Can I confess something? Meal planning and prep is one of my guilty pleasures, which I think stems from love of both organization and talking about food. My husband and I started the habit casually a few a years ago, talking about new recipes we might want to try for the week. Recently, we’ve got a bit more serious about it, and sit down to make a plan for the week – usually on Sunday mornings – before we purchase our groceries for the week.I love the process for a few reasons. First, it helps us get organized for the week ahead, usually highlighting if one of us has meetings or events in the evenings. It also helps us save money, we try to make our plan around any sales that might be happening on key ingredients – typically the proteins and vegetables we’ll have for dinner. We also have realized that this planning process helps us cut down on food waste in a pretty major way – our goal is to have the fridge nearly empty by the end of week if all goes as planned.Here’s how we usually plan the week: to start, we scan the fridge and pantry for anything leftover from the previous week we might want to use up. We have an awesome meal-planning/grocery list note pad that helps us jot down any weekly essentials that we need to replenish, like coffee, milk and eggs. We’re really consistent about what we eat for breakfast for each week and typically grab English muffins, eggs and cheddar cheese, and some yogurt. My husband often makes his eggs as breakfast tacos and will mix in tortillas, beans, and salsa.Then we plan one “big-batch” meal that we make for lunches for the week. We’re huge fans of the Instant Pot and use that often for meal prep. In warmer months we rely on the grill a lot for meal-prep too. Our go-to lunch options are rice bowls, big salads, or leftovers from casseroles and pasta dishes. As we’re prepping lunches for the week, I also try to make a big batch of food for Jane as well. We steam veggies, puree fruits, and chop up bite size bits of pasta and other snacks and pack them into individual containers. I’m a huge proponent of glass Tupperware because they’re so much easier to clean, and they reheat easily in the microwave or oven. We have a big set we use for lunches, and lots of tiny glass cubes for Jane’s baby food portions.Dinners are where we mix it up each week! I test a lot of new recipes each week, so we taste-test those for dinner. I also have an arsenal of easy favorite meals we rely on like Buffalo Turkey Burgers, Chicken Tacos, a big pot of Chili, and Mexican Lasagna. If we’re planning on having seafood that week, we usually assign that to Sunday night so that it’s at its freshest. At least once or twice a week we grill steak or chicken and eat that with a big tossed salad for a quick and healthy meal. On Friday nights we typically make a pizza on the grill, and toss on leftover veggies from the week’s meals.The whole process takes just a little bit of effort, but kicks off the week with such a feeling of order. I love having an organized fridge full of meals so I have one less thing to worry about on busy weekdays. I thought I’d share one of our favorite meal-prep recipes with you today: Spicy Grilled Chicken Thigh Bowls. We marinate the chicken in a spicy homemade sauce with garlic and ginger, sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and peanut butter. They get charred on the grill and chopped up before we portion them out over rice, shredded carrots, and sometimes mixed greens in a soy vinaigrette. Each bowl gets topped with a little bit more hot sauce and fresh scallions before we snap each lid on and pop them in the fridge for a week of tasty meals. Get the full recipe below:
- 3 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. of ginger, minced,
- Juice of 1-2 limes
- 2 Tbsp. of Sriracha (less if you don’t love spice!)
- 2 Tbsp. of Soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. of Honey
- 1 Tsp. of sesame oil
- ¾ Cup of Peanut butter
- 5-6 cups of Cooked White Rice
- Shredded Carrots
- Scallions, chopped
- In a bowl, combine garlic, ginger, lime juice, sriracha, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and peanut butter.
- Whisk together to combine (heat peanut butter in microwave for 30 seconds if the sauce needs loosening) and toss with chicken thighs to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- While marinating, prepare white rice and pre-heat grill.
- Grill chicken thighs until charred on the outside and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Divide cooked rice among five containers and top with cooked chicken, shredded carrots, and scallions.
- Serve with additional sriracha, mixed greens and/or a soy vinaigrette if desired.
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