Can I be honest with you? I do not enjoy meal prepping each week, but I do it anyways. This is something I have been off and on about for years. Now that our lives are busier than ever, it is so important that I do it each week. I have tried a lot of different methods and approaches over the years and this process is the longest I have stuck with meal prepping.
Do you want to know the secret? I have made it very simple. I don’t plan out my meals and look up recipes, I don’t make complicated recipes. I don’t make a lot of different things.
So, what does my meal prep routine look like?
I start by going to Aldi either Saturday or Sunday morning depending on my weekend, I prefer Saturday so I can have Sunday to relax. My rule is usually if Aldi doesn’t have it, I don’t need it (with the exception of a few things like salmon or cleaners). I buy whatever I think looks good and is on sale. I usually spend around $120 a week for the 4 of us and plan to eat out 1-2 night a week.
Tip: Use a chalk pen to label your containers
I usually try to do meal prepping while the kids are napping so that is about 1.5 hours best case to get everything done for the week. Thankfully Nick jumps in and helps by cleaning up behind me and grilling.
I start by cleaning and chopping all my vegetables and some fruit and storing them in glass containers. I marinate & grill chicken (click here for the link to my favorite marinade), beef and pork for the week. So that all we have to do at night is roast veggies or toss a protein on a salad. I will also toss some sweet potatoes in the oven and steam bags of veggies in the microwave for the kids to have.
We have sheet pan fajitas almost weekly (Recipe from 40 Aprons)
And I love the salads from Dinner at the Zoo
Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas
3 large bell peppers preferably 1 red, 1 orange, 1 yellow, seeded and sliced into 1/2″ strips
1 large red onion halved and sliced into 1/4″ pieces
1/4 cup avocado oil
2-3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
2 teaspoons chili powder
juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 lb. thinly sliced flank steak or “fajita” steak
Prepare all ingredients before cooking: slice peppers, slice steak, peel and seed avocados, chop garlic, etc. Preheat your broiler with oven racks in thirds; place baking sheet on top rack.
In a small bowl, stir together avocado oil, garlic, seasonings, and salt. Put peppers and onions in a large bowl and pour half of the garlic-seasoning mixture over; toss well to coat. Carefully but quickly remove baking pan and scatter peppers and onions over. Return to oven and cook for 7 minutes, or until beginning to soften and brown.
While peppers and onions cook, make guacamole. Combine avocado meat, lime juice, fresh salsa, and salt; mash to desired consistency and season with more salt, if desired.
Place sliced steak in the large bowl and pour remaining garlic-seasoning over; toss well to coat. After peppers and onions are cooked, quickly but carefully remove baking pan from oven and use a spatula to make a space between peppers. Place steak in a single layer, being careful not to crowd if possible. Return to oven and cook 4 minutes or until uniformly brown on top and medium rare. The steak will likely show the medium-rare temperature on the underside; it will not show on top.
Remove pan from oven and serve in tortillas or lettuce cups with guacamole, more fresh salsa, and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and/or red onion, if desired.
Next, I make our lunches. We eat the same thing all week. We use a bento box and have a protein, raw veggies with dip or salad and fruit.
Most of the time I eat on the go so our lunches never have to be warmed up. Tip: Use a chalk pen to label your containers
Some of our favorite lunches are buffalo chicken, pasta salad, chicken salad, California Chicken Salad.
Buffalo Chicken Salad
2- 3 boiled & shredded chicken breast
1 cup of mayo
½ cup of chopped celery
½ cup of chopped carrots
¼ cup of chopped onions
¼ of hot sauce
Mix in a bowl and chill in the fridge
Lastly, are the snacks. My daughter loves energy balls. She thinks they are cookies. So I make her chocolate peanut butter balls and make pecan balls for my husband.
We buy hummus, ranch and the individual cup of guacamole for dipping. I need snacks to be easy so I can make good choices otherwise I tearing into some gummies.
Chocolate Energy Balls – This is my recipe and I should warn you I don’t measure
1 cup of pited medjool dates
1 cup of oats
½ cup of peanut butter
1 tbs of chia or hemp seed
1 tsp of vanilla
1 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp of saltPut all the ingredients in a food processor until it starts to form a ball. Sometimes you may need to add 1-2 Tbs of water. Roll into quarter size balls and refrigerate.
1 cup medjool dates
1 cup pecans
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp dried ginger
optional: sprinkle of sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 6-8 minutes, watching to ensure they don’t burn.
Add dates to a food processor and process until broken up into bits.
Add in pecans and spices and process until well combined (about 3 minutes).
Mixture is done when dough easily sticks together.
Roll into 16 balls.
Place in freezer for 15 minutes before storing in the refrigerator.