There are many things I want to cover here and I’m 110% certain I will forget some. So, bear with me as we haven’t perfected this whole “putting our meal prep process online”. WordPress is still something Pat and I are learning every day.
To begin, I think it’s important to note how many people we feed. It’s 2 adults, 1 toddler, and some scraps for 2 goldendoodles. I don’t make Joe special meals unless he’s sick, so he eats what we eat or he eats fruit and yogurt.
We’re also not here to knock your culinary socks off. These are meals that are budget friendly and tasty enough to us.
Our breakfasts are religious. I eat oatmeal every morning. Joe eats some of that and some fruit. Pat does not eat breakfast.
I am on maternity leave currently so we eat what from the staples we have in the fridge for lunch. When I work, we plan out our lunches for the week and prep them on Sundays. Until I go back, I won’t be posting that part of our meal prep. Right now my lunch usually involves shoveling a turkey sandwich that I made with 3 fingers down my throat. Pat just grazes. We save money this way.
This post only includes dinners for Monday-Saturday. 80% of the time we make a big crockpot meal on Sunday and eat it through the week, but when we are busy, we designate Sundays as our one day to eat out. So, this Sunday is not included because we are busy.
We always have staples on hand for cheap, easy meals when we don’t plan lunches or can’t get out to grocery shop. These include oatmeal, eggs, lots of veggies, fruit, yogurt, sometimes a box of cereal, frozen pizza, turkey, olive oil, butter, milk. I feel like everyone’s staples are different according to budget constraints and taste buds.
Our grocery list is grouped by Aldi and Kroger. Those are the places we shop and we buy different items at each one because of price or quality differences. We usually spend an average $100 on food per week. Sometimes it is less and sometimes it is more depending on our meal selection. We will be doing some budget challenges on here in the future.
We used to spend almost $200 on groceries per week with just Pat and I. It kind of blows my mind how much food we used to throw away and how stupid we were with money. But, it also blows my mind how efficient we have become with food usage, budgeting, prepping, and planning. Planning does not take long and if you use these recipes, that part is done for you.
Meal planning and prepping have seriously changed our lives. It is essential to us and helps us to enjoy life more and not just rush, rush, rush. We get like an extra hour to just enjoy each other’s company every night because we plan our meals out and get them ready. That’s a lot of time in a mom’s eyes (at least 5 hours to be exact). A lot. We don’t just go from clocking out at work, to dinner, to bedtime. Although right now every day feels like survival mode with a newborn and toddler, but it will pass.
Fiesta Kale Slaw Wraps
I have been drooling and obsessing over the Sprouted Kitchen's recipes for ANYTHING. Seriously, you will be seeing a ton of shit from her site because we haven't found one thing that we dislike. That's consistency, folks. These Kale Slaw Wraps are like street taco good and you don't even miss the meat. It's insane. I was super against going more vegetarian because I thought I would miss meat so much, but I barely even notice it.
This recipe calls for regular kale, but I'm not really a fan of it. Pat found this stuff called dragon kale at our local grocery store it has been a game changer for my relationship with kale. Stuff is amazing. See if you can find it and sub it in here. It's so good.
I'm currently at home attempting to take care of my two boys and when they occasionally nap at the same time I like to try to get some part of dinner ready. This one was really awesome because you can pre-make the slaw, let it sit in the refrigerator, and then just assemble once you get around to eating dinner. This recipe is seriously my new fav.
I began by prepping the vegetables during the day. Stem, shred, grate vegetables and throw into a big bowl.
Chop up cilantro and add to veggies.
Add the juice of both limes, feta, olive oil, hot sauce and a sprinkle of salt&pepper. Throw that bowl into the fridge.
In a small skillet, add pumpkin seeds along with brown sugar and cayenne. Stir so the sugar sticks to the nuts for about 5 minutes. Remove to cool on a piece of parchment.
Cook lentils. Once pumpkin seeds and lentils are cool throw them in your big salad bowl.
Warm tortillas over the stove. Add a spoonful of sour cream down the center of the tortilla, add a pile of the kale slaw and wrap it up. You can store the salad separately in the fridge for meals the next day.
Veggie Stir Fry
I do not like stir fry. I do like this stupid simple recipe. Maybe because it's so easy or maybe because I just leave out all the stir fry-y stuff. No soy sauce for me.
This is also a make ahead if ya want recipe. Vegetables can all be chopped up before hand. You can also kind of add whatever veggies you have on hand. The ones listed are just what we had that day.
I got Pat a julienne thing-a-ma-jig for Christmas and we use it religiously in this recipe for the carrots or parsnips. It somehow makes vegetables more fun? I didn't think I had much 4 year old left in me, but tiny slivers of carrots brings out some sort of veggie magic.
Joe likes to chew on carrots and "help" while I get some real shit done.
Chop, dice, julienne whatever veggies you are using. If prepping, put those things in the fridge until you are ready to make dinner
When ready for dinner, cook rice.
While rice cooks, in a non-stick skillet add olive oil, veggies, and salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are slightly crunchy. If you cut small (I would recommend this for more tastiness) it shouldn't take very long for these suckers to cook.
Each plate gets a healthy serving of rice and an even healthier scoop of veggies on top.
I guess you can add soy sauce if you are gross. Cheers!
