With baby on its way, I am in crazy nesting mode! My husband is surprised that even with a professional chef in the house ( - him - ) I have stocked meals ahead of time in the freezer with still two months to go, but I can't help it! I have so much energy and I need to make my hands busy with something other than starting gardening WAY too early!
Here are some simple tips I've been applying to get ready for planning ahead to not have to cook for a few weeks... Perhaps you've got a busy few weeks coming up or want to try your hand at preparing meals in advance! I hope this list inspires you to plan ahead - you know what they say, fail to plan means planning to fail!
Choose two favourite breakfasts, five favourite lunches or suppers, and three favourite snacks that can be frozen!
Pick a combination of heartier and lighter meals so that you don't get bored with either! I picked a warm and spicy Mexican dish, a creamy cashew pasta bake, a light tofu breakfast scramble, a hearty chili, and a blended vegetable soup for my meals.
Keep sauces that could make your dishes soggy in separate containers.
I made these enchiladas from Oh She Glows, and kept the enchilada sauce and filling separate while omitting the tortillas so that I can easily dish out individual portions or create the baked dish per the recipe!
Commit to two to three dishes at each "prep time" - don't try to do it all at once!
If you are new to prepping meals in advance, don't expect that you need to take 6 hours on a Sunday to prepare everything if you can help it. Think of how athletes train and get into healthy habits for a competition - not all the training is done the week before a race! If this is a commitment you want to continue going forward, choose to not overwhelm yourself the first time you "train" for habitual meal prepping.
Think about baked goods and vegetable sides that can be applied to multiple meals.
For example: cornmeal muffins can work alongside a soup or chili, so I prepped a gluten-free version of those. You can consider vegetables flavoured in a certain manner that apply to multiple meals, or prepare a soup that can serve as the vegetable or as the main course if a few other ingredients (ie. barley, lentils) are added while it warms up.
Make your plan for the week ahead!
The grand finale is to actually plan out your week of frozen (and possibly some fresh prepared) meals! Oh, how future you will be filled with gratitude for all the work you've put in so that they can take a small break from trying to figure out meals on the go.
That's it! Enjoy your meal prepping and make sure you collect those recipes in a special place for making ahead again someday!