Planning Precooked Meals & Easy Menus For Others

Planning Precooked Meals and Easy Menus for Others | RaisingArrows.net

Last weekend, Ty and I and Creed attended a homeschool conference and left the other children in the care of Ty’s mom.  We were gone 2 nights and 2 days, and I wanted to make it as easy on Grammy as possible.

Now I need to disclose something here.  Being this organized for others is pretty new to me.  I struggle terribly when it comes to planning ahead, but I was recently inspired by another mom of many who planned and prepared a whole week’s worth of menus, of which I reaped the benefits.  I considered the plan she put in place and realized it wasn’t as difficult as I believed it to be.  So, this past weekend, I decided to try my hand at it, and boy, was my mother-in-law appreciative!

Today, I’m sharing this success with you which will hopefully give you the confidence and encouragement you need to successfully plan meals for others

Consider How Many People You Will Be Feeding

Since we only took 1 child who doesn’t eat big people food anyway and replaced ourselves with another adult, I could make the same amount of food I usually make and be fine.  But, had I been taking more children with me or had more people been eating, I would need to adjust accordingly.

Brainstorm Simple Meals

Don’t try something new or extravagant.  You are not trying to impress others with your culinary skills.  You are doing this to feed them and make things easier for them.  Think about simple meals that can be easily thrown together from the components you provide.  Also, consider what the people you are cooking for like and any food allergies they might have.

Here are the meals I chose:

Breakfast:
Cereal
Pancakes (from Homemade Pancake Mix)

Lunch:
Sandwiches (meat & cheese, pb&j)
Pizza (frozen)

Dinner:
Spaghetti (the meat was precooked and the spaghetti sauce was store-bought), Frozen corn, French Bread
Bierocks (made ahead of time and frozen), Frozen peas

You can also plan snacks, which is something I didn’t do because I knew Grammy would bring plenty of that kind of thing.  Cookies are a really simple snack/dessert that freeze and keep well.

Some other simple meal ideas are:
Breakfast:
Peanut butter/Banana toast (these are easy to put together with ingredients that keep well)
Baked oatmeal (put together, but don’t bake, and leave in refrigerator)
Breakfast Casserole (most of these can be frozen)

Lunch:
Taco salad (shred your lettuce and have the meat and beans precooked and mixed)
Quesadillas (these freeze well, but are also easy for even young children to make)
Sloppy Joes (have the meat precooked and seasoned, freezes well)

Dinner:
Crockpot Hamburgers (idea taken from Tricia at Hodgepodge)
Soup (easily frozen!)
Chili (again, easily frozen)
Lasagna (yep, easily frozen)

Grocery Shop Based on Menu

As I plan my menu, I take note of what I already have on hand and what I need to buy.  I make my list and head to the store.

Prepare Anything You Can Make Ahead

I baked several loaves of bread and fried up all the meat needed for the meals and froze in individual ziplock bags.  I made the bierocks and froze them, and put together the baking mix.  Anything you can do ahead of time and combine to make prep easier, do it!

Create and Label

I wrote out a menu for each day and wrote next to the meals where the components could be found.  So, for the spaghetti, I wrote:
Thursday -
Dinner:  Spaghetti & sauce (pantry), Frozen corn (freezer 1), French bread (fridge 2)

We have 2 refrigerators and 3 freezers, so I wanted to take the guesswork out of where I had stashed everything.  Also, remember to label all food with baking, cooking, and/or assembling instructions.

Explain Your Menu to Caretaker

If possible, explain either in person or on paper the system behind your menu.  Give them any extra instructions they need to know and put it in the simplest terms.

Planning and preparing meals like this works for a variety of situations.  It really is a simple way to bless those who are taking care of others and could use a break!

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7 thoughts on “Planning Precooked Meals & Easy Menus For Others

  1. What a wonderful gift to your mother-in-law!
    I remember doing something similar when expecting a baby. Even though I was home, I was otherwise occupied, and it made things easy for my mom, or hubbie, or teen daughters to get the meals on without me needing to be involved.
    Love the way you spelled it all out for us!

  2. Very nice round-up and so true… mom being away is definately not the time to experiment with culinary or “healthy” meals… otherwise the kids may turn up their noses and their care-taker will take it personal… not to mention the younger ones having a melt-down after being denied sweets/treats instead of regular lunch.

  3. YES! I agree that this would be a great idea for those who will soon be having a new baby! Now I have five weeks to find someone to make this planning of meals happen for me. Ha! Just kidding. I do think I wil work on this though, as that should make the transition of adding a new sibling much easier. Thanks for the great ideas!