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Meal Prep Monday {10.14.19}

 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:

Pizza Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Brown Sugar Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli

Dinner #2:

Chili Rub Pork Loin, Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes, Everything Asparagus

Dinner #3:

Baked Teriyaki Salmon, Jasmine Rice, Roasted Cauliflower

Dinner #4:

Easy StoveTop Meatloaf, Buttery Garlic Potatoes, Roasted Okra

 

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, asparagus, cauliflower and okra to the veggie containers. For fruit I prepped strawberries, red and green 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 Greek pasta salad, a large container of alfredo shells, 24 meatball sub cups, and 24 mini pancake muffins. The kids eat these as snacks, for lunches, and on leftover/clean out the fridge nights.



Deliciously Easy Meatless Cheesy Lasagna Roll-Ups

We are a family of pasta lovers! And I really try to sneak in a few meatless dinners every month. They usually happen to be pasta because my family tends to not notice the missing meat if they’re dining on cheesy pasta deliciousness. They’re a pack of carnivores, y’all. I have to be sneaky. This recipe is a family favorite. It’s so easy! Most of the time I assemble it in the morning when I have a little free time and then it’s ready to pop in the oven in the evening when life is much more chaotic and busy. 

Ingredients:
12 Lasagna noodles
15oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Italian cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
24oz jar spaghetti sauce

Directions:
1. Spread layer of sauce in bottom of 13×9 baking dish to coat.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions.
3. In bowl, beat egg then add ricotta and seasonings; mix well.
4. Stir in 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 2/3 cup Italian cheese, and 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese.
5. Lay cooked noodles out flat.
6. Evenly spread thin layer of cheese mixture down center of each noodle.
7. Spread a spoonful of sauce over top.
8. Roll each noodle up and place in prepared baking dish.
9. Top with remaining sauce and cheeses.
10. Loosely tent with foil.
11. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Meatless Cheesy Lasagna Roll-ups
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Ingredients
  1. 12 Lasagna noodles
  2. 15oz ricotta cheese
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  5. 1 cup shredded Italian cheese
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  9. 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  10. 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  11. 24oz jar spaghetti sauce
Instructions
  1. Spread layer of sauce in bottom of 13x9 baking dish to coat.
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  3. In bowl, beat egg then add ricotta and seasonings; mix well.
  4. Stir in 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 2/3 cup Italian cheese, and 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese.
  5. Lay cooked noodles out flat.
  6. Evenly spread thin layer of cheese mixture down center of each noodle.
  7. Spread a spoonful of sauce over top.
  8. Roll each noodle up and place in prepared baking dish.
  9. Top with remaining sauce and cheeses.
  10. Loosely tent with foil.
  11. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama http://semidomesticatedmama.com/



Lunch Prep: How I Stock The Fridge

Last week I shared how I stock my pantry so today I wanted to share how I stock the lunch prep fridge. We’re lucky enough to have 2 extra fridges in our garage. Large family = Extra fridge space. I have one fridge dedicated solely to lunch prep to help make it easier for the kids to pack their own lunches every day. We’re over a month into school and the system is working! So today I’m going to give you a peek inside my lunch prep fridge and share how I keep it stocked. 

This is my garage lunch prep fridge. It’s nothing fancy- just a basic $450 fridge that we got for $200 in the scratch and dent section and it works for what I need. It used to be a drink fridge but this year I decided it needed to be more functional for our family. The lunch prep fridge was born! I bought the colorful baskets at The Dollar Store and they are perfect for what I need. This fridge holds everything cold that the kids need to pack lunches every day. I took the kids with me to the grocery stores the first time and together we chose items that they wanted to pack for lunches this year. I tend to keep it stocked with the same stuff but every once in awhile I add something new for a change. I bought 6 of the shallow bins and 2 of the deep buckets to keep the fridge organized. Let’s face it- none of my kids are willing to sort through big full buckets or unorganized shelves to find stuff for lunch. They’d just pick the very first stuff they saw and everything else would go bad. Kids. 

