Thursday, May 12, 2016

Meal Prep Monday

I love menu planning; it's the easy part of providing food for a family of nine.  You know what's the hardest part?  Actually making the food!!!  Between homeschool lessons and laundry and car shopping and exercising and and and and.....finding time to actually prepare the food can feel like quite the magic trick.

This was my kitchen counter on Meal Prep Monday

I've learned a few tricks along the way and they're not magic at all.  They require organization and determination.

1.  Plan menu
2.  Grocery shop
3.  Meal prep

The meal prep is the part that's so easy to forget about.  The groceries come in, they get put away, life keeps going and all of a sudden it's 4:30 and hungry children are starting to appear in the kitchen asking impossible questions like:

What's for dinner?

What's for dinner?  Do you want to know what's on the menu plan for tonight or what's actually going to be served?  Because they are two different things.  The first is a well balanced meal with offerings everyone will approve of.  The latter is a mix-n-match of leftovers, canned food, and most likely applesauce and pickles.  No one will be truly satisfied and everyone will be milling around the kitchen in an hour or two looking for something to hit the spot.

There are two things that can be done to alleviate this problem.

1.)  Make a list of meal prep tasks for the week.  I like to do meal prep on Sunday afternoon or early Monday morning.  This is my list for this week:

shred cheese
make big salad
thaw sausage links
thaw hoagie rolls
thaw hamburger - 2
boil eggs and peel
make syrup
boil potatoes
make potato salad
thaw chicken legs
thaw steak
thaw venison roast
thaw applesauce

It looks like a long list, but as you can see half of it entails thawing frozen items.  The key to having meals ready to go is having the meat thawed.  Right?  Once everything was crossed off, I knew my week was going to run much smoother.

2.)  Make mini lists for each morning.  Since Monday was the day for all the main prep, I only need to spend a short time in the kitchen each morning for additional prep.

make BBQ in crockpot
thaw buns

prep potato soup in crockpot
set out frozen bread dough to rise

slice steak
fry hamburger
assemble and cook roast in crockpot (to be used Fri)

make egg salad (eggs were boiled on Mon)
slice 2 whole onions
slice cooked roast, warm in crockpot all day

Menu planning is only half of the food on the table equation.  The other half, meal prep, is equally important.  Having a plan and sticking to it makes for a happier momma and happier (fed & full) family.

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