a.k.a. Meal Prep Prep!
Today’s the day. The biggest day of your life!
Okay, not really. We’re just going grocery shopping. On a Sunday. Ugh, I know. There’s a reason for this I promise. I mean, there’s the fact that most people (and my husband) return to work on Monday and it just makes sense to shop and prep the day before. That’s a good reason. Also, my husband doesn’t work on Sundays. Which means that I can leave the kids with him, and go grocery shopping alone. And since the kids are usually up around 5:30 in the morning, I can get to the store fairly early and beat the crowds. Doesn’t this sound so fantastic you just can’t stand it?!
So, for those of you who like lists: If you’re just getting started, I’ve seen several meal planning templates around the internet. Skinnytaste offers a great meal planner, for instance. As for me, I just stick to a regular old shopping list. I jot down my list of ingredients on the front, and my list of meals on the back. Make sure you have your list of meals with you! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone to the store without my list of meals, saw that marinara sauce was $6.99 and thought, “What the heck do I need this crazy expensive marinara sauce for anyway?” only to get home and remember that it was a vital ingredient in the lasagna I was planning to make that week, DAMMIT. I am useless without a list. Bring the list with you to the store. BOTH LISTS. Bring both of your lists, stick to both of your lists, and nothing can go wrong. Unless the Kroger you go to is sold out of Aidell’s Mango Jalapeno Sausage, which happened to be the case this week. Woo boy, was I steamed about that one.
Oh, and when you write out your list, try to jot down the ingredients in the order that you’ll find them in the store. The layout of the Kroger I frequent is: produce first, then meat, organic aisle, dairy, paper towels and miscellaneous items, etc. so that’s the order I write them down. It makes things easier.
Even though I had planned out my meals for the week, I still stuck to my basic formula of: 2-3 starches as a base, 4-5 veggies, 2-3 meats, and seasonal fruits for a snack.
Another great reason to hit the store early: It leaves more time for actual meal prep! As soon as I got home, I washed all my veggies and fruit and started chopping and slicing them up. Washed and sliced fruit (peaches and some grapes we already had on hand) went into tupperware for snacking, and the veggie prep was for recipes. I threw 2 cups of rice into a large pot and let it do it’s thing for 45 minutes. I also baked 4 sweet potatoes, and since I had the oven on, I went ahead and cooked a sheet pan chicken recipe. You literally just throw chicken tenders and chopped vegetables onto a sheet pan, drizzle it with marinade, and bake for about 20 minutes. It’s so easy!
Finally, I quickly sauteed the chicken sausage with chopped bell peppers and onion which took maybe 8-10 minutes, then packed it away in tupperware with rice. Each meal provided 4 servings, so after a hard day’s work (about 1 1/2 hours in the kitchen) my husband and I had 8 meals for lunch and dinner throughout the week, or 2 days of meals for both of us, plus snacks. I plan on finishing the rest of the week’s recipes on Tuesday.
Even if you don’t have a list or a plan, if you stick to the basic formula and buy enough carbs, meats and veggies, your meal can be as simple as rice, roasted vegetables and chicken.Or chicken, beans and rice on a tortilla. Or ground turkey and veggies with a sweet potato. At least you have a meal! My list will provide for a full week of lunches and dinners and I only spent $66. And I bought diapers. So really it only cost $41! I did have a lot of ingredients on hand, which is why it’s so important to have a master list! If you are constantly keeping your pantry and fridge stocked with some basic necessities, you can have meals as awesome as this:
I’m so excited to work some magic with all of the ingredients I bought this week. Stay tuned this week for recipes!