I use the bottom 2 drawers for drinks. Zoey likes the Honest Co juice boxes and Mason likes the Country Time lemonades. They always take a full water bottle to drink during the day and the juice boxes/lemonade are for lunch time only. They don’t take these every day, maybe twice a week. The rest of the days they just drink their water. I keep water bottles on the bottom 2 shelves for them as well. 

The blue bin on the first shelf is for yogurt. My kids love the YoCrunch yogurts. I buy them in the smaller sizes and I typically buy 3 packs a week (M&M, Oreo, and Cookie bite) plus a few of the Twix larger ones. I know they’re not the healthiest but it’s a nice little treat for them and at least their eating yogurt! The red basket is where they put their chosen lunch items for the next day. My biggest rule for lunch packing is that it must be done the day before. I do not have time to poke and prod kids to pack lunches in the mornings. 

On the middle shelf I have a basket for lunchables and P3 packs. I only buy a couple of these per week because they’re not my first choice for lunches but the kids love them. I buy the lunchables at ALDI because they have the organic ones and all the kids like the P3 packs from Walmart. In the middle basket I keep hummus and naan bread dippers- these are for Maliah. She loves the chocolate hummus for fruit and the roasted red pepper hummus for the naan bread. She also uses the naan bread dippers for her chicken salad which is kept in the next basket. 

I alternate buying her regular chicken salad and cranberry pecan chicken salad and I buy them wherever they are cheapest that week (mostly at ALDI). I also keep several of the Philadelphia cream cheese packs on hand for them. They love those! There are several flavors- strawberry with bagel chips, chocolate with pretzels, and garden vegetable with bagel chips. And Zoey is a huge fan of the little packs of crab sticks! They’re the perfect size for lunches.

On the top shelf I keep lunch snacks. In one basket I have string cheese sticks and the Laughing Cow cheese packs. The kids love to spread those on Wheat Thin crackers or Melba Toast.  I also keep applesauce and apple slices packs with either peanut butter or caramel sauce in a basket. I know it’s much more cost effective to slice our own apples but I have 2 kids that will not eat an apple that has even a hint of brown. I bought some powder stuff to use to keep the apples fresh but some weeks I just don’t have the time or the apples are too pricey so I buy the apple packs instead. 

In the last basket I keep the packs of pickles. I alternate between these Dilly Bites and the Mt. Olive pickle paks. Maliah is the one who loves pickles but Tyler will also snag one for his work lunch occasionally. They come in both dill and sweet pickle petites varieties and they’re the perfect size for lunch. 

So that’s my lunch prep fridge! I shared some important info about how I stock the fridge on my Lunch Prep 101 post including how often I restock and how much money I budget weekly for stocking the pantry and fridge so be sure to check it out if you want those kinds of details. Next week I’m going to share how I grocery shop! You can find all the posts in my Meal Planning & Prep and Lunch Planning & Prep series HERE



Meal Prep Monday {10.7.19}

 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:

Easy Baked Pork Chops, Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges, Asian Glazed Brussel Sprouts

Dinner #2:

Bacon Cream Cheese Cheddar Chicken Breasts, Roasted Ranch Potatoes, Garlic Butter Green Beans

Dinner #3:

Spinach Stuffed Salmon, Jasmine Rice, Parmesan Roasted Carrots

Dinner #4:

Pesto Chicken Tenders, Parmesan Potato Stacks, Roasted Eggplant

 

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 brussel sprouts, green beans, carrots and eggplants to the veggie containers. For fruit I prepped strawberries, red and green apples, green grapes, 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 Big Mac Sloppy Joe meat, a large container of Ranch pasta salad, a large container of white cheddar shells, 24 baked club pinwheels, and 24 mini corndog muffins. The kids eat these as snacks, for lunches, and on leftover/clean out the fridge nights.



Lunch Prep: How I Stock The Pantry

I shared the basics about my lunch prep last week and today I want to share all about my pantry! One of my deal breakers when we were looking for a new house was the pantry. I lived for 13 years with the smallest pantry known to man and I actually had to use our large closet under the stairs for a second pantry, which meant I had to store the vacuum cleaner and steam cleaner and carpet cleaner in various places around the house. It was not ideal. So having a large walk-in pantry was very high on my wish list for a new house (along with a second floor laundry room because I do a lot of laundry). Our new house has a huge pantry that works very nicely. Today I am going to give you a tour of my pantry and share how I keep it organized and stocked!

