Make your weeknight dinners easy by prepping everything ahead of time!
It's 6:00pm, you just hopped off your final Zoom call of the day, walk into the kitchen—hungry—and now have no idea where to begin making dinner.
Sound familiar? It's far too common to have high, healthy hopes for the evening's meal, but finish the day with much less gusto and succumb to less-than-healthy meals out of comfort and ease. What if you put in a little extra work one day a week and prepped all of your weeknight meals ahead of time? I'm not just talking cheesy lasagnas and heavy casseroles. I mean the healthy stuff.
Making freezer meals for the week is actually far easier to prepare than you would think. You can chop all of your veggies, marinate your meat, and seal everything in its own airtight container—prepping five dinners' worth in about an hour and a half.
You only need a few essential pieces to get you started.
You can freeze your meals in plastic bags to save space, but I have found that containers keep the food fresher and it's easier to scoop everything in and out from a container than a bag. If you want to use a dish that goes straight from the freezer into the oven, try this little gem!
The majority of freezer meals require cooking in one of the above options. I use my Crockpot all the time — I put in my freezer meal in around lunch time and it cooks dinner for me! If I forget to place my frozen meal in the Crockpot ahead of schedule, then I break out the Instant Pot and it cooks my dinner in less than 20 minutes. If you don't have either, your oven can also get the job done!
This is an optional one. But, if you are making a lot of meals at once, you might forget which dish is which. Remember to stick a label onto the container before placing it in the freezer to keep better track of your meals.
Buy the Costco-sizes of veggies, meats, chicken broth, etc. You do not have to worry about your bulk veggies going bad because you can chop up everything right away and then freeze them—preserving the freshness.
Figure out your meal plan for the week and then get all of the veggies done, then the meats all together, then the sauces. That way, you only will have to get the olive oil, garlic, etc. out once. It will save you time and keep you organized.
If you are on a roll, cook everything while prepping. Then, all you need to do is re-heat your dinners each night. Or, you can get the raw ingredients all ready, freeze them, and cook it on the night of. It's your choice!
Your meals may expand while freezing. Especially for soups and stews, give the freezer meals a little breathing room.