Every Mom is looking for ways to maximize family time without straying from chores and family duties. One of the easiest ways to maximize family time is through meal prep on the weekends. By preparing easy to make breakfast, lunch, and re-heatable dinners, I have more hours to spend with my family. Here are ways to meal prep, as well as easy recipes!
Plan Your Meals and Write a Grocery List
Writing a grocery list is easiest if you plan 2-4 family meals ahead of time. The Weekly Meals sheet below is great for organizing my ideas. Next I assess the pantry and refrigerator for ingredients we already have and write down what we need for each meal. Then I add staple items (butter, milk, eggs, bread) to the list we need to replenish.
Go Grocery Shopping Early Sunday Morning
Sunday mornings are least busy at the town’s grocery store, so that is when I do the bulk of my shopping. I go alone with my list and I’m in and out in an hour. Then I spend a few hours at home cooking for the week. It is so important to me that I maximize family time by meal prepping.
Note: I buy snacks in bulk once a month during a separate trip to the store.
Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas
My daughters are easy when it comes to breakfast. They like cereal, plant-based sausage links, scrambled eggs with toast, or waffles – all of which are easy to make in the morning. Sometimes I make a quiche on Sunday so we all enjoy it during the beginning of the week. One quiche only lasts 2 days between four people!
Another easy to make ahead of time breakfast are muffins – pumpkin spice, egg, blueberry, etc. There are countless recipes for breakfast muffins that can be made on a Sunday and enjoyed all week long.
Make Ahead Lunch Idea
Mini bean and cheese burritos are an easy and nutritious lunch item my daughters love to eat a few times a week.
Mini Bean and Cheese Burritos
1 package small flour tortillas
1 can refried beans
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Optional filling: lettuce, black beans, shredded chicken, tomato
- Spread a teaspoon of refried beans onto the bottom half of the tortilla.
- Sprinkle with cheese.
- Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the filling. Then make two folds on either side of the large fold. Roll it up and place the burrito seam side down in a microwave safe container.
- When it’s time to eat, heat for 30 seconds, flip the burrito over and head for 30 more.
Mini burritos are effortless to make and should be stored in Tupperware storage containers. The Tupperware Vent ‘N Serve® 7-Pc. Set is good for meal prep because of the unique venting system which allows steam to escape when reheating foods in the microwave.
Other Lunch Ideas: Hard Boiled Eggs, Cucumber, Feta, Tomato Salad
Make Ahead Dinner Idea
Meatloaf has been on my list of go-to dinner ideas for years. There are many different ways to make meatloaf so my family never gets bored. Turkey Meatloaf Muffins are kid-friendly, fun to eat, and cooked ahead of time. Another variation is Italian Turkey Meatloaf, which can be made with beef as well.
Italian Turkey Meatloaf
1 package ground turkey
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
¼ cup egg substitute or 1 egg
1 cup prepared tomato and basil pasta sauce, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, pasta sauce, garlic, pepper and salt, if desired; mix well.
- Put turkey mixture into loaf pan. Bake 1 hour or until loaf is well-done, 165°F as measured by a meat thermometer. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before slicing.
1 head broccoli
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash and dry broccoli well. Place broccoli florets in a large bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder. Toss until well combined.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread broccoli into a layer and roast for 15-20 minutes until crisp-tender.
The Vent ‘N Serve® Round Divided Dish is the ideal on-the-go solution for leftovers or single meals prepared in advance. There are two compartments for a vegetable and a protein, which is what I always serve for dinner.
Choose Appropriate Food Storage Containers
One of the most important aspects of meal prep is food storage. I have used Tupperware for as long as I can remember, the brand passed down from my Mom as it’s known for its durability and capability of keeping food fresh.
Meal prep on the weekends and storing all prepped goods in Tupperware allows more time for family during the week. I cherish the extra minute to snuggle in the morning instead of rushing downstairs to make breakfast. We gain a half hour to play hide-n-go seek outside when dinner only requires re-heating in the microwave. We only have one life to live, so why not make the best of our time?
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Caitlin Houston is a Connecticut based life and style blogger.