Meal Prepping for a Cleaner Kitchen
First, I use a planning system for meal plans. My plan starts on my husbands pay day. So, our planning calendar for each week starts on Friday. Each Thursday I sit down and plan the next weeks meals. Sometimes I do it a month at a time - but I find that a week ahead is best for me.
So, I make my meal plan. On Friday's I do the grocery shopping, so I clean out my refrigerator FIRST. This is key in making this work. The first place I shop is my pantry, freezer, etc. I want to use what I have on hand FIRST. If there is a great sale or my butcher has a special going on - then I date the things I am putting in the freezer so I always use the oldest first. This saves you money and time later.
We do fresh produce and breads weekly. There are other things that I shop for to keep on hand, but produce and breads are fresh each week. I process all of my produce. I know what meals or snacks everything is going for. I chop my produce and have it ready to go. Usually I will chop up my onions, celery, and carrots then I can just scoop them in baggies for the meals. I freeze whatever is left - these are excellent for soups, pot pies, etc. I always have sliced peppers and carrots for snacking.
I try to buy ground beef and chicken in bulk. Sometimes my butcher has a special and can get 40 lbs of chicken for pretty cheap. I love doing this. I cut the chicken into cubes, cutlets and strips. I label the baggies and date them. I usually cook about 8-10 breasts in the slow cooker. I cook them with either green enchilada sauce or red enchilada sauce for Mexican style shredded chicken. For Italian style I will use lots of garlic, Italian seasonings. For a "plain" shredded chicken that is good for just about anything I make. For that one I have garlic, diced onion or long slices of onion, sometimes I will have diced celery, carrots, bell peppers, etc. I will season it with my 'house seasoning' - which is about 1/3 cup salt, 1/4 cup pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder, and 1/4 onion powder - mix well and use whenever something is savory. I recommend mixing your own seasonings - much cheaper and you exactly what is in them. Once the chicken is cooked I shred it and bag it; label it and place in the freezer.
With ground beef - when I get large amounts I process it asap. I make sliders and patties and sometimes I will even make my meatloaf ahead of time. If I have time, I will cook up a few batches - these I label - how many cups and what to be used for. For example, if I add Mexican seasonings - it can be used for taco's, burritos, enchiladas, taco salad, etc. If I add Italian seasonings, then it can be used for spaghetti, pasta bakes, etc. For a more plain ground beef then it can be used for "hamburger helper" type casseroles and meals, sloppy joes, etc.
How this makes your kitchen cleaner? Because if you process things on one day then meals are much faster and easier to clean up.
Make it a great one!
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