If you've known me for a minute or two over the last 25 years you've heard me talk about Meal Planning.
I promise one day I'll finish the Order Up! Meal Planning Guide I've been working on. But don't hold your breath 'cause it's gonna be a minute!
You might also know that my "Little Cookie Shoppe" idea is morphing into a Cookie Empire <insert maniacal laugh>
So here I am to confess to you, my friends, my dear friends that I haven't been cooking for since the first of the year.
I'll wait while you collect yourself. I know, I know it's okay, clutch the pearls. The Meal Planning preacher... not eh hem Meal Planning.
The most I've been able to accomplish is 1-2 meals in a week and soup and sandwiches. And my husband is doing most of the cooking of those two meals!
Which is fine, it's good for him.
It's just us now and I've struggled to figure out inspiration for just us. What I have loved about cooking is the joy it has brought to my family. The time spent around the table.
The experience is so different now. Steve and I talk and text all day. We don't have crazy catching up to do at dinner. We eat less, eat healthier. We don't linger with a glass of wine because we don't drink.
Empty nest + new business + changed diet = New Plan
My focus when I'm not taking care of my family is my business. I've never believed we can achieve perfect balance in anything so I'm not pursuing that. Rather I see balance as a plan in constant motion. Balance Schmalance. A little here, a little there, add on- take off, it never stops. Not ever. Until we die.
That was dramatic. But it's true so let's move on.
I had a long weekend away and had a few moments to think.
Meal Prepping is something I've used from time to time over the years. I've done a co-op, weekly cooking, even monthly cooking.
Those are not things I need now.
What I need is to plan and prep a little. Not a lot, but a little.
Some things will always be part of my routine. They've remained even during the cooking strike of '23
I make hard boiled eggs usually 12-18 for each week. Easy protein for breakfast and snacks.
I make a green salad each week.
I make a pasta salad each week.
I am adding back baking bread. If you don't eat bread just avert your eyes from this section. I have loved baking bread, always. I'm back at it.
I love cheese and fruit and meats - I love charcuterie. Fresh bread a couple times a week is so nice. It's easy, and it adds a character to lunch or dinner.
I've returned to fruit and vegetable prep on the weekend. Getting melons cut up, peppers, onion and cucumbers sliced makes it easy to toss a salad, make a wrap, or have a snack.
And I've decided to prep 4 meals a week.
This week I did chicken bacon ranch chicken breasts, herb and parmasean chicken and meatballs for spaghetti. See those prepacked meatballs from Aldi - bam! Prepped!
Everything is a crockpot meal and most will last us for different meals.
Meatballs are spaghetti one day and meatball subs the next.
Leftover parm chicken is added to penne or fettuccini the next day, same with chicken bacon ranch.
It's time for the grilling to get underway so there will be Gouda and Pepper Jam Cheeseburgers.
The grill months are so great. Prep fish, chicken and beef in a marinade and call it a day. Thaw it the night before. I know this is the hard part. But have Alexa help. She's essentially my Sous Chef.
With that the Cooking Strike of '23 comes to an end.