“Mom/Dad, what’s for dinner?”
You just finished work and you are now on your way to pick up your children from daycare/school and all you can think about is dinner and what will be served.
Does this sound familiar?
I know the struggle can be real and let’s face it, healthy eating can be hard. Now, I am not here to talk about super healthy meals. I am here to talk about quick dinner ideas and how meal prepping helps. I do try; however, to incorporate healthy choices within my dinner ideas.
So let’s get started!
Today is Monday, September 2nd (Labour Day/Holiday) and I am trying to wrap my head around the first week of school. I ordered my groceries yesterday and my husband picked them up this morning and I spent a good portion of my morning meal prepping for the week ahead.
**TIPS** Before you can meal prep, you have to know what you are preparing for the week and what ingredients you will need.
I like to create a grocery list based on the meals which I will be creating that week. This week I kept it simple.
So here are my dinner options for the week (work week).
Tuesday: Roasted chicken thighs, potatoes, and a garden salad
Wednesday: Homemade chicken soup (“canja” in Portuguese) with grilled cheese and fresh veggies
Thursday: Breaded pork cutlets sandwiches and a garden salad
Friday: Bbq chicken wings, perogies, and grilled veggies
So, in order to have dinner ready every night, I have to meal prep! Today I devoted one hour to meal prepping.
Yes, it is not fun, but it is essential. I can not stress how hard it is for me to work long days, come home, cook, facilitate homework, rush to one of my twins’ soccer practices/activities and do it all without feeling overwhelmed! This is why I try to meal prep. It helps me know that dinner will be on the table at a decent time.
So here I go…
Onto meal prepping 🙂
I thought I would share a few images of how I meal prepped today. I began with chicken soup. It is really easy. I filled a pot with water and chicken stock. Then I diced a small onion, crushed a few garlic cloves, and added two peeled carrots and one stalk of celery. I then added the chicken. Today I used two large chicken thighs. Once this was done, I allowed the mixture to simmer on medium heat until the chicken got tender. Once this happened, I pulled the chicken off the bone. I then removed the carrots and celery. I later returned the meat into the broth. Once this was complete, I added pasta (I like to use tiny soup pasta or rice) and allowed the pasta to cook in the broth. I later added a bit of olive oil, black pepper a bay leaf or two and sea salt.
I will serve this soup with grilled cheese and fresh-cut veggies later in the week.
Now onto prepping the roasted chicken thighs and potatoes. I like to use dried seasonings whenever possible. It is quick and effective. I started off by sprinkling garlic powder and onion powder all over the chicken thighs and potatoes. I then added salt, black pepper, Franks hot sauce, olive oil, sea salt, and lemon juice. I mixed everything together and covered the tray with tin foil. I refrigerated it and tomorrow I will bake the chicken and potatoes for about 45 minutes (enough time for me to facilitate homework or fill out school paperwork, and start a load of laundry).
*Please do not place a refrigerated glass tray in the oven. Let the tray sit out for a bit at room temperature or place the mixture into another tray and then place in the oven. You do not want your glass tray to shatter.
Ok, so you are probably thinking that you can not do all this. Trust me you can! It is not that hard and it will save you headaches and money (you won’t buy dinner) later in the week.
Now that the chicken and potatoes have been prepped. I moved onto the pork cutlets. These are super easy and do not take long to do. I seasoned the cutlets with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. I then added a bit of cream and one egg into a bowl. I mixed the egg into the cream and added some breadcrumbs onto a plate. I dipped the cutlets into the egg/cream mixture and breaded each side of the cutlet with the breadcrumbs (this can be down with chicken or any other meat). I then layered the cutlets onto parchment paper and placed them in a ziplock bag. I later placed them in the freezer. Cutlets freeze well and bake well in the oven. All you have to do is drizzle a bit of olive oil over them and bake them in the oven at 350 degrees Celcius for about 30 minutes or less. They will crisp up nicely and kids love them!
Next, I marinated the chicken wings. I used the same spices and ingredients used for the baked chicken and potatoes recipe. I placed the chicken wings in a ziplock bag and once again froze them. Later in the week I will remove the bag from the freezer, defrost the wings and bbq them.
Lastly, perogies. I did not prep these today, but I have done this in the past and froze them. Perogies are so easy to make and they are filling and most kids love them. This is how I like to make them. I start off by using pre-made perogies and I boil them first. As the perogies are cooking, I saute one large sliced onion and salami in olive oil. I then add a bit of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Once the onions are nice and brown and the salami has crisped up, I add the boiled perogies into the hot olive oil mixture and allow the perogies to brown. Once this has been achieved, I serve them right away.
Meal prepping can be tedious and time-consuming, but trust me when I say that meal prepping will keep you sane as the week starts to pile up.
I would love to hear from all you families. If you have any great dinner ideas or meal prepping tips, please email them to me and I will share them on our Preschool Canada blog. My email is email@example.com
I can not wait to read or hear about all of your wonderful dinner ideas.
I hope this blog post has inspired many of you to start meal prepping on the weekends.
If anything, meal prepping may help with that dreading question “What’s for Dinner?”
Thank you for reading today’s blog post and I cannot wait to share another blog post soon.
Melissa de Castro
Preschool Canada Innifil