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Meal Prep Monday {11.4.19}

 Each Monday I share a weekly menu plan and what I’m prepping for the week. I plan 4 dinners a week, we have 2 leftover/Fridge clean out nights, and we make Take ‘n Bake pizzas on Saturday nights. My kids take lunch to school 5 days a week. You can read more about my meal planning and prep HERE. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who needs some dinner or lunch inspiration and don’t forget to pin on Pinterest for later! 

Dinner #1:

Crockpot Hearty Vegetable Soup, Croissants

Dinner #2:

Baked BBQ Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, Honey Roasted Broccoli

Dinner #3:

French Fried Onion Chicken Pasta Casserole, Ranch Roasted Cauliflower

Dinner #4:

Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken & Vegetables

 

Each week I prep all the produce and fruits ahead of time for the week. I also stock the lunch prep fridge and pantry for the kids’ lunches. I have specific containers that I use for food prep that are designed to maximize the life of the produce which helps when I only shop once a week. You can read more about my process and see pictures of my fridges HERE

This week for the meal produce I transferred the fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots to the veggie containers. For fruit I prepped strawberries, apples, red grapes, clementines, and plums. I added baby carrots, cut celery, and mini cucumbers as well for lunches.

This week I prepped a large container of spaghetti, a large container of macaroni & cheese with turkey dogs cut up, a large container of taco meat, a large container of Alfredo pasta, a large container of tossed salad, 24 mini egg quiche muffins, and 24 mini pancake muffins. The kids eat these as snacks, for lunches, and on leftover/clean out the fridge nights.



Lunch Prep: Kids Lunch Favorites

I’ve shared How I Stock the Pantry and How I Stock the Lunch Fridge and How I Pack Lunches previously. Today I’m going to share some of my kids’ favorite lunch items with you. Last year I found myself in such a rut with lunch packing. My kids were taking sandwiches or a mix matched assortment of whatever was in the fridge. Nobody was happy, especially since none of them actually like sandwiches in any form. They were coming home hungry and cranky. Very cranky. 

I try to stock a variety of lunch items so there’s something for everyone. We’re lucky that none of our kids have any food allergies or sensitivities but they do have some specific preferences that I accommodate within reason. Such as no sandwiches! I always find it helpful when parents share the items their kids like to pack for lunches because it gives me some new ideas to try that I may not have thought of yet. 

Main dish items:

Pasta salad, macaroni & cheese with hot dogs, Alfredo pasta, Chicken parmesan pasta, spaghetti, eggs & fried rice, white cheddar shells, chicken nuggets, quesadillas, cheese pizza, chicken sandwich, lunchables, P3 packs

Proteins:

Hard-boiled eggs, Tuna salad, chicken salad, Taco meat, Big Mac Burger meat, hard salami sticks, pepperoni slices, snack size crab sticks

Dairy:

Laughing Cow Cheese, String cheese, yogurt, smoothies, cream cheese & bagel chips, cottage cheese

Fruits:

Apple sauce, Apple Slices, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Honey dew, Cherries, Clementines, peaches, plums, yogurt covered raisins or cranberries, grapes, watermelon, pineapple

Veggies:

Baby carrots, sliced peppers, broccoli, celery sticks, cucumber slices, pickles, snap peas

Dips & Spreads:

Hummus, cream cheese, peanut butter, caramel sauce, nutella, ranch dip, cheese dip

Snacks/Carbs:

Bagel chips, cereal bars, crackers, english muffin, goldfish, granola bar, mini bagels, muffins, naan bread dippers, pita chips, popcorn, pretzels, rice cakes, tortilla chips, veggie straws, green pea crisps, 

Treats:

cookies, fruit snacks, pudding, trail mix, brownies

I wanted to give an idea of what a typical lunch looks like for my three kids. These are the lunches they packed each day last week. They all have afterschool activities so they typically pack enough to have a snack in the afternoon. 

