With Henry getting older (and mobile!), James working out of town, a move coming up, and just you know... life in general it has been becoming more and more apparent that prepping meals and snacks is something I need to be doing. I have been eating WAY more microwaved quesadillas lately than I care to admit.
So I did it! I made several portioned lunches/dinners for myself (plus leftovers for the kids), various pre made breakfast items, and some snacks. Before doing it I had 2 main fears. That it would be expensive and that the prep work would take way too long and be way too frustrating with the kids underfoot. My fears were (mostly) unfounded (it was rather frustrating at times, but let's be honest, most things are right now). Listing what I made (with links to recipes) for anybody interested in trying this out themselves, and also for future reference for myself!
I stayed pretty basic for now. When I do it again I might branch out a little bit. We'll see.
My biggest motivator was picking up these cute little containers on sale at Wegmans. I can't leave such adorable little things empty. They're Rubbermaid Take Alongs, but different colors than I've seen before. Can't find them anywhere online, so no link... Sorry!
What I bought:
Family size pack of chicken breasts
Plain Greek yogurt
What I had (most of these pantry staples I buy in bulk when my mom and I visit an Amish bulk food store once a month or so):
Raw sunflower seeds
Raw pumpkin seeds
What I made:
Scrambled egg muffins
Granola (I used coconut oil instead of butter. And also, do yourself a favor and check out this lady's entire blog and her book too. Such great stuff!)
Hard boiled eggs
Chopped raw veggies
Cottage cheese & fruit
Stir fried vegetables
Roasted sweet potatoes
Baked sweet potato
What I did:
I honestly could have done all of this is just 1 day, but it took 2 days because I still went to the gym, ran errands, took breaks to play, watched a show with the kids, etc.
I started with prep. I put half the pack of chicken into the crockpot, then cut up the other half, sliced all the veggies (I cut everything into long sticks so it would all work for Henry too), and mixed up the oatmeal muffins and egg cups.
I got the idea for the egg cups from a recipe on Pinterest, but didn't end up following it at all so it isn't linked. I just scrambled 12 eggs with a little milk in my spouted mixing bowl and then poured them into paper lined muffin tins. Dropped chopped veggies (peppers, tomatoes, baby spinach) and a little spring of cheese in and baked on 350 for about 20 minutes.
The half of the chicken that I baked I drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with granulated garlic.
The veggies I roasted (zucchini, yellow squash, sweet potato) I drizzled with olive oil only. Henry will be eating these so I didn't season with any salt like I normally would have. When I eat them I'll probably sorting le a bit of sea salt or maybe some garlic.
The stir fried veggies (broccoli and peppers) I tossed in equal parts low sodium soy sauce and honey before cooking.
I baked one sweet potato and then sliced it into circles.
The chicken in the crockpot I shredded. Some I seasoned with cumin, chili powder, garlic, and oregano and portioned out for my meals, some I'm leaving out for the kids or for me to add to salads, the rest I'm freezing in 1 cup portions.
The brown rice I cooked in the oven. SO easy! I boiled 4 cups of water and then poured that over 2 cups of rice in a 9x13 dish. Covered and baked on 400 for an hour. Done. Perfect rice every time. I also portioned some in my meal containers, saved some in the fridge, and froze some in 1 cup portions.
Granola and oatmeal I linked recipes above. I used frozen berries on top of the baked oatmeal rather than the fresh recommended in the actual recipe.
The yogurt parfaits are plain Greek yogurt with a little honey and a couple sliced strawberries. Then granola in the nifty little layered lid the cool containers I bought have. I used the same containers for cottage cheese and put frozen berries in the layered lid.
And that's it! It really wasn't hard at all and let me tell how AWESOME it was tonight when I wanted to give the kids chicken with rice and veggies for dinner and BAM. There it was. And next to no dinner clean up. WINNING.
Next time I'll work with more than just chicken. Once we move and James is actually living at home again I'll be able to make a lot more food, with a lot more variety, without having to worry about it going bad before it can get eaten (plus we'll have a much bigger fridge!). I'm already brainstorming other ideas.
If this works throughout this upcoming week, I'd really like to get in the habit of doing this regularly. I can already tell it's going to save me so much time this week! Not to mention I know I'm going to feel so much better (and maybe actually be able to see the results of my working out... what a concept....) eating plenty of healthy food and not just melting a bunch of cheese onto a tortilla (in the microwave) at 9 o'clock at night and calling it dinner...