Make 3 meals in about an hour!
Start meal planning with this simple beginners’ plan.
This quick and easy weekend meal prep will help you make an American-style hamburger meal, a Mexican-style taco meal, and an Asian-style stir-fry meal. These are inexpensive, easy to make, and full of variety! What about the other two nights of the week? One can be soup night with tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Another night could be rotisserie chicken, bagged salad, and artisan bread. There you have it! Five quick, delicious, hot, week-night meals are planned and ready to go. Meal planning really can be simple. Check out this cheat sheet!
Just try one week of meal planning.
Trying to do too much, too soon, makes meal prep overly complicated. Some get frustrated and quit using blog posts and Pinterest pins showing “Prepare 40 Freezer Meals in 2 Hours” as their title. Start simply and do a few meals at a time. If you’ve never done meal prep, try this easy plan first.
Buy these foods and prep them on the weekend.
– family pack (5-6lbs) ground beef
– quick or old-fashioned oats (optional –as an extender for beef)
– 1 package taco seasoning mix (optional–you can also use your own blend)
– 3 medium onions
– 2 green bell peppers
– 1 large bunch broccoli
– 1 bag jasmine rice
– 1 head of cabbage
– baking potatoes, instant mashed potatoes, or frozen fries and buns for hamburger night
– taco shells and condiments for taco night (salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc.)
Split ground beef into 3 equal sections. Finely mince two onions, and coarsely chop the other. (Keep the 3 chopped onions separate.) Wash and dry the vegetables. Chop the head of cabbage, broccoli, and green peppers.
Meal 1: Hamburgers
Take a section of beef and mix with a half-cup (or more) of cooked rice or raw oats (as an extender), 1 finely chopped onion, garlic powder, and one egg, scrambled with a fork before mixing in. Squish it all together, then patty out hamburger steaks–one for each member of the family. You don’t have to add the ingredients to extend the ground beef, but you will be amazed at how much more you can get out of it if you do. Extra burgers can be used for lunch to take to work. Place the uncooked patties in a gallon zipper bag, side by side (not stacked), remove as much air as possible, and freeze for later in the week.
Place frozen burgers in the refrigerator the night before you plan to use them so they will thaw.
On hamburger night, you can grill or pan fry the burgers and serve them “steak”-style with baked potato and salad, hamburger-style with fries and dipping veggies, or hamburger steak-style with gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Versatile and delicious, this meal really satisfies!
Meal 2: Beef Tacos
The next section of ground beef will be used to make tacos. Brown the ground beef in a pan with a finely chopped onion. Drain and allow to cool. Store in zipper bag or sealable dish in the fridge or freezer.
If you freeze the taco meat, remember to place it in the refrigerator the night before to thaw.
On taco night, use a package of taco seasoning or just add chili powder, cumin, and a little garlic powder and about 3/4 cup of water, and heat the beef in a saute pan. Provide your favorite heated taco shells (or soft tortillas), lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, and cheese. We serve ours from the kitchen counter–taco bar-style.
Meal 3: Beef Stir Fry
Cook the last section of ground beef with coarsely chopped onion, garlic, a little powdered ginger, and soy sauce. Drain, allow to cool, and place in a zipper bag or sealable dish. Pack the chopped cabbage, onion, peppers, broccoli, carrots–any veggies you like–in a zipper bag and freeze.
If you freeze the beef, you’ll want to thaw it in the fridge the night before. You don’t have to thaw veggies before cooking; they can go directly from freezer to saute pan.
On stir fry night, put 2 cups rinsed rice into your rice cooker, fill with water to the 4-cup line, add oil and salt, stir, and start the rice cooker (or cook the rice in a pot). Saute chopped cabbage with chunks of onions, peppers, broccoli, and other veggies (optional) in a bit of olive or coconut oil and soy sauce. When vegetables are soft, add beef to the stir fry to heat (stir and put the lid on for about 5 more minutes). Dish up freshly cooked brown or white rice, and cover with delicious stir fry.
Tah-dah! Dinner is served in around 30 minutes each night – usually with only one pan to clean!
Now, need more ideas? I have a frugal living book on the way filled with meal planning suggestions, and it will be available here on the blog! If you’d like to be notified, send me an email! I’ll put you on a notification list.