Here are some tips to put you at ease

by Veronica Lieske.

Meal Planning

Meal Planning Made Easy

I’ve been doing a version of Food Prep for years.  There’s always a discussion with co-workers or friends on how I prepare for the week since I come to work with special meals or friends that have been to my house and see the abundance of red and white Rubbermaid containers in the fridge.  There’s always a comment of, “Do you ever run out of containers”? NO. But after having a conversation with my most admired Aunt Angelica Miller on my most recent trip to Michigan, she asked me to send her some pictures of my preparation.

Well of course since Aunt Angie asked, I had to go above and beyond.  Low and behold, this is my first ever blog post.

Meal Prep

Breakfast meal prep

Let’s start with “The Set Up”

As I mentioned earlier, my container game is on point.  Even my filtered water has a container.

The black and white containers I found on Amazon. This set was $15.98 for 30 containers 3 different sizes.  For the past few years, I’ve purchased the Rubbermaid containers at Walmart during Black Friday weekend. They are normally $19.99 for about 30-40 pcs, but during Black Friday, it’s $7.  We always have to be careful with plastic, so I throw away the most worn-down containers every time I buy more. The black and white containers are always hand washed to make them last longer.

As soon as a container is overused, the container and lid are both thrown away.  That way there’s no extra lids or extra containers.

I am on a low carb diet and my husband doesn’t like bread, pasta, etc.  We definitely stock up on Meats, cheese, eggs, butter, and vegetables. We have a Food Saver and deep freezer, so I like to buy meat in bulk.

Buying meat in bulk is a  system separate from Food Prep. I’ll clean, separate, and freeze meats unless we want something special that week. I am always looking for deals on these items and have found in my area, they run on 6 weeks cycles.

My Food Prep Rules

  1. All Containers have to be home from work and lunch bags by Thursday (or the day before your food prep day) to prepare for the next week.
  2. Food shopping is always done 1-2 days prior to food prep. I always get lazy after shopping and organizing, so they can’t be on the same day for me.
  3. Have a scheduled day for food prep and ways to change it if possible for family plans or get-togethers. Doing Food Prep on Friday also helps if I need to make something to pass at an event or get together over the weekend.
  4. We have a free day to GET RID OF LEFTOVERS. Every man for himself, eat whatever you want however you want to get it out of the fridge. I use liquid chalkboard markers to label containers in the fridge, it comes right off.
  5. Bulk meat is done at a separate time from food prep, normally once every 1 ½ to 2 months. Make sure to add the date and shelf life to the package. If I purchased the meat on 7.10.18,  the label would say, “use or sell by 7.15.18”. Before freezing the meat, I will write 5 days on it. When I take it out of the freezer, I have 5 days to use it.
  6. The refrigerator has to be completely organized and cleaned before food prep day. I normally shop and organize the fridge on the same day.

My Weekly “Basics”

Meal Prep

Breakfast meal prep

Our breakfast is always the same, bacon and eggs. If I switch it up, it will be boiled eggs and avocado, topped with garlic, salt, and pepper, with a side of turkey sausage. Back to the bacon and eggs, I cook a pack of bacon for the week and slice the pack in half for easy placement in pans and containers.  Bacon is put in the oven cold, then the temperature is turned to 375 degrees. It cooks for about 10-15 minutes depending on thickness and desired texture. I’ll make the eggs and set up containers while this is cooking.

These are set aside to cool before placing the fridge.


Meal Prep

Meal planning lunch

I’ll make, what’s called,  “I don’t feel like it meals”.  It’s always seasoned chicken (seasoned different ways) and seasoned ground burger; both pan-fried. The ground burger can have any sauce added to it for taco’s, spaghetti, sandwiches, etc.  The chicken can be for the same or also chopped up for salads.

I use 2 pounds of ground burger a week.  One pound is for the “I don’t feel like it” meals, and the other pound is to make burgers for my husbands’ lunch. We have salads every day for lunch.  I have everything ready for the containers so they’re easy to set up. Bags of salad can be tricky, so I only set up 3 days at a time.  I have stacks of the soufflé’ cups ready to go when putting lunches together.

Earlier I mentioned buying meat in bulk then freezing it. But of course, sometimes you want something different. I’ll set up seasoned meats for the grill, for the weeknights, since we grill everything.  I used the gas side of the grill during the week since I can set it and walk away to set up sides and table while the meat is cooking.

Meal Planning

Dinner Meal Planning

Surprisingly, dinner normally takes about a half hour. Must keep in mind, the dates on the meat when figuring out what to eat first and how long it can stay in the fridge.

One of my favorites is Hawaiian Chicken. I used boneless skinless chicken thighs.  ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup water 1 tablespoon each of ginger and minced garlic, ¼ cup sugar or sugar substitute. We like it spicy, so add some crushed red pepper. It must sit for a minimum of 24 hours. Then grill or pan fry, and of course you can reduce the rest of the marinade into a sauce. SO GOOD! I love thick cut pork chops and steaks. We’ll normally have these grilled with blackened seasoning.  Another favorite is ranch chicken. It’s Chicken breast with garlic & onion powder, pepper, and Hidden Valley Ranch packet, then grilled. Sprinkle with salt at done; it can be baked or pan-fried too. While on the grill, I’ll add some cheddar cheese and serve with broccoli.

Vegetables & Snacks

Meal Planning

Meal prep snacks

My husband loves cheese and Salami, which can get pricey when you buy the snack packs.  I buy 2 pack of different types of cheese and a pack of Salami. (between $5-$6 all together).  I’ll stack and slice everything and put in wax paper. This makes 12 snacks and last 2 weeks.

We buy vegetables weekly so I switch up depending on sales. Most of the time, its broccoli, sugar snap peas, celery, and cucumbers, all slice in bags or containers to grab easily. I love cheese too, so I’ll have varieties of block cheese cut up and normally last a couple weeks.  When I want to get a little fancy because I’m tired of the Low Carb diet, I’ll make some deviled eggs or cream cheese fluff .

Onions are a must have in our house. Jars are filled weekly and sometimes bi-weekly.  And since I didn’t mention it earlier, Mason Jars are a must as well. I found that storing onions in the Rubbermaid containers made the refrigerator have a strong smell.  Large mason jars are good for keeping salads longer too if done right. They are also amazing for leftover sauces. I keep 4 sizes on hand.

Again, these are all basics, and what I’ve mentioned here normally, takes about 2 hours.  Of course, you’ll get bored with the basics, so I am always searching Pinterest and other sites for ideas.  The basics are always apart of normal Food Prep, but when I want to try something new, I’ll just add it to the list.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ideas.