Weekly Meal Prep for the Busy Freelancer

You have a task due Friday, but your boss suddenly said he wants it on Thursday evening. Your daughter suddenly remembers they have a project due the next day. Your nanny as gone AWOL on you and your husband is on a business trip. And dinner is due in an hour. Aaaargh! You did not sign up for this! Where’s the exit!

Make ahead meals can take out a huge amount of stress from your day. I used to work 7am-2am (read: do NOT do what I did), and the final straw for me for the day is just one thing: dinner. I wanted my family to have fresh, hot meals at night because it’s the only time we’re together. As a freelancer, you have to be realistic with the changes in your life. Sure you’re at home. But you’re at home working, not tapping your fingers away on Facebook sending comments to Gadget Geek’s video on 5-Minute-Girl.

Take out the stress of worrying about your family’s meals by creating a weekly menu. List down all the meals that you want your family to eat for the week and plan your groceries accordingly. I’ve created a sample of a weekly menu, and it’s a mix of meals that you can either make within 15-30 minutes, cook ahead and freeze or cook slowly in a slow cooker or small burner. Just search “crockpot slow cooker” in Lazada, and you’ll see a list of slow cookers that will fit your family’s appetite.

For Breakfast:

  • Monday: hotdog and eggs
  • Tuesday: Corned beef
  • Wednesday: Arozz Caldo
  • Thursday: Scrambled eggs with tomato and onions
  • Friday: Oatmeal with banana/apples/milk
  • Saturday: Tuna sandwich
  • Sunday: Champorado

For Lunch:

  • Monday: Sayote
  • Tuesday: Ampalaya (bitter gourd)
  • Wednesday: Fried daing na bangus (milkfish marinated in vinegar)
  • Thursday: Patola
  • Friday: Monggo (mung beans)
  • Saturday: Fried galunggong
  • Sunday: Crockpot beef and broccoli

For Dinner:

  • Monday: Burgers
  • Tuesday: Tinola (chicken soup with sayote)
  • Wednesday: Adobo
  • Thursday: Sinigang (meat cooked in sour tamarind broth)
  • Friday: Chicken  Broccoli Rice Casserole
  • SaturdayMeatloaf
  • Sunday: Batchoy

Tips and hacks:

  • Cook double portions of chicken for your tinola, and use the leftover chicken and broth for arroz caldo or lugaw the next day. Soak the malagkit/glutinous rice in water overnight in the fridge to cut your cooking time in half.
  • Burgers can be made in batches, as with the meatloaf. Cook when you’re ready to eat.
  • You can cook adobo, monggo, and batchoy ahead, freeze them, and then thaw on the stovetop. Do not, for the love of all that’s holy thaw large batches of frozen food in the microwave, unless you’re prepared to make Meralco filthy rich.
  • If you’re going to freeze your sinigang, put the vegetables in once it starts to boil to keep them crisp.
  • Place frozen foods to be eaten the next day in the fridge to start the thawing process. Place them over the counter for thirty minutes to an hour before heating/cooking.
  • Depending on the ingredients or recipe, you can set your slow cooker to cook your dinner either mid-morning or early afternoon. Just mix the meal occasionally to prevent burning.
  • Use the weekend to cook all the meals that you can, then store them. Cooked vegetables go in the fridge to maintain their crispiness; meats can be stored in the freezer.
  • Use one pot to cook sautéed vegetables to reduce the number of pots to be washed. Your husband or little designated dishwasher will thank you for it!

Hope these tips and menu plan has helped you lessen your stress by 20% and stopped your hair from turning white. You can customize your meal calendar depending on your budget, meal preference and schedule.

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