Just because we are picky and love the best doesn't mean that our team here spends hours over a stove, oven or barbecue. We believe that meals can be simple, quick and restaurant quality without all the work. That's why we offer our Kobe-Crafted, Grass Fed and Angus products, conveniently packaged and available in your grocer's case in the form of ground beef, fresh burgers, frozen burgers and even sliders.
But you can't have burgers every night (however if you do, no judgement here...you've now become our favorite customer). So, coming up with a way to mix up your dinner routine without a lot of extra effort is at the top of many of our customers' lists. We see you...out there on Pinterest, pinning ideas for meal planning and meal prep, and we get it! In fact we are meal planners ourselves. So, to help you along with this process, here are a few realistic tips we've developed for meat-loving meal preppers. Hey, we're not superman either. We like the short cuts and easy way to do things when they don't compromise taste.
Real-World Tips for Meal Planning & Meal Prep
Compile a List of Recipes.
Enlist your best effort deciding ahead of time the meals you would like to make and sketch out a list. We find the best way to do this is to compile a working list of meals you like to cook or would like try and write them down or create a Pinterest board. Make sure to include recipes with a variety of meats, vegetables and sides so you have plenty to choose from.
When selecting recipes, consider one dish wonders. Casseroles, foil meals and crock-pot recipes are a great way to get your meats and veggies in one simple dish. They also require little prep, attendance, and clean up afterwards.
Check Out What's On Sale and In-Season.
Now that you have a list of recipes you would like to cook, take a look at your favorite grocer's ad to see what's on sale and in-season. From there, you can get a good idea of what makes the most sense to cook that week. For example, if pork chops are on sale, pull out that Mustard Dill Pork Chop Recipe, and if Steakhouse Elite is on sale (lucky you!), you can opt to try one of our many recommended beef recipes. Same goes for fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods.
By thinking ahead of time what you want to serve for the week, you can eliminate last-minute runs to the grocery store, saving you time and money. Those who meal plan well not only save by cooking around what’s fresh, on-sale, and in-season, but they also find ways to re-use pieces of their meal throughout the week. For example, a roast can be eaten one night, and then used to make shredded beef tacos the next; or spaghetti and meatballs becomes pizza sauce and toppings the next. Another way to do this is to try to target recipes that have similar ingredients to maximize your budget, like tacos, a southwest chicken salad and a ground beef pizza.
Make Your List.
The most time-consuming, and probably least favorite part of meal planning is making the list. We suggest doing this chore when you can squeeze in a free 15 to 30 minutes. Many of our people are seen pulling their lists together during baseball practice, on lunch break or while waiting in line at the DMV or post office. Efficiency is key!
You can opt to make a list on paper, digitally, or directly on your grocer's website. Often, these lists and orders can be saved so you can simply re-use the same list or order when you choose that same meal plan another week.
Find Ways to Cut Corners.
With the development of online ordering, store delivery and in-store pickup, the process of grocery shopping has become a lot easier! We have found that ordering online, though it initially takes about 20-30 minutes, is much less time-consuming than driving to the store, meandering through the aisles, checking out and loading up the car--all of which can take upwards of one to two hours. There's also an added bonus of only buying what you need and nothing more, which saves money and waste!
Make Your Food Prep Painless.
There are a few ways you can really cut down on the time spent prepping in the kitchen. Some of these include:
Rethink Your Idea of Balanced.
We spend a lot of extra time preparing unnecessary extras for our dinners. Next time you are pinched for time, take a moment to really evaluate each ingredient for taste and nutrition. For example, do you really need to add croutons to the salad? Or dinner rolls? Or even rice or pasta side dishes? You can simplify your meals by creating beef and vegetable combinations and skimp on the starches. This will save you time, and your family may not even notice the difference.
Make You Cooking Day Fun.
Pick one day out of the week to prepare the majority of your meals ahead of time and make an event out of it. Put on some music, invite a friend over to prep with you and maybe even cork a bottle of champagne and cook with mimosas-infused enthusiasm. Let the cooking begin, start dicing, prepping, stirring and storing. Put all ingredients for your crock-pot meal in a baggie, or prepare and refrigerate a lasagna or casserole so all you have to do is reheat and serve on a busy night.
Clean Up Time.
After meal prepping there's always a mess in the kitchen. The good news is, if done right, it is one mess, one time a week! There's nothing else to clean up for the rest of the week because your meals are grab-and-cook with very little--or no--dishes to scrub, counters to clean or messes to sweep up!