Monday-

9th Grade Daughter: Cranberry Chicken Salad & Naan bread dippers, chocolate hummus & strawberries, yogurt, green pea crisps, granola bar

6th Grade Son: Spaghetti, apple slices w/ Peanut butter, string cheese, yogurt, Belvita Breakfast bites, Goldfish

3rd Grade Daughter: Chicken Parmesan pasta, grapes, yogurt, mini muffins

Tuesday-

9th Grade Daughter: Roasted red pepper hummus & wheat thins, apple slices, veggie straws, Nature Valley Almond Biscuit, yogurt

6th Grade Son: Chicken Parmesan pasta, grapes, fruit snack, Goldfish, yogurt, chocolate chip cookie pack

3rd Grade Daughter: Snack size crab sticks, apple slices & caramel sauce,  Laughing cow cheese & Melba toast, Pirates Booty, fruit snack

Wednesday-

9th Grade Daughter: Garden vegetable cream cheese & bagel chips, clementine, rice cakes, Trail mix, Peanut butter filled pretzels

6th Grade Son: Chicken Sandwich, strawberries, yogurt, string cheese, fruit snack, Pirates Booty

3rd Grade Daughter: Chicken Sandwich, clementine, yogurt, string cheese, fruit snack

Thursday-

9th Grade Daughter: Taco meat & tortilla chips, grapes, pickles, Belvita Breakfast bites, granola bar

6th Grade Son: Tuna salad & club crackers, clementine, yogurt, string cheese, Green pea crisps, Belvita breakfast bites

3rd Grade Daughter: Alfredo pasta, strawberries, yogurt, Belvita breakfast bites, granola bar

Friday-

9th Grade Daughter: Laughing cow cheese & celery sticks w/ Everything bagel seasoning, applesauce, Nature Valley Snack Mix, Fiber one bar, cashew pack

6th Grade Son: Cheese pizza, baby carrots & ranch dressing, yogurt, goldfish, chocolate chip cookie pack, fruit snack

3rd Grade Daughter: Cheese pizza, cucumber slices & ranch dressing, yogurt, fruit snack, veggie straws

You can find all the posts in my Meal Planning & Prep and Lunch Planning & Prep series HERE



Meal Prep Monday {10.28.19}

 Each Monday I share a weekly menu plan and what I’m prepping for the week. I plan 4 dinners a week, we have 2 leftover/Fridge clean out nights, and we make Take ‘n Bake pizzas on Saturday nights. My kids take lunch to school 5 days a week. You can read more about my meal planning and prep HERE. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who needs some dinner or lunch inspiration and don’t forget to pin on Pinterest for later! 

Dinner #1:

Baked Margherita Chicken, Jasmine Rice, Roasted Carrots

Dinner #2:

Crockpot Honey Butter Pork Loin, Seasoned Roasted Potatoes, Roasted Green Beans

Dinner #3:

Cajun Garlic Baked Salmon, Yellow Rice, Mexican Roasted Broccoli

Dinner #4:

Sheet Pan Garlic Parmesan Sausage & Vegetables

 

Each week I prep all the produce and fruits ahead of time for the week. I also stock the lunch prep fridge and pantry for the kids’ lunches. I have specific containers that I use for food prep that are designed to maximize the life of the produce which helps when I only shop once a week. You can read more about my process and see pictures of my fridges HERE

This week for the meal produce I transferred the fresh green beans, broccoli, bell peppers, and carrots to the veggie containers. For fruit I prepped strawberries, red and green apples, clementines, and pears. I added baby carrots, cut celery, and mini cucumbers as well for lunches.

This week I prepped a large container of spaghetti, a large container of macaroni & cheese with turkey dogs cut up, a large container of taco meat, a large container of Ranch pasta salad, a large container of white cheddar shells, a large container of sweet & sour meatballs, and 24 mini pancake muffins. The kids eat these as snacks, for lunches, and on leftover/clean out the fridge nights.



Oven Baked Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

One of the kids’ favorite dinners is Grilled Tilapia but we don’t always have time to grill on weeknights. I’ve been trying out various new Tilapia recipes this summer and we’ve found quite a few that are just as delicious as the Grilled Tilapia. I think this recipe is probably one of the top favorites- it’s full of flavor and just melts in your mouth. 

Ingredients:
2 pounds Tilapia
2 Cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Dried Parsley
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions:
1. Pat dry thawed Tilapia fillets.
2. Mix Parmesan, Paprika, Parsley, Salt and Pepper in small bowl.
3. Brush Tilapia with oil on both sides and dredge in Parmesan mixture, patting to coat.
4. Lay on foil lined sprayed baking sheet.
5. Top with remaining Parmesan mixture.
6. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes.