When you first walk into my pantry these are the shelves on the left. There are 5 deep shelves that go all the way around 2 walls of the pantry which makes for a lot of great storage. As you can see, on the very top shelf I keep the containers of cereal as well as extra overflow cereal. I should also mention that my kids do not eat cereal for breakfast. They only eat it for snacks so I’m not too overly picky about what type of cereal they choose. On the second shelf I keep the canisters for bulk food. I love these canisters! I bought them in packs of 3 from Amazon for $13.75! They came with the awesome chalkboard labels and I use bought some great chalkboard pens off Amazon for around $5 for a 2-pack. I’ve been using them for months and the writing doesn’t smudge or wear off even with the kids touching the labels all the time. 

Our favorite things to fill the canisters with include Goldfish, Peanut Butter filled pretzels, Cheddar rice cakes, Harvest crisp peas, Wheat Thin crackers, yogurt covered pretzels, Veggie Sticks, Trail Mix, Cheez-its, Pretzel thins and granola. I tend to buy the same stuff most of the time because I know the kids will eat it but I do keep a few canisters to rotate out with new items. This month I bought some delicious Coconut Clusters from Costco that everyone loves. I also make homemade Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels and Salty Churro Toffee crackers once a month or so and I store them in these containers. I’ve been using these since 2017 and nothing has gone stale. I hand wash them every time they need to be refilled and they still look brand new. 

On the third shelf I keep all our open baskets for pre-packaged items. I bought the smaller baskets from Target but found a better deal on the medium short baskets and large tall baskets at Amazon! I stock these with individual packs of Trail mix, cashews, Jif power up bites, fruit snacks, granola bars, crackers, breakfast biscuits, Fiber one bars, melba toast, cookies, mini muffins, pastry crisps, breakfast bars, single serving peanut butter cups, goldfish, and Nature Valley biscuits. Again, I tend to stock the same stuff that I know the kids like but it also depends on what is on sale at Sam’s and Costco! I try to stick with healthy-ish snacks but I include treats as well. Right now we have 4 different kinds of granola bars because they were on sale and everyone likes them. 

On the fourth shelf I keep all of our pasta and bread items. We love pasta in all forms and I always have at least 2-3 ready to eat pasta dishes in the fridge for the kids to eat after school or to take for lunches. I also have a couple of baskets for the remaining snacks- mini muffins and goldfish packs. In the corner I keep all the extras and overflow. The kids know they are not allowed to touch that stuff. I will refill the containers and baskets when needed. I’ve learned through the years that if you give kids free access to the whole pantry you will find crumbs on day 3! 

On the fifth shelf I keep ingredients such as taco seasoning, ranch dressing packets, rice, pasta sauces, can goods, popcorn, ramen noodles, and overflow items. 

This is the other wall in the pantry. The very top shelf (not pictured) holds things like solo cups, paper plates, disposable silverware, etc. The next shelf holds lunch boxes, lunch containers, and frequently used medications. The third shelf holds my baking items including sugars, flours, mini marshmallows, and baking mixes as well as my potatoes. The fourth shelf holds unopened condiments, two turntables of opened condiments and baking items, cooking oil and the biggest container of Worcestershire sauce from Sam’s Club (seriously, we’ve been working on this container forever). The fifth shelf holds trash bags and paper towels, which I was almost out of when taking these pictures. 

On the back of the pantry door I have this plastic shelving unit that holds lunch items including ziplock bags, mini disposable sauce cups, and plastic utensils. I know it’s better to use re-usable silicone baggies and regular silverware, however in my house it doesn’t work. The kids threw out the silicone baggies on day 3 because they forgot. And I’ve replaced my forks and spoons four times because they never come home. For now, this is what works for us. 

I shared some important info about how I stock the pantry on my Lunch Prep 101 post including how often I restock and how much money I budget weekly for stocking the pantry so be sure to check it out if you want those kinds of details. Next week I’m going to share my lunch prep fridge and how I stock it! You can find all the posts in my Meal Planning & Prep and Lunch Planning & Prep series HERE

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