Are you ready for a fresh new start to the year? Meal planning and preparation can help you achieve many healthy eating or healthy living goals that you may have set. I love to make large batches of freezer meals to include in our meal planning. Most often I use our crockpot to cook easy weekday dinners in. Be sure to follow along on Instagram or Facebook for real-time recipes, inspiration and tips. Today I am sharing a ton of my go-to meal planning recipes and tips…
How to start meal planning:
I start by determining what ingredients I might already have at home and that I want to use up. For example, I knew that we had about 10 pounds of ground beef in the freezer so I planned around that. Then I cooked all of the meat the night before and stored it in the fridge so that it would be ready the next day. I like to drain the hamburger meat and rinse it as well to reduce the fat content.
Then I select which recipes that I want to make, create a shopping list and purchase groceries. Next I chop up ALL of the vegetables that I will need for all of the recipes. I try to choose recipes with similar ingredients so that I don’t have a ton of different bowls and vegetables to chop. This often takes the most time for me. A food processor is my next investment for sure!
For quick clean up in the kitchen I simply tuck a garbage bag around a drawer to act as a catch all.
When I am making recipes I love to know what each ingredient looks like. So here is our selection of goods from the pantry ready to be added to each meal.
For freezer meals that can be baked in the oven I use these large tin casserole pans found at the dollar store.
Baked sausage pesto pasta and lasagna get built right in the pan with all of the ingredients including pasta and cheese.
Then I wrap them in tin foil and label each meal before storing it in the freezer. Each of our freezer meals is eaten within 30 days of preparing. Now for a few of our crockpot freezer meal recipes! This Sausage Pesto Bake is the same as the recipe listed below only I cooked and added the pasta to our casserole before freezing whereas for the crockpot recipe, I add the pasta at the end. Be sure to check out our other Crockpot Freezer Meals for even more meal planning recipes and tips.
Some of my favorite crockpot recipes:
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
- 8 lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 5 1/2oz can tomato paste
- 1 jar pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 cup green pepper, diced
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. Parsley
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- Place all ingredients in a crockpot.
- Stir at the half way point to ensure that all of the noodles are covered in sauce.
- Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
Do you have more meal planning recipes and tips? Please share!