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Make-Ahead Meal Planning

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Make Ahead Meal Planning @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Busy Days

Every Monday we wake up bright and early and drive 2 1/2 hours to Knoxville so that my daughter can spend the day {8 hours} practicing her ice skating. I’ll be honest. It’s exhausting. Some mornings we leave by 6 am but never later than 9 am. It really depends on what we need to get done while we’re in Knoxville. We get to the ice rink around Noon and we’re there until 7:30 or 8:00 pm. And then we drive home 2 1/2 hours.

Last night we didn’t get home until 11 pm. Usually we get home around 10:30 or 11:00 at night. Which means that routinely Tuesday mornings are hard to get everyone going.

Lest you think my life is always organized and easy…

This morning {Tuesday} we woke up late. I remember the alarm going off at 6:30 am… and then again at 7:00 am…. and then I remember my husband jumping up, with the words, “It’s 8 am!”

Tuesdays are always hectic – even when we wake up on time.

Because we woke up late, our dog Lucy, who is mentally challenged and not house broken, pooped in her cage. {We bring her in at night during the cold winter months.} Not only had she pooped in her cage, but she decided to tear her pillow apart.

I didn’t realize the old pillow we’d put in her cage was a feather pillow.

We spent nearly an hour sweeping and cleaning because the feathers were everywhere.

In the middle of all of this, the girls were getting ready for music lessons. Laura had misplaced her music that she needed to practice and we spent forever looking for it.

And then there was a knock at the door. And I was still in my pajamas. 

My husband was about to leave to take Emily to her music lesson, but when the man from Lowe’s arrived unexpectedly to look at our gutters, he asked our older daughter, Sarah, to take Emily on her way to her classes.

I heated up Emily’s breakfast and handed it to her as she walked out the door.

Laura practiced her violin while Hannah and I carried the cage outside to scrub and clean. My husband finished with the man from Lowe’s and then went to to the Community Center to get the heat turned on for the volunteers.

Then, Laura got dressed, brushed her hair, grabbed her breakfast sandwich out of the oven and ran out the door to meet her daddy as he pulled back in the driveway to take her to music lessons.

By the time Laura and Emily arrived home from music lessons, it was nearly lunch time. Then we had homeschool to do. And on Tuesday evenings we have choir practice.

If you’re a mom, I’m sure you can relate in some way to my typical busy day. At least I did something right. I planned our meals on Sunday.

Make Ahead Meal Planning @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Make-Ahead Meal Planning

Sunday is my day {usually} to plan for the week. I like to plan my menu, make notes and to-do lists, and in general make sure I’m ready for the week ahead.

It’s important to me that my family eats well. I want our meals to be well rounded, healthy, and taste good. Cooking from scratch can be difficult when your day is so busy, so having a plan really helps me!

It’s important when planning meals to take into account your schedule. It doesn’t make much sense to plan a meal that takes 1 hour to prepare if your only going to have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table.

Make-Ahead Breakfasts

This week I planned several make-ahead breakfasts as well as a slow cooker meal for one of my busiest evenings.

On Sunday, my daughters helped me bake up three batches of buttermilk Tea Towel Biscuits. We ate the first batch with gravy on Sunday morning. With the rest of the biscuits I planned three days worth of breakfasts:

  • Monday: Sausage Biscuits
  • Tuesday: Egg and Cheese Sandwiches
  • Wednesday: Biscuits with Tomato Gravy

For Monday, I made the sandwiches up ahead of time and then individually wrapped them with plastic wrap and put them in a gallon size freezer bag. I didn’t freeze them, just put them in the refrigerator and we ate them at room temperature – but you could definitely heat them up!

Tuesday’s sandwiches went into the freezer, individually wrapped in plastic and in a gallon size freezer bag. To reheat, I took the sandwiches out, unwrapped them from the plastic, and then wrapped them in tin foil and heated them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. They were delicious and didn’t taste like they’d been frozen!

The rest of the biscuits were placed in a freezer bag and I’ll reheat them the same way tomorrow!

Other ideas for make-ahead breakfasts:

Meal Prep for the Week

On Sunday I also prepared a Broccoli Casserole for our dinner on Tuesday night. Knowing that Tuesday would be busy, I planned an easy meal – Sloppy Joes. The Broccoli Casserole is an easy addition, but it takes a little while to steam the broccoli and prepare the sauce. Doing those things ahead of time really helped ease my meal prep on Tuesday afternoon.

There are several ways you can prepare food for the week on Sunday or your planning day:

  • chop fresh fruit and vegetables, store in the fridge
  • boil eggs
  • pack lunches for the week
  • cook like ingredients and divide for individual recipes
  • prepare salad ingredients
  • prepare and/or bake casseroles
  • bake bread

Cook Once, Eat Twice

One of my favorite ways to make a busy day easier is to double a recipe and freeze the second one for the following week or an upcoming busy day. Doing this is very little extra work and it can really make a big difference on a hectic day. Some meals that work well:

For sure, Meal Planning is one of those things I {usually} do each week that makes a huge difference in my day – and in how we eat. I definitely miss my meal plan when it doesn’t happen!

How do you prepare for the week?

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  1. Oh my goodness, my head is spinning from your morning! I will never again complain of being to harried, but...I have had those days for sure! I like your plan ahead suggestions and I am a big leftover fan even when it is just three of us because I work full time! I know how satisfying it is when I do have something scheduled ahead on busy nights like when there is prayer on Tuesdays and then Awana on Wednesdays and you know just how the weeks can go! Bless you for sharing and I am sure curious about your 'tomato gravy' never heard of that, ever. Maybe a southern thing? Bless your willingness to help us discover new ways to organize Melissa!
  2. Oh, you live in Knoxville!!! I'm so impressed! I love Knoxville...it's so beautiful. I haven't been there in over 35 years, but I'd love to see the Appalachian Mountains again. Thank you for your post about divorce. I left an emotionally and physically abusive husband many years ago. Mostly I regret ever marrying him. That relationship was the cause of many mistakes....
  3. I always love some extra tips on meal planning! If I don't plan... then I spend and it's not healthy! PS this is like the third time I stumbled onto your blog for different and amazing posts. Definitely a follower now! Thanks for all your great ideas! Pinned!
  4. Great ideas here! I love looking at how others do their meal planning and am always on the lookout to improve my plans! I know that for my family, keeping my real-food grocery budget in line would be impossible without it! Thanks!
  5. We tend to get in a rut with breakfast and lunch. These are some great tips. I'm also picturing feathers everywhere... Not that I don't empathize, but it kinda gave me the giggles. I can so relate to busy days like this! Thank you for sharing at Inspire Me Wednesday. Featuring you in this week's issue.
  6. There are some days when the mom-life just doesn't stop for a breather! These are some excellent tips on planning ahead. Please come share your blog posts over at the Home Matters Linky Party! We'd love to have you for a visit. The Door is OPEN. http://lifewithlorelai.com/2015/02/26/home-matters-linky-party-26/ :) ~Lorelai Life With Lorelai

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