal planning and prep. I may not do all the meal prep on Sunday but I try to at least map out my dinner plan for the week. What I have discovered as one of the main keys to success is planning. Knowing exactly what you will be making and what ingredients you will need. There are days that as soon as I walk in the house I walk straight to the oven and turn it on. So while I’m changing out of my work clothes the oven is pre-heating.
This past Saturday I went to Sams and stocked up. I bought:
- 6 lbs Ground Chuck
- 3 lbs Seasoned Diced Pork
- 3 lbs Salmon
- 3 lbs Flank Steak
- Large bag frozen broccoli
For the 6 lbs Ground Chuck, I took 2 lbs and made it into a meatloaf. I placed it on a foil covered sheet pan. Placed it in the freezer to stiffen. Once it was stiff I wrapped it in plastic wrap, then used my Food Saver to vacuum seal it in a vacuum seal bag. Once it was sealed, I put it in the freezer to cook for a future date. The remaining 4 lbs I portioned into 1 lb packs and vacuum sealed them. I will use those for various future recipes.
The 3 lbs Seasoned Diced Pork, I used half of it and cooked it during this past week. I made them into pork tacos. That was dinner for this past Thursday and Friday night. The remaining half I vacuum sealed and placed in the freezer for a future date. I thought it worked out great to make them into tacos, so that is what I will make with the rest. But that’s for a later date.
The 3 lbs of Salmon I cut into 9 pieces to make into ready to cook meals. If you go to Sams and to some grocery stores, they make ready to cook meals in these specials bags. You cook the meals in the oven or microwave directly in the bag. They are better than any frozen dinner you would buy. I found where I could directly buy the bags, Ready Chef Go bags. I now make my own ready to cook meals. I placed in each bag a piece of salmon, compound butter for flavor, and broccoli. The large bag of broccoli I bought included 4 steamable bags. To make the 9 meals, I used 2 of the 4 bags. I’ll include in a future post the recipe for the compound butter. You can skip it to save on calories, but I think the calories are worth it. You are already eating salmon and broccoli, so a few calories from butter to me is okay.
The 3 lbs of flank steak I portioned out for two different recipes. Half of the flank steak is going to be used to make Beef and Broccoli. The other half I’m going to use to make Grilled Steak with Chimichurri sauce. I took half and sliced into thin pieces. Made a marinade for the beef and then vacuumed sealed it to be placed in the freezer. I plan on also using 1 of the bags of broccoli from the large pack I bought. For the grilled steak, I marinated it in fat free sweet italian dressing and vacuumed sealed it so it can be placed in the freezer. When I freeze meat I like to add the marinate into the vacuum seal bag, so that the meat is marinating while it is thawing. I’ll post both of those recipes on a future post as well.
I placed all of that in the freezer, except the pound and half of seasoned diced pork I was going to cook that week. So I am ready for the next few weeks. Doing this really made me excited to make and eat all of the recipes I prepped. I’ll share on future posts the meals I made with all of the food I prepped.