Homeschool Balance

The Prep Ahead Food List – Work Today & Save Time Tomorrow

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Is breakfast time chaotic at your house?  Boy, it is at ours!  It seems like we are always in a mad rush of some sort.  As a busy homeschool mom, I don’t have much time for meal prep.   I mentioned in my 10 Kitchen Tips for the Busy Mom that I always try to do some prep work, just to stay ahead of the game.  Today I thought I would share my prep ahead food list.  Of course, I don’t get to ALL of these every week, but these are my main prep ahead items.

The Prep Ahead Food List - Work Today & Save Time Tomorrow

1).  Pizza Dough

This one is quick and easy and helps me avoid the drive-thru.  Plus I won’t lie, pizza is a favorite of mine!  It’s best if I always have a healthy premade dough tucked away.  I always make sure to keep pizza sauce and cheese stocked up.  Then I just top with whatever veggies we have on hand.  My favorite crust is made using this recipe from Gwen’s Nest.

2).  Eggs

I’m sure you know by now that I have a love affair going with my Instant Pot.  By far my favorite use for it is boiled eggs!  These little jewels peel sooooo easy when made this way.  I place my eggs on a steamer basket and set them on manual pressure for 8 minutes and then do a quick release.  I immediately rinse with cold water and peel.  Throughout the week I can use these for deviled eggs, to top a salad, or to simply eat as a snack.  There are seriously so simple.

3).  Rice

Rice is another Instant Pot miracle!  I’m not a huge brown rice fan, but I love basmati rice from Aldi.  I think this is one of my best prep ahead food secrets.  I usually make 2 cups of rice at a time and freeze it into sandwich size storage bags.  From here I can make my quick & easy breakfast rice, or a delicious stir-fry, in a matter of minutes.  Sometimes I will even add a bag to chicken soup and serve it for dinner.

4). Chicken

Home canned chicken is another staple prep ahead food in my home.  Now I am well aware that you can buy canned chicken in the grocery store, but trust me when I say it’s not the same.  I will be totally honest, I was TERRIFIED when I first started to can, for months I made my husband stay in the kitchen with me through the entire process.  Now I’m an old pro at it, and it’s not near as scary.  With cooked chicken on hand meals like chicken pot pie, chicken noodle soup, and chicken and rice are a snap.  Check out canning instructions here.

*Note:  Canning meat is one of the simplest things to do but it MUST be pressure canned.  Save your water bath canner for your fruit 😉

5).  Chicken Broth

There’s nothing as tasty as homemade chicken broth, plus it’s incredibly good for you!  It’s really quick and simple too.  I usually buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.  We eat some for dinner, I freeze the leftovers, and throw the bones in my slow cooker.  Here’s a great recipe.  When I finish I freeze flat in individual sandwich bags.  (Just make sure that it doesn’t freeze THROUGH the racks on your freezer.  Ask me how I know.)

6).  Sausage

Did you know you can pressure can sausage?  This is another prep ahead food miracle! You can find all the directions here.  This is one of my favorite prep ahead meals because the flavor is amazing.  It really tenderizes the sausage and makes it moist and delicious.  Once I have the canned sausage I use it to make chili (our favorite), stuffed peppers, and of course many different breakfast foods.

7).  Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast burritos are one of those easy grab and go prep ahead meals.  You can see my recipe for them here.   I make a low carb batch for myself and use regular tortillas for the rest of my family.  The best part is that these only take 45 seconds to reheat in the microwave.  These definitely take away the need for the drive-thru on those extra busy mornings.

8).  Sausage Balls

I will admit this is not one of the healthiest meals, so we keep these only for occasional use.  They are at least better than the sausage biscuits at the drive-thru so when you feel a craving hit use one of these.  I actually make these more biscuit size than appetizer size and freeze them.  We pull them out and heat them for about 30 seconds and we are out the door.  I love quick and simple!

9).  Baked Oatmeal

Baked oatmeal is another quick & easy prep ahead food.  There are quite a few recipes for baked oatmeal out there, but my favorites include berries.  I buy frozen berries, or buy them in season and freeze them, and they make this meal a snap.  Most weeks I keep a pan of this in the fridge to pull out for a quick breakfast or snack.  Here is a nice base recipe.

10).  Fruits & Veggies

One of the simplest ways to add healthier meals to your diet is to have your fruits and veggies prepped and ready to go.  There are some items that I NEVER prep ahead, like mushrooms or berries.  They simply don’t keep well once they’ve been washed.  However, there are many other things that you can easily wash and chop ahead.  For example, I always buy prewashed lettuce, keep chopped onions/peppers in the freezer, and wash up grapes and apples in advance.

So there you have it….My prep ahead food list.  This saves me time & energy during my busy week.  Not to mention it keeps the mess down!  Do you prep ahead?  If so, what would you add?