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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Two Week Prep Ahead Meal Plan for Busy Moms

Hey mamas!  You're busy.  I know.  We've got this, okay?


We are that group of people who do the work of twenty....for free.  Nothing about it is easy.  Each life stage that our children go through creates a different challenge. 

When our wee ones are tiny we'd give our right hand to have just one hour to ourselves.  When they become teenagers we spend half of the day in the car traveling to and from events that most likely will not shape their lives.  When they leave the house we pray they remember us and come back to visit.

Being a mom is not for the faint of heart.  You go into it thinking about all the sweet nothings.  What you forget to think about is all the hard work.

I once heard that moms spend one-third of their life catering to their children.  And of that one-third, much of it is spent feeding those little people.  Is starts as round-the-clock feedings, which turns into pesky eating toddlers, then savage hungry teenagers and finally belly-hungry 20-somethings that crave the meals they once remembered hating growing up.

The MOST asked question I receive is....
"How do I meal plan when I am so busy?"

It's a great question.  I get it.  I'm right there with ya.  My two older kids are just starting to enter the stage of sports, birthday parties and other random activities, which of course interfere with MY schedule and that picture-perfect-round-the-table-dinner-time that us Americans are supposed to have.

Meal plans have always been popular on my food blog.  People crave the darn things.  Who wouldn't?  They set up an ideal plan for you and all you have to do is execute.  Which sometimes can prove to be the hard part, but trust me, if you take the time to follow through with one, it will be the best two weeks of your life.

I specifically set up this two week plan for busy moms.  These are the moms who do not have that ideal one hour of prep time to get dinner on the table, let alone even 30 minutes.  Often they are eating in the car or when they get home late after practice.

Nothing stresses out a mom more than when everyone is clamoring for food {right now!} and nothing is ready.  I went back and forth on this one many times.  The only way I could get around making this super simple for busy moms was to make you work a little.  This plan requires prep work, but the work is on the weekend {Saturday or Sunday}, which then FREES UP THE REST OF THE WEEK.

I've divided the plan into two weeks {5 meals each} and left the weekends open.  Weekends at our house are for eating out, grabbing a quick sandwich, attending a party or eating leftovers.  If you are a big weekend eater, you may want to re-arrange.

*Each recipe is a clickable link, where you'll find print options.

Week One
Baked Chicken Burritos
Chicken Pesto Meatballs
Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
Pizza Burgers
Mexican Stuffed Shells

Week Two
Cheeseburger Chowder
Baked Ravioli Lasagna
One Pot Beef Lo Mein
Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sliders
The Best Chicken Tetrazzini

Now, you are probably thinking how do I prep this all ahead of time on the weekend when I'm already crazy busy?

You have to block out a couple hours to get this done.  There is just no other way around it.  But that is okay, as it will save you ample time and headaches as the week moves along. 

Here are a few of my tips and work for me.  Feel free to tweak what you want below.


Week One
Baked Chicken Burritos - bake off chicken breasts, shred and set aside.  Prepare the mexi-rice, set aside.  Assemble burritos, wrap and roll in tin foil and place in the fridge until ready to bake off during the week.

Chicken Pesto Meatballs - thaw the ground chicken, mix with pesto ingredients and roll into balls placing in a 9x13 pan, top with marinara sauce.  Place in the fridge until ready to bake.

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup - fully prepare soup and place in the fridge for later in the week.  If not eating the full batch, place half in a freezable container for later in the month.

Pizza Burgers - fully prepare meat mixture, let cool and place in the fridge.  Have English muffins and extra mozzarella cheese ready to bake off for later in the week.

Mexican Stuffed Shells - cook hamburger and assemble/stuff cooked shells.  Cover and place in the fridge until baking later in the week.


Week Two
Cheeseburger Chowder - cook the hamburger, chop veggies and make the soup, allowing to cool before placing in the fridge.  Freeze some if not eating the full batch.

Baked Ravioli Lasagna - remove frozen ravioli and assemble lasagna.  Place in the fridge until baked during the week.

One Pot Beef Lo Mein - slice beef, chop veggies, mix sauce and set aside in separate containers.  Cook spaghetti, drain, cool and put in a container.  When ready to eat, saute meat, veggies, sauce and toss with the cooked noodles.

Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sliders - combine the chicken, sauce, water and seasonings in a big Ziploc baggie {I am loving these hands-free baggy rack storage bag holders}.  Place in the fridge.  On the morning you plan to eat, place mixture in the crock pot of LOW.

The Best Chicken Tetrazzini - prepare the casserole as directed, place in a greased baking dish, cover and place in the fridge or freezer until the end of the week.

Do you think you can do this?

YES, YOU CAN!  Put in a bit of work and it will be the best two weeks of your life.  If you have older kids, leave notes for them during the week with directions on putting the dish in the oven.  If your significant other is home during the day or before you, let them help as well.  You don't have to do this all yourself.

Being a bit of a control freak myself, I've learned {after many failed attempts} to let those you love help you, even if they do it a different way than you.  In the end, it all goes in our belly and comes out the same end.

Did I just say that?  Sorry.

But you get the picture.

And lastly, before you get to work, if there is a meal here that turns you off, swap it with another.  Say, you HATE meatballs and would rather eat a piece of coal, well fine, just swap with another one of my recipes.  But, please note I picked these recipes specifically because they are simple and can be prepped ahead, so you'll need to look for any easy one!

Interested is other meal plans off the blog?

Here are a few that people rave about.

2-Week Meal Plan + Free Printables

2 Week Meal Plan for a Family of 5 for $170

5 Crock Pot Meals x 2 = 10 Dinners

10+ Five Ingredient Dinners

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