The weekends can be pretty busy around our place. Between running errands, soccer practice, church, and spending time together, that sometimes the relaxing part of the weekend doesn’t ever come. This weekend was no different, especially since we had to add in several hours of Super Bowl watching to the mix.
When I was a kid, I remember when my aunt would prepare meals for the week on Sunday, giving her a head start on the week ahead of feeding her family. I never really thought about it much back then, but here I am 40 years later, trying to feed a family of six, juggle work and a host of kids’ activities, and I’m thinking, she was definitely on to something.
It is a great idea in concept, but could I really make it happen?
Well, yesterday I gave it a try. My own little Super Bowl, played out in my kitchen.
Tired of running behind, worrying about what the next snack or meal will be, (and, when to prep for them), I thought I would get a head start on the week.
During the first half of the game, I took a look into my cupboards, perused my recipes, and wondered what I might have on hand for snacks in the coming week. Typically, the snack for the kids at school is a granola bar, muffin or scone, and on occasion, crackers. In the past, those daily decisions have been left for early morning, after I’ve answered a few emails. I then wander into the kitchen in the early morning hours to whip up some muffins or scones to pack as snacks in the kids’ lunches. Honestly, it doesn’t take too long to make the muffins in the morning, but it would be nice to not have to do it then. If I had them ready to go – perhaps in the freezer – all I would have to do was pull them out and wrap them for lunches.
By halftime, as I listened to Beyonce, I planned out my week – school snacks and afterschool snacks, meals and those extra treats. I came up with the following list of things I would have on hand, and wrote it down and hung it on the fridge door:
Muffins, date bars, granola bars, homemade granola, stir fried rice, salami, cheese and crackers, and nuts.
As I did this, I could already feel a calm come over me. The realization that, if I had these things on hand, and knew what I would be serving, that I could overcome my biggest stress-inducing moments of the week.
The blackout bought me a little bit of time, so I got preparing in the kitchen. In addition to a delicious Stir-Fried Five Spice Pork and Lettuce Cups dinner (seen above), I made a batch of date bars, blueberry muffins, a double batch of breakfast/snacking granola, and granola bars. Meanwhile, Greg was busy making his weekly loaves of bread for the family.
By the time the lights went back on, and the 49ers made a valliant effort to come back from behind, I was already ahead of my game. Dinner was made, date bars were in the oven, and muffins were cooling on the rack.
I then took a quick look at my dinner plans for the week, and wondered if there was some vegetable prep I could get done ahead of time. I pulled out the carrots, peeled and chopped them, then did the same with the broccoli. I then pulled the ground meat out of the fridge, and made the meatballs slated for Tuesday’s dinner.
By the time the 49ers were a few yards away from the goal, in their final drive of the game, I could feel the stress creep into my shoulders – but alas, it wasn’t the stress of what’s for dinner/snacks, it was the stress of the game, hoping they could push across that goal line for a victory.
In the end, I came out with the victory. My snacks and meals are pretty much prepped for the full week. A few minutes – or an hour- up front, makes for much smoother meal-time prep in the heat of the moment.
It’s Monday morning, and it appears my Super Bowl in the Kitchen has worked. My mind is on work, and not what I’m going to have for snack when I pick the kids up this afternoon. It’s a good feeling – I just hope that I can continue again next week with my Super Bowl Sunday Prep.
Here are a few ideas for starting your own Sunday Prep:
- Bake a double batch of muffins and put them in the freezer.
- Granola bars for healthy snacking all week long.
- Whenever possible, prep vegetables for dinners throughout the week.
- Create your own snack mix using staples you have in your pantry: Nuts, small crackers, pretzels, chocolate chips, dried fruits . .
- Make – or buy – hummus for dipping tortillas, veggies, or crackers