When my kids were all still at home, and before freezer cooking really caught on, I had three tricks for keeping up with meal prep, the first was double or triple batching, or what I called Cook once, eat twice (or 3x). When cooking dinner, I’d double or triple the recipe for the evening, and put it in the freezer for one of those days that I didn’t have time, or energy to make a meal from scratch. This is also handy for cookie dough…Mix once, bake often 🙂
My second trick was “Planned-overs”. Sundays I would make a large pot roast or roasted chicken (or turkey if I hit a great sale); what wasn’t eaten that night was cut up and placed in the freezer for a recipe or two later in the week. Beef could be used for stir fry, pot pie, soup or stew, or hash. Chicken/turkey could be used for chicken salad, pot pie or stir fry as well. If I had leftover side dishes (veggies, potatoes, rice), that were not enough to use for a whole meal, I didn’t throw them out…I saved them in an ice cream bucket or ziplock in the freezer. When it accumulated to enough, I made soup. Waste not, want not, we made it through some very lean years with this approach.
My third trick was YO-YO night, short for “you’re on your own”, otherwise known as “clean out the fridge night”. Kids could eat whatever they wanted out of the fridge, as long as they fixed it themselves. We had seasons of YO-YO’ing it…one kid fixing breakfast, another having a sandwich, or cleaning out the leftovers from the night before…it worked well for us, I actually miss those days.
Now that the kids have all left home, I still find myself in this mindset. Today I made Kahlua Pork with coconut rice. I’ll have enough pork left over for at least a couple more meals, and the coconut rice might just be gone by tomorrow…YUMMMM! Here are the recipes:
Coconut Rice: No different than regular rice, except you substitute coconut milk for half the water called for. It’s delish!
Kalua Pork: Pork loin roast, washed, patted dry, pierced all over, and rubbed with 1 TBSP liquid smoke flavor and 1 TBSP sea salt. Cook on low in slow cooker for 15 hours, turning once midway. When done, remove meat from crock pot, and shred, adding liquid back in as needed. Serve over coconut rice, with pineapple on the side.