I find I’m most successful with cooking dinner at home when I have a plan at the beginning of the week. I know which nights we will be getting home late, which nights we’re going out with friends, and which nights I’ll have more time to prep and cook meals at home. Once I have a general idea of what my week looks like, I try to work in some meal prep early in the week. I try to find even just 1 thing that I can do in bulk to save me time. Maybe it’s cooking up a large batch of chili for multiple lunches and a stash for the freezer. Or it might be roasting up multiple trays of veggies to use over multiple meals.
One of my go-to ways to prep is by cooking up a large batch of grains to use with multiple meals. This week I cooked a large batch of brown rice to use in 3 different ways throughout the week. Here are two of my strategys for meal prep, and how I plan on using the rice:
Utilize Cook Time for Prep Work
Tonight I planned on cooking enough brown rice to have with at least 3 meals throughout the week. I cooked it in my pressure cooker, but it still took close to 40 minutes from start to finish to cook the rice. I planned a simple dinner of roasted salmon and green beans that took me less than 15 minutes to prepare. That left me with the rest of the rice cooking time to prep for later in the week! I used my time to prepare fall salads for lunch to have over the next 2 days.
Utilize a Hot Oven
I knew that I would need a hot oven to roast the salmon, so I used the hot oven to also roast some butternut squash for my lunch salads. I used my prep time to peel and cube the squash, then I tossed it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Once the salmon came out of the oven, I put the squash in the oven to roast while we ate.
Brown Rice 3 Ways
My plan this week is to use the brown rice in 3 different ways:
- Tonight’s dinner: A simple roasted salmon with brown rice and green beans.
- Two days worth of fall salads (pictured): Arugula, kale, apples, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, goat cheese, roasted butternut squash, small scoop of brown rice, balsamic vinaigrette.
- Chicken and broccoli stir fry: I will serve the stir fry over the brown rice to use of the last of it later in the week.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Just think about what you’re going to be preparing for the week, and see how you can maximize your cooking and prep time to make less work for yourself! How can you incorporate meal prep into your plan this week?