So, this article may be titled for the “Homeschool Mom” but honestly any mom (stay-at-home or working away from home) can use it. I’m just focusing on stay-at-home moms because we are responsible for 3 meals a day preparation as a general rule.
First off, I am not the regular meal planning mama. I have read some awesome books on this and I totally agree with them. Unfortuantely I’m just not that organized. However, I do have a super simple method that might qualify as “meal planning” and it totally works for me! Here’s what I do:
I am not a gourmet cook but I do love traditional cooking methods such as sourdough, homemade sauerkraut and soaking my beans and grains before cooking. These may sound complicated but they are actually a huge timesaver for busy moms. The prep work is minimal and you basically let the things sit and soak overnight and then mix them up quickly or cook them in the morning. Honestly, its so easy and much quicker than the other ways I’ve tried. I also have the knowledge that my food is healthier and it tastes so much better.
So, once a week I soak a large container of beans overnight in salted water. Then I drain off the water and cook in my instant pot. I then store the beans in the fridge (or freezer) for super fast meals such a bean burritos, chili and stir fried beans with cheese and tortilla chips. Time it takes to make this: 5 minutes prep (putting beans onto soak) and 40 minutes in the instant pot. How easy is that!
Another thing I do each week is either cook a large bag of boneless chicken breasts or another large quantity of meat (hamburger, stew meat, ect…) in the instant pot. Then I toss it in the fridge or freezer for super quick meals. Some I make are shredded chicken with stir fried onions, peppers, spinach topped with cheese and served on tortilla wraps or sourdough rolls. You can also put together a soup, stew or chili in the instant pot in about 10 minutes time. Then all it has to do is cook!
When you pre-soak your beans and grains it cuts down on your cooking time by about 1/2! This is a huge savings for a busy mom (or dad)! I also premix my pancakes or biscuits the night before and all I have to do is add the wet ingredients (or extra wet ingredients if its sourdough) the next morning and cook.
One more thing I do to make quick easy meals is cooking a large batch of baked white or sweet potatoes in the instant pot. Then each person can top them with leftovers such as chili, chicken, stir fry or hamburger and cheese.
I hope this helps someone else who is struggling to long term meal plan! Let me know what you do to get quick, easy, healthy meals on the table for your family!