Make ahead meals are a such a gift. I know our household would go hungry without them. We have such a busy schedule during the school year. It’s nice to have meals I can just pull out of the freezer and pop into the oven or crockpot. I try to keep our summer schedule pretty light because when it comes down to it, I only get a few weeks off during the summer. My children may not be doing school work, but I’m spending my summer sneaking around with creative ways to review what they learned so they don’t forget. I’m researching curriculum, trying to find the best deals for the upcoming school year. I’m catching up on all of the tasks that fell by the wayside during the school year. We do find time to take a trip somewhere over the summer. And, I do like to spend quality time with my children, and have at least one afternoon over the summer to pamper myself before we resume the hectic school year. Preparing ahead of time helps me manage my time wisely and stay as organized as possible.
I have a precious friend who joined me on this Trim Healthy Mama journey. I have gotten together with her periodically to cook make-ahead meals together. It’s a wonderful idea you’ll want to try! Not only do we get to cook ahead to create some freedom from our hectic schedules, but we also get to share ideas, cooking tips and tricks, help each other, serve our families, and spend some quality time sharing tears and laughter about our journeys with all of the crowns we wear (daughters of the King, wifehood, motherhood, homeschooling, etc.) as women in this journey.
Here’s a list of the recipes from Trim Healthy Mama that we have made ahead and frozen so far this year:
Light White Muffins (lemon poppy seed version)
Skinny Chocolate (3 different variations)
For the cheeseburger pie and pizza casserole meals, eggplant lasagna, we simply made sure the meat or eggplant was cooked, layered the ingredients into the pans, covered them and stored them in the freezer. To cook them on the day we were eating them, I simply thawed them if able and then baked them according to instructions. If I forgot to thaw, I just increased the baking time. I prepared the meatloaf and froze it raw. For the muffins and chocolate we made the entire recipes and froze them.
You could make many of the THM meals ahead, for example:
Trim Healthy Pancakes
All Day Lentil Soup p 311
Basic Cheesecake p 373
Blueberry Coconut Muffins p 259
Cake in a Mug p 379
Crockpot Meals S & E p 313-315 — Put the raw ingredients in freezer bags and freeze until that day and then just take them out and put them in the crockpot.
Soup recipes on p 334
Meatloaf recipes on p 316-318
Macafoni and Cheese p 359
Pot Roast p 310
Comfort soups p 292
Thailand soups and stews p 290 & 332
You can also put together dry ingredient in baggies for the different smoothie, muffin, and bread recipes. Label the bags with the names of the recipe and directions for adding wet ingredients and cooking. I haven’t actually used these packets at home, but they would save time when you’re in a hurry to make something and get out the door. I take them with me when we go camping. If you have access to electricity and refrigeration, you can easily take packets of dry smoothie mix and your blender on vacation. Simply dump in the dry ingredient packet, add the wet ingredients into the blender and mix. I also took dry mix packets for Muffin in a Mug, Bread in a Mug, and Trim Healthy Pancakes. I just added the wet ingredients and cooked as directed.
Now I have absolutely no excuse to cheat or get off track when life is hectic or I’m on a trip. I can maintain my healthy lifestyle, enjoy my favorite foods, and I don’t have to risk feeling sick at the most inopportune moment because I’ve eaten MSG, sugar, or other processed foods.
Trim Healthy Mama is much easier when you spend just a little bit of time preparing ahead of time. You can do this!