I don’t love to cook. There I said it.
It’s actually one of the things I dislike the most about my mom gig. I’d rather do the clean up than the cooking. I grew up with a single working mother who did the best she could as far as fast and easy dinners. It was always our favorite night when my mom would call out those famous words of “snack night”! For us, snack night meant you could grab something from the fridge or from the pantry and if it was cookies nobody was going to cry foul or tell you that wasn’t a dinner item.
Before I became a mom myself, I worked a lot and ate when I had time. Whether it was Chinese take out, a quick trips to the grocery for microwave meals, hitting up the drive through or even running through a Starbucks would tide me over.
I’ll never forget trying to make my DH (back then just my Dear Fiancé) a romantic dinner at home. I had to ask his roommate how to cook a chicken breast. I seriously had no idea how to do it! Back then, if it wasn’t cooked in the microwave I didn’t eat it and I certainly didn’t know how to cook it.
Now that I’m a mom and a wife and cooking is higher up on the list of important things I need to know.
I often find myself thinking about my kids as they are getting older and I want them to know how to cook and cook healthy and easy. I’m trying to save them from surviving on fast food, pizza for days, and expresso when they hit their college years.
Our meal prep starts with cooking the Big 3 (protein, complex carbs, fat) in bulk.
Because if we if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. This runs through my head every week and meal prep and planning has been such an amazing change in our house! As a family we pick a night where we can do it together, and all find a job where our skills are best served to cook for the week. It makes an awesome family night and is great way to get kids invested in the meals for the week!
COMPLEX CARBS :
We cook a big pot of brown rice, quinoa or 4-5 sweet potatoes for complex carbs. These are all super easy to reheat and you can season along the way as you reheat to create a little something different each day; add in some really good salsa or pico de gallo to give a little spice!
For protein we mix it up with some spiced up extra lean ground turkey, a bunch of chicken breasts either on the grill or baked in the oven (this really depends on the weather and if we have gas for the grill) and/or some baked lean pork tenderloins.
We love to have good clean complex carbs and lean protein around as our base for fast easy meals. You can mix up some salad in a big bowl, keep it in the fridge, grab it and put it in a to go Tupperware, add in some of the chicken or turkey and you have a super fast on the go meal for lunch or a snack throughout the day.
I’ll also buy a bunch of zucchinis and make them into noodles with a cool little spiral slicer gadget. I like to take a jar of low sugar spaghetti sauce and add some of that turkey from the fridge. It makes a great lunch dinner. Our whole family loves this meal! In case you’re looking, there are a few different brands of the spiral noodle gadget out there:
Meal prep has become so important and such a fun family time in our house. With a busy life of kids in sports, scouts, and summer activities, I don’t have to spend hours cooking and/or taking the more expensive option of fast food or eating out all the time.
If you’re a mom and you love to cook, BLESS YOU! You have my heart and I’d love to hang with you to get some great cooking tips and maybe learn to make that lasagna from scratch. But if you’re a momma like me and you would rather wash every single dish instead of cook a meal, bring on the meal planning! Make a little switch, make it fun, involve your kids and show them how easy it can be–plus you’re saving yourself time and money during the week.