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Make ahead meals

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Old 10-15-2013, 08:20 PM   #1
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Default Make ahead meals

Does anyone make their meals ahead of time? Do you find it easy to do?how many meals do you prepare ahead of time.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:43 PM   #2
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I don't make meals ahead of time, but I do cook (no hormone) chicken breast (6 breasts for my hubby and I) for snacking or to add to salads during the week. I cut the chicken in small pieces and use McCormick Grill Mate rosted garlic and Herb and EVO to marinate it, then I dry fry. It has a very nice taste and keeps well for the week in the fridge.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:20 PM   #3
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I'm on The Simle Diet right now, which is 3 shakes (or soup or equivalent meal replacement) + 2 entrees + 5 (or more) servings of veggies/fruit.

Calorie, protein, and fat guidelines are given for shakes, soups, bars, and entrees in the book (and in the simple diet thread here on 3FC)

The book authors assume you will use frozen ready-made dinners, but I also make some of my own (140- 300 calories, 10-26g of protein, and no more than 9g fat).

I collect cookbooks, so I went through the books with nutrition information and marked those that fit the nutrition guidelines, or could be easily made to fit (some 400 calorie per serving dishes could be divided into twice as many 200 calorie portions).

Freezer space is my biggest obstacle to making too many meals ahead.

I recently made a huge pan of vegetarian spaghetti pie (technically macaroni pie), sort of like a reduced calorie lasagna. To save calories, I left out the butter, the ground beef, and the mozzarrella. The recipe came out to 12 servings, 275 calories each. I froze 8 servings and hubby and I got a couple meals out of what I didn't freeze.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
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I make my meals ahead of time.

Every weekend I make at least two big pots of soup. I take the soup and split it up into 1 cup tupperwares and freeze. Each day, I grab one for lunch. About every 2-3 weeks I make a large batch of tomato sauce and keep one in the fridge, the others frozen in jars until I need them.

This past weekend I made a large pot of both white bean soup and black bean soup, two zucchini lasagnas, chicken/squash nuggets, turkey/zucchini meatballs, layered chicken/bean enchilada (with chicken I shredded/froze into two cup servings a few weeks ago). I froze them all.

Last night after dinner, I made a butternut squash pasta sauce that I just need to warm and toss with cooked brown rice pasta, spinach, and blue cheese. It's in the fridge. Tonight I plan to make spicy tomato soup and some breakfast burritos to freeze.

Soup, stew, and chili can be portioned and frozen in containers.

Casseroles can be frozen before baking or they can be cooked, cooled, semi-frozen, and cut into portions, then the semi frozen square portions can be bagged side by side into large freezer bags to take out one at a time.

Burritos filling can be cooked, burritos filled and sprinkled with cheese, rolled up, then frozen on a metal cookie sheet. Once they're frozen, they can be bagged into large freezer bags. This keeps them from sticking together.

Chicken nuggets, meatballs, and any kind of burger (beef, turkey, veggie) also can be cooked, then frozen the same way on a sheet tray (I often freeze the burgers raw so I can cook them on the grill).

I have been doing this for about six years and I'm incredibly busy during the week and many weekends, so my huge batch cooking is probably overboard to start out with.

Start with one dish. Cook one dish, and freeze it. I recommend trying a big batch of stew or chili first. Once you see how nice it is to grab one serving and have a homemade, healthy, and inexpensive meal ready in minutes, you may get hooked.
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