Planning and Prepping Like Meal Boxes

Have you tried any of the Meal Boxes like HelloFresh? If so, you know that they come with all ingredients for each recipe portioned and in a bag; minus the meat which is in its own bag. If not, well you do know ­čÖé It makes making the meal a lot easier as you are’t looking for the ingredients in a giant bag of stuff.┬áBecause I love their approach, not having to dig through the fridge so much, so I decided to try it ­čÖé

Step 1) Meal Plan!
I love meal planning! I don’t know why but I do. Sure, it makes grocery shopping easy and less expensive; you only buy what you need (in theory). It also lets you look at the week and have a plan so you eat out less and healthier meals. It could also bring your family together, say on Saturday┬ánight, to plan the next weeks meals (everyone has input) and write the grocery list(s) together.

Step 2) Inventory!
Take a look at what is in your cupboards already so you only buy what you actually need. I also take this time to improvise and look up subs that can work for those things that you can’t buy small quantities of but don’t need a ton of.

Step 3) Portioning!
If you already of the proteins on hand, go get them and set them out into the groupings for each meal; i.e. all the crab, shrimp, and fish together for Seafood Alfredo. Also look at what vegetables you have in your cupboards and fridge and set them with the proteins in the approximate quantities┬áneeded; don’t be afraid to cut an onion in half if you only need that much. Once you have done your shopping add the missing items to that group.

Step 4) Bag it!
Take those stocked away plastic grocery bags and place each meals items in it. Also, might as well write a note and attach it to the bag as a reminder of what recipe┬áwill come out of that bag and where to find the recipe so you can cook it; if you don’t have it memorized.

Step 5) Cook and Enjoy!
Enjoy the easy of cooking dinner! I know for a fact that I love this approach with Baby B because it means Hubby can pick up wherever I need him to or cook the meal entirely.

A few tips that I encountered while doing this-

Tip 1) Seasonings
Read over the recipe and look at what seasonings are all add at once to the recipe. Take those seasonings and place them in a ziplock bag or Rubbermaid container and add them to the meal bags. For the single seasonings that you add only once and by themselves, just measure and add when you are cooking them.

Tip 2) Do the chopping if you have the time
If you have the time and energy while you are doing the dividing, you might as well do the chopping for the things that you need to, typically onions and the such. Leave any fresh herbs as they are since they will dry out once cut.

Tip 3) Menu Plan on Sunday
I love to save money when I can. I also love to spend it on quality products so it’s hard sometimes when the two conflict! So, I food plan on Sundays usually when I can see the main ads for where I shop. There are a few locations that roll out the ads on Tuesday so I just look at those also since they will still be valid when I go shopping. I also plan bigger meals, aka leftover causing meals, for about every other day; specifically Sundays and Wednesdays so we have lunches on hand.

This process does make it easier, at least for me, to look at the week and only buy what I need. It also cuts down on the “lost recipe”, when you pull a protein or buy something but forget what recipe it goes with. It also makes it easier with Baby B. Hubby knows what we are having and where everything is if he has to cook dinner; I “help”┬áfrom the couch┬áof course ­čśÇ

Yes, my process and setup is a little OCD but it helps keep costs down, only buying what I need, my sanity, I know what I am doing for dinner and can tell Hubby, and helps keep the cupboards minimum, end up with less lost ingredients and no protein hold overs in the freezer. It also causes less eating out as the meal is already planned and ingredients on hand.

I hope you find any of this helpful! Share your own tips and tricks if you have a similar process ­čÖé

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