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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Meal Prep: #1- Review 3 Vital Questions to Ask Yourself

I have "Meal Prepped" since 1996, it was called Once a Month Cooking or OMC, Batch/Bulk Cooking, Freezer Cooking, and a myriad of other terms back then. 

At that time, we were renting a huge 1940's 2-story house that ironically had a ridiculously small kitchen with only 2 cabinets, 1 cupboard, 2' counter top, and a vintage fridge from the 60's. 

You know the type of "dorm or RV-Type" that has one long door and the freezer is this itty-bitty compartment- like an afterthought, above the very minuscule refrigerator space? Well, our first apartment fridge 2 years earlier was identical to this one below, then the house we rented was just a smidge larger than this one! If this is you, don't despair, I will post a link on how I did it here soon.

Picture Credit
I used TNT recipes that my family already enjoyed and included tips for freezer storage found in such books/Web Sites/Yahoo Groups/E-mail Newsletters as OMC, 30 Day Gourmet (I feel like Carol & Nancy are my friends!), Freezer Friendly Yahoo Group...  

My first batch cooking session entailed making a HUGE batch of tomato sauce and then morphed it into different meal types, such as Spaghetti Sauce transformed into; 

  • Chili/Taco Soup, Minestrone, Baked Ziti, Beef-a-Roni, Lasagna, and Chicken Catchatori. 

I would  simmer the sauce all day, then divide into a variety of meal types adding beans, veggies, seasonings... basically everything but the pasta (starch breaks down in 3 days not safe to eat and is NOT tasty!). I worked 50-60 hours 6-7 days/week, as did my hubby on a totally different shift than I did so I was excited I could just heat and eat.

I then progressed to another type of meal prepping, which I will discuss in later posts. The key is to be flexible, ask yourself these vital questions: 

1.) Is the way you are meal prepping working for your family-

  • Are they complaining about the texture of the meal, the repetitiveness, or types of meal you're making (I.E fixing casseroles when family doesn't like them...)
2.) Are you enjoying your Meal Prep method? 

  • How much time is it taking away from you & you from your family? Is the trade off "worth" the sacrifice for your family, yourself, daily schedule/chores, your sanity?
3.) Can you find ways to "tweak" any of this process?
  • Make SANe meal pack instead of fully cooked meals or vice versa? Doing Dinner Meals one day/week in place of OAM? Excluding Other meals from your schedule or doing Breakfast or Lunch on another day if at all?

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