How many times have you left work or are running late from appointments or other obligations and realized you had no plan on what to serve your family (or yourself) for dinner?
About that time of day, you’re likely tired and the last thing you want to do is stop by the grocery store to grab ingredients you’ll need for a healthy meal. So, you give up and pick up your family’s meal at a drive through or order pizza.
With a little pre-planning you can avoid that scenario and take the stress off your dinner preparation while providing you and your family with healthy and delicious meals. And, you’ll save money too.
Even if cooking intimidates you, you’ll find that many dinner ideas don’t require a gourmet touch – or even spending lots of time in the kitchen. Plus, pre-planning makes evening cleanup a breeze by using containers that are easily washable or disposable.
Chicken is a great pre-planned option, but can get boring if you have it a few days per week. One way to vary the taste is to use foil dividers in your pan to separate the chicken pieces, then use various seasonings (barbeque, honey mustard or grilled) to give yourself a couple of different tastes from one pan.
Chop or slice a variety of veggies in advance and use them in a sauté’ mixture or for a quick and easy salad combo. Zucchini and butternut squash noodles will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and if you seal onions or peppers properly, they’ll last a good amount of time, too.
Muffin tins can be used for make-ahead quiches and frittatas, which can be heated in the microwave when ready to serve. Grilling out on weekends is a great way to prepare ahead.
Grill some kabobs and then freeze and bring out during the week for a real treat. Don’t forget dessert. Make-ahead sorbets or yogurt and fruit cups are tasty and healthy treats. Mason jar salads can be a complete meal if planned properly – and your family will love the way the entire meal appears in the Mason jar.
Begin your pre-planned dinner meals with your own recipes. You’ll know the end results and you won’t be overwhelmed with so many new ideas at first. Also, begin by planning only one or two dinners per week.
After you experience the benefits of pre-planning and cooking, you’ll likely want to branch out and explore different options. Meal prep is a wonderful concept that helps you enjoy more time relaxing in the evening so you experience less stress.