Since the new year I have made it a priority to plan our meals ahead of time as much as possible. Now if I was really organized, I would have each meal day planned, but I just am not that organized between work, projects and of course, kids. But what I do plan ahead is easy to grab pre-made options that can be used as the base for any meal. That way whether is be for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I can grab one of my staples, or two or three, and quickly put together a healthy nutritious but most importantly, yummy meal.
Here are some of my favorite pre-made staples:
- Every Sunday/Monday I roast a whole chicken. Remove the meat and shred. Then I make chicken stock with the carcass. I store the home-made chicken stock in freezer quart bags. This is my most essential thing to complete. Having shredded chicken meat on hand is a life-saver! Lola was sick last week and requested chicken noodle soup. Because I already had the chicken and chicken stock made, home-made chicken noodle soup took me about 15 minutes!
- I soak a few cups of dried beans overnight. The next morning I slow cook the dried beans in our crock pot with some dried herbs and seasonings. Now the chicken might be the most essential thing I do for the family, but dried beans and whole grains are my 2 favorite items I prepare. One of my favorite meals is barley/farro/brown rice topped with beans, avocado, feta cheese, roasted veggies and lots of hot sauce. Yummy. And for breakfast, add an egg of course.
- Make a large batch of whole grains. My favorites are brown rice, farro and barley. There are so many options for meals when you have already made grains. Burrito night, burrito in a bowl, a filling salad, fried rice, the options are endless.
- If I have time, I like to make a large batch of hummus. Then divide it up into 4 different containers and add different toppings and seasonings to each.
- Pesto! It is so easy to make, you can use just about anything, and it freezes beautifully. Don't fret if you do not have the traditional pesto ingredients. Recently I have been making my pesto with winter vegetables. Like this golden beet pesto and kale, parsley pesto. I also never use pine nuts, just too expensive, I prefer to use walnuts. And when making a large batch, use freezer proof containers, fill leaving a 1/2" space, and top with a little olive oil.
- Roast some veggies with a little olive oil, ground pepper and kosher salt. They heat up nicely and can be added to any meal. My favorites, are broccoli, carrots, beets, parsnips, and leeks.
- Hard boil some eggs. Simple. Easy. And great for on the go.
Do you meal plan? I would love to hear some of your tips!