Menu Planning and Prep

In my last post I mentioned that I plan our meals for the week.  I am not sure how many of you do that as well but it makes getting a homemade dinner on the table, at a reasonable hour, every night of the week much easier.

In the summer I tend to base my menu’s on what I pick up from the CSA farmer on Friday afternoons. In the winter, I try to base it on what protein’s are on sale that week, either at the butcher or the grocery store.

Since the husband is traveling part of this week, my menu looked like this:

Sunday Breakfast: Apple sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, cantaloupe, toast, coffee, tea, and orange juice

Sunday Dinner: NY Strip steak, grilled corn, steamed green beans, and blue cheese sauce

Monday Dinner: Grilled Pork Chops, Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Gravy, Fresh Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday Dinner: Grilled Sausage, Peppers, and Onions, with a Side of Pasta/Sauce

Once I have my plan, I usually make a store list, after checking the fridge and the pantry.  When I come home from the store on Sunday I unload, then prep my dinners for at least the next three meals.  I also make lunch for myself for the first 2-3 days of the week.

I find if I can prep the items I will need, set them in containers, labeled in the fridge, I can usually get dinner on the table within 30-45 minutes after arriving home.  I also tend to use things like onions, peppers, garlic, etc in multiple meals each week.  This way, I can cut/prep those items once instead of pulling out a cutting board and knife each night.

Also, I like prepping in the morning, especially on the weekends, this way I can enjoy the rest of the day and not have to worry about what time I need to start prepping on order to get dinner on the table.

Monday I cut the onions and peppers for Tuesday’s dinner

Peppers and Onions

Peppers and Onions

I also peeled and cut the potatoes for dinner Monday night.  You can easily peel and cut your potatoes two days in advance.  I use this trick when prepping for Thanksgiving, this way I am not up until midnight the night before a holiday!  All you have to do is put them in a bowl or pot, cover them with cold water and put them in the fridge.  Make sure you drain the water, getting rid of the excess starch, then recover them with cold water before you cook them.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Finally I made enough orzo pasta salad for two lunches for me this week.  It will be a busy week trying to catch up on all of my emails/voicemails, etc from a week of vacation plus we are jam-packed with events at work this semester and I need to start preparing for them!

Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad

For the orzo salad, I diced up cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, green peppers and tossed it with store-bought italian dressing, kalamata olives and feta cheese.  Easy and simple.

If you haven’t tried planning and prepping for meals, give it a shot, it tends to take the stress out of the age-old question…..what should we have for dinner?



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