It has been a while since I felt up to writing a regular Blog story. I am sorry if you were missing me and my writing, I needed a break. I was on a really good streak there, for over a year. Some people write their Blog stories ahead of time. I usually sit down and pound it out on the keyboard right before I publish. It could be an hour more or less, and I usually come up with a title, topic, and story. This week I am going to share something a little different in Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story. Part 57 Prep Cooking Tips is going to be a top 5 list of my own Prep Cooking Tips!
I have written about the importance of prep cooking in my own journey to become a healthier version of myself. I have found that I am less likely to eat unhealthy if I take the time to prepare healthy choices for my lunches, and sometimes even breakfasts and suppers. Everyone deserves a treat now and then, as long as it is within reason. I tend to give an inch and take a mile or ten. So, I know that prep cooking works, and I must get back into the habit of it.
I had plans last weekend but I got sideswiped by an unexpected injury. I was walking, which is supposed to be something that is good for me. I somehow managed to pull some muscles in my foot. I was in a lot of pain for 3 or 4 days. I am taking fewer painkillers now, and hoping that the weekend is nice. I am going to plan a short walk. I have to build up my tolerance a little more slowly, as it has been some time since I walked for longer than it takes to go get groceries. Now that I am on the mend, it is time to start walking a little more each day. It is a plan.
These tips may seem like common sense to more experienced home cooks. I think that if you plan ahead the prep cooking will go more smoothly than if you don’t.
1. Determine what type of meal you want to cook. Go through recipe books, Pinterest, and websites. Most of your family favourites can be made in bulk and frozen, to reheat or cook when you are ready to eat them. Write down the recipes in a planner for when you are going to eat them if you want to be really organized. People plan meals by the week and month. There are lots of guides for this online, depending on what suits your fancy. Since I am a fan of the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, when I get serious, I will be planning according to their guidelines. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you like. The more effort you put into this, the better results you will get. It is up to you.
2. Now that you have recipes selected, write down your ingredients list. Include everything for each recipe. Then check your cupboards and pantry for the ingredients that you have on hand, and cross them off the list. The remaining items will become the start of your grocery list. If you are feeling like you have extra time, go through the fridge and cupboards and toss the expired items. It will be better to replace them before starting the cooking step, and finding that you need to get more of something that is mouldy or gone bad.
3. Next, you will need to think about utensils, pots, pans and storage. Do you have what you need to prepare and store what you will be cooking? This limits me a bit. We are a household of 2 adults. We live in a mini home. There is not a lot of storage in my kitchen. I have had to become creative with storage methods. I have 2 shelving units and a bookcase in my kitchen. They work for now. I also prefer glass containers for anything that needs reheating later on. So the plastic storage is available, but not used for prep cooking storage, unless it is something that will not be going into a microwave. I also use more Mason jars than I have room to keep organized. They are another way to store soups, salad in a jar, and pantry items.
4. Go to the grocery store to get what you need. This can be pricey the first few times if you are starting from scratch. If you are on a budget, use coupons and flyers. Get as many deals as you can. If you have like-minded friends, TEAM UP! If you have 3 friends to join in, and you all buy enough for 4 batches of a different recipe, then you have 4 meals prepped, and you will have CHOICES! Working together with friends to make homemade healthy meals is a great way to have a productive social gathering! Take turns hosting once or twice a month. Make it a THING, and make it FUN! Have snacks. Get more done faster, including clean up! (This can also be teenagers if they are a part of your family. They won’t be able to help with the budget, but they would be happy to help if it means they get some cookies or a movie night aw a thank you!
5. Don’t Give Up! Start with one recipe, doubled up. Then make something different the next time. Keep building recipes until you have a good variety, and you don’t have to cook for the whole month in one day. Spread out the work over time, and you will have a freezer full of healthy food in a few weeks. When you feel like cooking, make something. When you don’t you have a plan. As long as you keep rotating what you make, it will pay off!
Tonight I made Cheeseburger Pie for supper. It is in a 9 x 13 pan. It serves 6 to 8 people. There are 2 of us. When I have it for supper, I have 2 pieces. When I have it for lunch, I have 1 piece. I will have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I plan to freeze one or two portions, for whenever I am craving a burger. Sometimes you just want that burger so bad…that it is good to plan ahead and have a cheeseburger pie portion in the freezer ready to heat and eat. When I want a BigMac or a Mozza Burger, I make Big Mac Salad. With cheddar, it is a BigMac SALAD, and with Mozza, it is an amazing Mozza Burger SALAD. No buns makes it a salad! I even put the sesame seeds on top!
In case you aren’t on my Facebook, and you want to know what Cheeseburger Pie is, I am going to share a link to the recipe. It can be found with other recipes on the Trim Healthy Mama website, and if you check out the recipe, you can also take a look at the THM plan and other recipes. They even have products for sale there. I am not affiliated, so I leave things up to you. I love the recipes, and I also am happy that I know it is a plan that does work for me WHEN I WORK THE PLAN!
Here is the recipe for Trim Healthy Mama Cheeseburger Pie
I plan the next Trust Your Gut to be two weeks from today. I am slowing down, but not bailing. I have more stories to share. 🙂
There you have it. Do you Prep Cook? Have you had friends join you to conquer the kitchen? Let me know if you have tried and true favourite recipes that you use, and love.