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds Tilapia
  2. 2 Cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  3. 1 Tbsp Paprika
  4. 1 Tbsp Dried Parsley
  5. 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Pat dry thawed Tilapia fillets.
  2. Mix Parmesan, Paprika, Parsley, Salt and Pepper in small bowl.
  3. Brush Tilapia with oil on both sides and dredge in Parmesan mixture, patting to coat.
  4. Lay on foil lined sprayed baking sheet.
  5. Top with remaining Parmesan mixture.
  6. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes.
Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama http://semidomesticatedmama.com/



Lunch Prep: How I Pack Lunches

I’ve already shared How I Stock the Pantry and How I Stock the Lunch Fridge and today I’m going to share how I pack school lunches. Although to be honest, that title is misleading. I don’t pack lunches, my kids do. My kids are in 3rd, 6th, and 9th grades. This is the first year that I have required them to pack their own lunches. Last year I packed lunch for everyone and things were getting wasted. So this year I changed it up. 

Every afternoon the kids come from school and unpack their lunch box immediately. Ice packs go back into the freezer, containers go into the dishwasher, and water bottles get re-filled immediately and stored in the lunch prep fridge. The kids choose their items for the next day from the pantry and I do have rules about what they can choose. For example- if you’re taking chips then you cannot also take cookies, you need to pick a granola bar, cashews, etc. So basically they may not just pack junk food. I do always check and I’ve removed or replaced items several times. I always help if the youngest needs me to pour goldfish into a bag or something like that but other than that they are in charge of their lunch. 

Once they’ve packed the pantry items they head to the lunch prep fridge and choose their cold items. Typically they choose a yogurt, a cheese stick, and then decide on a fruit. My 9th grade daughter tends to pack a lot more fridge items such as chicken salad, hummus, pickles, etc. I have a bin in the fridge for them to put their cold items in so I can just grab it in the morning. I do make sure they pack either a fruit or a vegetable every day. 

For their main lunch item I give them quite a few choices. I normally have P3 packs, organic lunchables, snack size crab sticks, chicken salad, hard salami sticks, and cream cheese packs in the lunch prep fridge. As part of my Sunday prep I usually have several kinds of pasta dishes including macaroni & cheese, white cheddar shells, Alfredo pasta, spaghetti, or chicken parmesan pasta. My kids love hamburger helper and I hate it so some weeks I will make up a box of it for them to take as lunches. Then I don’t have to eat it! I also have a couple of pounds of Taco meat or Big Mac burger meat made up in the fridge as well as scrambled eggs and fried rice. I try to vary what I make each week so they don’t get bored. Chicken Fried Rice, Teriyaki chicken, and orange chicken are always a big hit for lunches. I keep a bag of chicken patties in the freezer and if they want to take a chicken, bacon, and cheese sandwich for lunch I make the chicken in the air fryer the night before and the kids can heat it up in their classroom microwave. If they want to take any of the Sunday prep items then I use their thermos to keep it hot. I pre-portion the amount out the night before and then I just have to prime the thermos, heat the food, and pour it in the next morning. 

I assemble lunches the next morning while the kids are getting ready for school. I fill thermoses, pack fridge items, and line up lunch boxes with water bottles on the counter for them to grab on their way out. It’s a good system that works for us. The kids are in control of how much and what they take for lunch and it’s teaching them responsibility. 

Some Notes:

  • We have a shelf dedicated to lunch boxes. After the kids pack their non-perishable items they put the lunch box back on the shelf so I know that they’re done. If I see a lunch box on the counter after dinner then I know that particular child has yet to pack their lunch.
  • If a child does not pack their lunch then they get whatever mom throws in there the next morning. And I’m not a morning person so it’s probably not going to be what they like. 
  • My kids take lunches 5 days a week. Our charter school has a hot lunch program but I’m not paying $5-7 per child per day for hot lunch. Sorry not sorry.
  • I try to use reusable containers but we also do use plastic ziplock bags and plastic utensils. I know it’s not environmentally perfect but this is what works for my family right now.

You can find all the posts in my Meal Planning & Prep and Lunch Planning & Prep series HERE