Thai Basil Chicken
We stupidly made this on Joe's birthday. This is a little more time-consuming than the others because we didn't prep and it was new to us. There's always a learning curve to new recipes.
I made Joe go to a doctor's appointment and then the bank for an hour. It was such a memorable birthday for him. But, he did get 3 suckers while we were there.
I am not a fan of Asian cuisine, but Pat is bound and determined to get me to like it. I will honestly say the last 2 Asian meals he's made me, I have loved. This one was amazing.
Get the rice started before you cook anything else. I'm no expert on cooking rice. Just follow the instructions on the bag and make sure you rinse it off in a strainer before cooking so it doesn't become too gummy.
Stem green beans and wash. Add butter to a pan over medium heat. Throw in the beans and salt. Cook till slightly crunch and set aside.
Cut your chicken breast into thin slices, then dice them. The goal is to get the chicken as small as possible. Toss it in the frying pan. Once that has started to brown, you can add in the diced onion, jalapeño, and green pepper. I usually add my garlic in towards the end once everything looks like it is close to done.
Combine all the sauce ingredients and bring to simmer. Once the chicken is cooked you can start spooning this into the frying pan. The longer you let the sauce cook in with the chicken the more it will caramelize. I do about 5 minutes. Once that's all done, chop up your basil and add it in for the last minute or so.
Add the rice and chicken to a plate and your done!
If you are able to get the chicken and veggies prepped before hand this can be a really quick dish. Cutting the chicken took much longer than expected, but in total it still only took about 45 minutes for the entire meal.
Steak Tacos & Mexican Corn
By Thursday, I am ready to be done with the week, but Joe always keeps me on my toes. By 5 o'clock, he had 102 fever and I was raising my hands to the sky cursing the heavens. I hate sick kids. Mostly because I feel helpless when they are not well or in pain and I can do so very little to help.
We made the steak tacos before the madness hit, so this recipe worked out. We used to make these all the time, but since going more veggie we don't make them as much. They are really good and simple. This requires a grill for both parts. I don't grill. Pat does. One day I will. It goes with my aspirations to never need anyone! Ha.
I had Mexican corn for the first time like 7 years ago. I am in love with Mexican corn. It is sooooo yum. But, I am also a ginormous fan of any Mexican food, so my taste buds are biased. Do not make this by boiling the corn. I will be mad at you.
Put the corn on the grill on high heat. Let it sit for 3 minutes. Turn it. Let it sit for 3 minutes. Turn it again. Repeat this process 3 more times (5 turns total) You want the corn to have marks on it.
Remove corn and let sit while you cook the steak.
Depending how much steak you bought, use the cumin, chili powder, and salt to make a rub for the meat. Rub it up.
Throw the steak on the grill for 5-6 miutes on each side on high heat. Once cooked, let it set for 5-10 minutes.
Now, assemble your corn. Slab some mayo on them like you would butter. Sprinkle them with cheese and cilantro. Squirt some lime juice on each one. Corn is done.
Cut up your meat. Assemble tacos with all the goodies that you prefer and plate. Enjoy!
Pizza & Salad
Busy Sunday ahead. Shit gets busy on the weekend even if we do nothing. I'm not sure how that happens, but life.
We usually buy Jack's pizza because I haven't fully gotten rid of College Shelby. She knew how to live cheap. A hack to make frozen pizza sing - we add basil from our "garden" (only during summer and basil is like 1 of 2 things I grow), sprinkle goat cheese, and add fresh tomatoes. You will be surprised at how much this betters a $3 pizza.
I make the side salads during the day and set them in fridge. So, chop up lettuce and tomatoes.
Add a serving of lettuce and tomato to each bowl. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.
Make ranch dressing with instructions on the back. You will need mayo and milk. Shake that dressing and let sit in the fridge. Add to salads when ready to eat.
Preheat oven according to pizza instructions and then add your goat cheese, tomatoes, and basil on top of pizza. Cook pizza according to the box.
When pizza's done, get out your salads and eat! Easy peasy.
Eggs & Home Fries
I don't know a single person who does not appreciate breakfast for dinner. Everyone in our house loves this meal (assuming Noah will eventually). Pat has perfected the home fry. They are as good if not better than Harbaugh's ranch potatoes. Nom.
We generally have this meal at least once a week because it's CHEAP and/or by Saturday we have nothing left in our cabinets or fridge beside potatoes and eggs. You can sub sweet potatoes if you are super healthy.
Use a cast iron skillet if you have it. Medium heat and add 2tbsp butter to the skillet.
Add potatoes to skillet. Make sure the potatoes are covered in butter. If you need more, add it. Put a lid on the skillet and set a timer for 40 minutes. Let cook for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove the lid and stir it. Put lid back on, let sit for 10 more minutes, remove lid and stir.
Remove lid completely. You no longer need it. Add in the remaining butter. Cook ten minutes.
Add seasonings and either cook them for 10 more minutes, or if they look done take them out depending on their color.
In another cast iron skillet, put down a little butter at medium heat. Put eggs into the skillet, add about a shot glass of water, and put a lid on it.
That will steam the tops until the eggs are cooked. You may have to add more water if the eggs don't look done, but this process makes super yummy runny eggs.
Plate eggs on top of the home fries and feast.
Get the grocery list for the entire week!
Grocery & Prep List