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TRUEPEACENIK's Photo TRUEPEACENIK Posts: 1,167
8/13/19 2:19 P

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I have prepped salad greens, containers of toppings (think salad bar in your fridge, plus they are also good to stir fry), two small containers of homemade dressing, a container of cooked brown rice, about three overnight oats servings, seven servings of beans/chickpeas, and tofu in my fridge most weeks.

I’ll also have a tomato sauce and one other sauce, along with corn tortillas or some whole grain bread.

I have very little freezer space, so a have a jar of veggie stock, the scrap bag for more stock, and frozen greens and fruit for smoothies.

Quinoa or pasta get made fresh. There is no benefit to me of pre-made.

My meals lean toward Mexican (including regional us variants) Indian and Thai. Spices make the difference for me.

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NIRERIN Posts: 14,653
7/21/19 8:28 P

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Batch cook what freezes well and can be portioned into appropriate sizes for your family. Do soup this week, lasagna next week, and over the course of a month you have four different options as you need them. Then, replace as you use up what is eaten.

Beyond that, roast your protein on Sunday and roast up some root vegetables as well. You have dinner for Sunday. If you are really good you can also put the pieces parts of your protein roast in to make soup and the leftover roasted vegetables in with some eggs to make quiche. On Monday have the leftover pieces of meat in sandwiches or tacos or on salads. On Tuesday turn your roast vegetables into curry, which you can have over rice. On Wednesday have stir fry over the leftover rice or turn it into fried rice.

If you prefer a more veg focused meal plan, cook up a pot of beans and a pot of rice on Sunday. Have the beans on tortilla chips with cheese, salsa, guacamole, lettuce and tomatoes; in a quesadilla; made into a burger patty or loaf; with potatoes and greens; as a soup; topping a salad. Have the rice under broccoli and cheese; under a stir fry or curry; as fried rice; with vegetables and teriyaki sauce; as arancini; rolled into cabbage rolls; made into a patty.

It's not actually that hard. You pick your protein and you make a list of everything that you can think of to make with it. If you're smart you do it in a notebook or as a digital document so that you can add to the list as you think of new preparations. You pick the longest preparation for your meal plan day and then go from there. If your side on day two is mushrooms, you could make extra mushrooms that could become gravy for mashed potatoes on day three. Day four might be bubble and squeak or some variation on Shepard's pie with the mashed potatoes from day three. Basically as you add each ingredient you think of what it could become the next day with one more ingredient. Don't do it with every ingredient, you pick one ingredient each day to make extra of, which becomes the focus for the next day. Lasagna, salad and pizza toppings, soups, stews and curries are all great use it up options that will accommodate a pretty wide variety of ingredients.

-google first. ask questions later.

35YEARS35LBS's Photo 35YEARS35LBS SparkPoints: (7,653)
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7/5/19 9:23 A

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It seems like you are looking for a "Cook Once, Eat Twice (or all week)" or.a "planned leftovers" approach. If you google these terms you will find some recipe books and articles with meal ideas. You may also be interested in amassing a collection of "formula" recipes. These are some basic recipes that can be adapted for different ingredients. Off the top of my head, I can think that salads, quiches, frittatas, soups, and rice bowls can be made with (most) any protein + veggies. You could have a 3 day rotation like this- Day 1- Protein + Veggie (such as sheet plan dinner), Day 2- Planned Leftover/ Formula meal Day 3- A different Planned Leftover/ Formula Meal


ENGINEERMOM's Photo ENGINEERMOM Posts: 1,184
7/3/19 3:34 P

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I prefer meal-planning over meal-prepping, for the same repetition issue. I try to sequence main ingredients and fresh produce, rather than cook a completely different meal every night. It's a habit and skill that takes time to learn, but you can learn it - it helps to write down all the recipes you enjoy making that would reasonably fit into the time you have during the week (especially if some of the work like cooking ground beef or rice, or chopping veggies) was done ahead of time on the weekend. Then you can practice writing out dinner sequences that allow you to prepare extra ingredients on nights you're not as busy, to make the busy nights go more quickly.

For example if I'm making make-your-own salads on Sunday, I grill extra chicken for the week, and slice up extra peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions, and I make the tzatiki.

Then on Monday, when we have activities, it's easy to just pull all the prepared stuff out of the fridge, microwave some sliced chicken, and have Greek chicken pitas.

Tuesday I cook up some peppers and onions, heat up some more chicken, and we have fajitas.

Wednesday we have piano, so I grab some meatballs out of the freezer to make quick spaghetti and meatballs, plus a side salad with lettuce leftover from Sunday's salad.

Thursday is leftover night to use up whatever hasn't been taken in lunches. If we don't have anything left, then I make smoothies (yogurt and frozen berries I keep on hand), eggs, and toast.

Friday is pizza night, and usually I already have some Italian sausage cooked and crumbled, so it's just making the dough and assembling pizzas.

Another week might be more red-meat heavy:

Cook up 3lb ground beef on Sunday, make 1lb of it into chili, 1lb into taco meat, and 1 lb into the meat for Korean Lettuce wraps for the following week. Have chili and cornbread for dinner.

