I have to admit right off the bat that I can be exceedingly lazy. Like, I am that mom that goes grocery shopping and then I’m too tired from running around for most of the day – so I get pizza. Meal prepping is a mixed bag to me. One one hand it frees me from having to really stop to consider what constitutes our larger meal of the day for David and me, but it also requires a solid amount of effort to put together. Do I worry every day, or bust my ass once?
I figured I’d try the doing it once route – which for the record was really like a horribly planned 3 day affair for me this time around. I still managed to pull it off though!
With Memorial Day we were down to a 4 day work week, so that helped me out not having to get 5 meals prepared the first week. Here is a rough list of what I started off with for the next 2 weeks:
- 6 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
- 2 packages Eckrich Turkey Kielbasa
- 4 pounds broccoli florets
- 2 pounds trimmed green beans
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 can Kroger No Salt Added Black Beans
- 1 can A Taste of Thai Lite Coconut Milk
- 1 cup white basmati rice
- 2 cups brown rice
- various herbs and spices, lemon juice, lime juice, and olive oil
I used three freezable chicken marinade recipes from Sweet Peas and Saffron doing the larger portions listed twice each for the Jerk Chicken, Lemon Ginger Chicken, and the Chipotle Chicken. The other protein was a package of Eckrich Turkey Kielbasa. I have the same thing for the upcoming week, and the chicken is already prepped and in the freezer, so all I have to do is cook it this time around. I grilled all the proteins and zucchini on Sunday evening after I grilled our dinner. We discovered that the grilled taste overtook the Lemon Ginger Chicken – so I don’t advise grilling that one.
My Instant Pot and rice cooker were both put to use – the Instant Pot for the brown rice (25 minutes @ high pressure with a quick release), and the rice cooker for the coconut basmati rice I found a recipe for at Wishful Chef. After the rice was done I did a round of broccoli steaming followed by carrots and green beans in the Instant Pot. A helpful hint that I found that works WONDERFULLY for IP steamed veggies — 1 minute on high pressure with a quick release! You can even do 0 minutes from what I understand, but I’m at a higher elevation so I always have to cook a little longer. I didn’t turn on my oven or stove once for this meal prep!
The darker chicken with the zucchini is the Jerk Chicken, and this was by far my favorite. The chipotle was a little spicier than I think my kids would like, so when I packed up the extras for them I didn’t give them too much of it. That was the nice part of what I made, not only did I pack food for David and myself, but I packed some smaller bowls for the girls! So when Sophia was whining at me at dinner time that she was hungry and I was busy tossing back my protein shake, I was able to point her to one of her dishes I prepared.
In all, I think I spent 4-5 hours between trimming the chicken and bagging it with the marinade spices, cutting apples for “apple snack” (thinly sliced apples with a little fresh squeezed orange juice and a little lemon juice – I’d take pictures, but Sophia ate them all already and drank the juice), cooking, and then weighing everything into the containers. Since the proteins are already trimmed and marinading in the freezer all I have to do is thaw them – so we’ll see what my prep time looks like Sunday evening.
If you have any awesome meal prep meals you and your family enjoy please feel free to share them!