I have to admit I have been slacking in the meal prepping department. Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I have the time to slave in the kitchen every night. In fact, it’s the opposite. Many nights, my husband walks in the door and I blank on dinner. Something I should have planned hours in advance. But I just forget about.

While on vacation, I vowed that I wasn’t going to let that happen any more. I needed to come up with some kind of plan. I know what I need to start doing again: meal planning. Meal planning and cooking in advance will help simplify my life!

Meal planning and bulk cooking are both wonderful techniques you can utilize and modify to fit your families needs. The idea behind this is so simple. Cook and/or  prepare your meals ahead of time and then preserve them by either freezing or refrigerating them. It can also help stretch your food budget dollar further, since you can cook one large meal and get two or three other meals from it with the proper planning.

Learn to Cook for the Week Ahead and Save Both Time and Money

How do we start?

Make a list. Jot down a list of your family’s favorite meals and plan on preparing a grocery list that will coincide with your menu. Since you’re learning to cook in bulk, your shopping list will have to change accordingly so you’re sure to have enough ingredients on hand when the time comes to do the cooking.

Stock the freezer. The most important tool in meal planning and bulk cooking is your freezer. Freezer bags are a great space saver if you have a small freezer. You can fit many in the same space of a few storage containers. Be sure to incorporate lots of quick and easy meals that your family can warm up and serve themselves in the event you’re not able to be at home for dinner or you just need to grab something that’s quick.

Use your slow cooker. You’ll also learn to love your slow cooker. I know I love mine! Experiment with different recipes and variations on your favorites. They also make easy work of cooking whole chickens or roasts which can be frozen or refrigerated for later use very easily.

slow-steady-how-to-find-success-with-slow-cooker

You’re only limited by your own imagination when cooking in bulk for the week ahead. Factor in the time you save by not having to do a lot of after dinner cleanup or dishes, and you’ll be glad you took the time to master this important organizational skill.

Since I am just getting back into meal planning and cooking ahead, I asked my friends for their advice. And boy did they answer!

Weekly Meal Planner Template — Start off by printing this FREE weekly meal planner template to plan out your meals and help you with your grocery list.

Getting Organized with Meal Planning — If you are planning on tackling meal planning, get yourself organized with these tips!

Saving Money with a Meal Plan — Then learn how you can save money by making a meal plan. If that doesn’t get you planning, I don’t know what will!

Freezer Meals — Plan some freezer meals in your meal plan so you can get two meals while only cooking once!

Meal Plan Ideas — Can’t figure out what to make? Here are a ton of plans already done for you along with a master list of meal planning recipes.

Even More Meal Plan Ideas — If you need a weekly meal plan without having to think, you can’t go wrong with this list!

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