Welcome to How I Eat: Meal Planning for Normal People. (If you missed it, click over to read more about this series on The Pajama Chef.) This series is meant to inspire readers (and myself!) with tips and tricks for meal planning and getting dinner on the table. Whether you’re cooking for one or a crowd, I firmly believe that good food shouldn’t be sacrificed just because life is busy.
Today’s feature on How I Eat is Polly, one of the lovely ladies who runs Thriving Home. She does a little of everything including: photography, baking, repurposing furniture, sewing, deal-hunting, gardening, and bird watching (yes, bird watching). She regularly feeds crowds of hungry college students at her house and keeps her children (6, 4, and 1) busy outdoors. She’s a go-getter who isn’t afraid of a challenge. I think you’re going to love her tips on meal planning using freezer cooking!
Tell us about yourself. Who are you cooking for? What else influences how you get meals on the table?
I cook for a family of 5. Kids are all under 6 years old. My priorities in the recipes I choose are: whole foods, easy, and tasty! Bonus points if they are freezer friendly.
What meals do you plan?
In a typical week, approximately how many meals per week do you plan to eat at home or prepare to take with you (e.g., to work or school)? No shame… curious minds want to know! For this, I would include any food purchased at the grocery store (e.g., rotisserie chicken, bagged salad mix, etc.) but not takeout.
- 19-20: I eat out once or twice a week.
What is your basic meal planning method?
On Friday or Saturday, I look at the week ahead to see what nights we are home. I then look in my freezer to see what I have to build around. From there I use my cookbook, From Freezer to Table, and Pinterest to build my menu plan.
What are your favorite weeknight meals?
Anything from From Freezer to Table!
What are your “no-brainer” meals? Or what meals do you make when there’s “nothing” to eat?
Pasta with marinara. Grilled cheese. Pancakes. Peanut butter & Jelly. Mac and cheese. Quesadillas.
Do you use any tools to help you create your meal plan and/or execute it?
- Meal planning whiteboard or chalkboard
- Freezer or batch cooking
I have made freezer cooking part of my lifestyle. I almost always double a meal each week and freeze it (before cooking).
What is your best advice for someone who is just starting to meal plan?
Take small steps. Don’t try to completely overhaul your norm or it won’t last. Simply try to plan a few meals a week at first. Double one meal a week and start reaping the benefits of freezer cooking. You’ll be hooked!
Thank you, Polly! Freezer cooking is such a game changer. I did a bunch before my son was born and it truly has become a habit! I love your tip to double one meal per week… starting small with these things is the way to go! Your cookbook is a great resource.