Have you ever been caught with no idea what to make for dinner and no time to shop? We all have. By using the 3 P’s—planning recipe, purchasing groceries, and prepping ingredients—you won’t have to start from scratch every night. Meal planning works best when you take it one stage at a time; there’s no need to do all three P’s at once. Instead, break them up and do each one when you have time.
So, say goodbye to fast food and hello to fresh meals on the table in no time. You’ll wonder why you didn’t try this sooner!
1. Check Family Schedules
Before you choose recipes, see what your family’s week looks like. Embrace theme nights, especially when you’re starting out. Knowing that you can count on Meatless Monday takes away a lot of the stress in planning. And rely on those go-to recipes you know your family will love and can be made with foods from the pantry or freezer. Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Casserole or Roasted Red Pepper Pasta are great options.
2. Make Your Lists
Once you’ve chosen your recipes, make a master ingredient list of all the ingredients you need for that week. Then cross off everything on the list you already have in the house. What’s left over is your grocery list. Keep your pantry stocked with a selection of meal mixes to add quick, convenient, and delicious flavor to whatever you’re making.
3. Prep for the Week
If you only have 30 minutes to prep, no problem. You can quickly prep big batches of fresh veggies at the beginning of the week using a high-quality food grater. This way, you won’t have the “what’s for dinner” blues.
4. Be Flexible
You may want to leave some room for when unexpected things happen. For these days, a pressure cooker can get dinner ready quickly, even when the meat is still sitting in the freezer!
Butter Chicken made in a Pressure Cooker
5. Make Extras of Family Favorites
Every family has its favorites. We suggest making extras of favorites to enjoy at another time. Mason jars are a great way to transport, store, and enjoy leftovers at work the next day. When freezing leftovers, it’s best to store in airtight, leakproof containers to keep fresh for next time.