Monday have quick tacos with the taco meat, cutting up extra tomatoes, onions, and lettuce.

Tuesday have Taco salad

Wednesday have fried rice made with (pre-made) frozen brown rice, scrambled egg, and frozen mixed veggies.

Thursdays leftovers, Friday pizza

Saturdays I generally reserve for trying new recipes, since I typically have more time, space, and energy to do something unfamiliar.

I usually keep the following in my freezer:
1. Meatballs (turkey, regular, Italian, or Greek)
2. Ground beef - cooked, drained, and frozen into baggies with the equivalent of 1lb raw in each baggie.
3. Brown rice
4. Quinoa
5. Frozen strawberries, blueberries, and mixed berries (smoothies, muffin, thawed on plain greek yogurt, toppings for whole wheat waffles/pancakes, etc.)
6. Steamable bags of corn
7. Steamable bags of peas
8. Steamable bags of broccoli florets
9. Steamable bags of green beans

Edited by: ENGINEERMOM at: 7/3/2019 (15:39)
Take life one day at a time - enjoy today before you worry about tomorrow.


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ZELDA13's Photo ZELDA13 SparkPoints: (93,234)
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7/1/19 1:33 A

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When my kids were home I would often take time to prepare dinners in advance. So I would choose a few dishes to make. Maybe meatloaf, a chicken dish, a pork dish and a pasta dish. I would take a few hours and make the dishes along with sides. Mashed potatoes, rice, and some veggies that take longer to cook like beets, or dried beans. I would freeze one of the dishes and used the others for the next 3 days. I would cook veggies as the main dish was heating but you could do them ahead. I found that meatloaf would freeze well, but meats seemed better when they had liquid with them. So even BBQ sauce or salsa on boneless chicken breast or boneless porkchops works. Some dishes I would double and have 2 meals. One for that week, one for maybe 2 weeks later. Whatever was frozen, I would take out the night before and refrigerate so it thawed by dinner to be reheated.

I like the idea of freezer meals. Meals that are prepped raw in advance, placed in a large plastic storage bag and frozen. They are often placed in the slow cooker in the morning after thawing overnight. These can be full meals. I did see there were some videos on youtube for that too. What I've seen may offer more variety.





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LOTUS737's Photo LOTUS737 Posts: 6,242
6/27/19 9:00 A

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Maybe try approaching this way: what ingredients/veggies/proteins do your family enjoy? You can do some advance prep to make your life easier without actually pre-cooking all of the meals.

So if I want to do this easier meal prep, I might poach some chicken- some I'll dice up to make chicken salad, some I'll toss with bbq sauce and make a slaw or something on the side. I can also add seasonings when heating to make things like fajitas/taco filling or shawarma. Having the protein cooked, cleaned, and cut makes it much faster to throw meals together.

I will also cut up extra veggies- if we're having a tofu stir fry one night, I'll cut up extra veg (in diff proportions) and then sautee & season them to make a burrito bowl/fajitas, roast them as a side or to toss into pasta, or use them raw in fresh rolls.

Similarly I'll prep multiple portions of grains- we're particularly enjoying quinoa right now, so I'll make more than I need for a single meal (with one serving of leftovers per person for a lunch later in the week), then split it and add different seasonings/veg/etc to use as a base for different meals.

This week, for example, I made 4 servings of each of these meals:

Burrito bowls (quinoa (with spinach & salsa), veg refried beans, sauteed onions & bell peppers, cheese)

Falafel from scratch with tahini-yogurt sauce, raw tomato & cucumber

Tofu stir fry with quinoa & cauli rice, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and broccoli

Baked chicken 'parm' with pasta & mushrooms

On gym nights twice a week I like to go with something even easier- we had veggie burgers with tomatoes on the side one night and maybe pizza tomorrow!

I'll also frequently soak 2x the beans and then use them in two different ways- ie make chick pea curry and falafel from scratch. Or kidney bean curry and refried beans. Ground chicken- taco filling/burgers/kebab. Same base ingredient, but different prep!

If you like the idea of this sort of meal prep, I think mind over munch (a youtube channel/blog) has some similar approaches/suggestions!

Edited by: LOTUS737 at: 6/27/2019 (09:01)
Healthy choices and actions have positive impacts, even if the scale doesn't move!


TIFFFIT's Photo TIFFFIT Posts: 1,769
6/10/19 8:42 P

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I'd like to do more meal prep, but the idea of eating the same thing day after day isn't sustainable for my family. I love the idea of meal prepping a batch of ingredients that can be made into several different dishes throughout the week, but I'm too unimaginative to figure out how. I saw a great video on Frankie Celaya's "Struggle Meals" series that's just what I was looking for, but videos with that approach seem few and far between. Can anyone recommend plans or videos that subscribe to the "prep for lots of different options" school of thought?
I hope I'm not breaking any rules, and I don't have any connection to these videos, but here's the one I found: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SmIakiBA9o

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