I love to cook. I love to eat. I love to feed my family. I recently had the realization that the way I most experience making our house a home is the smell of homemade food. My mom is an amazing cook and baker (so is my Grandma) - and the warm cozy aroma of her in the kitchen always made me feel safe and connected.
As a working mom, I know there are things I will have to outsource in our lives, but for me - food isn’t one of them. I’ve kept ahold of it - and therefore have had to work hard to streamline the process to get food on the table as quickly - and with as much nutrition and flavor - as possible.
One of my hacks is to make one protein at the beginning of the week and to use it across three totally separate meals with very different flavor profiles. This streamlines the work for me - and makes it so my family doesn’t feel like they are eating the same thing over and over again - even though they are-ish.
My minimum is that I cook 3 homemade meals a week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Thursday we eat leftovers. Friday we eat out. Our weekends are always all over the place, so I keep meal planning flexible.
On very busy weeks, I will make all three meals on the weekend so I am just popping things in the oven and pulling them out of the fridge. I always try to get food on the table in 30 minutes or less.
I bought a huge package (7lbs) of 88/12 ground beef from Costco. No, I’m not a food photographer. It looks rough, but you get the idea.
Made them into patty’s and dumped some seasoning salt on them. Threw them on the grill. Did not do a bunch of fancy seasoning or mix-ins into the burger. This is weekday food ya’ll.
Served with side of fresh fruit and a pre-mixed salad from a bag. Easy breezy.
After I made the burgers, I threw the rest of the ground beef in a pot and cooked it up to be used throughout the week. Seasoned with garlic and a little salt. Just keeping it simple so I can do lots of things with it. Forgive the creepy hand.
We ride the ‘bowl train’ really hard. I serve some version of this formula nearly every week. Grain + Protein + Veggies + Sauce. Easy for my family to eat when they can and easy to customize based on their individual palettes.
Using the pre-cooked ground beef, I added the following seasonings:
Per pound of ground beef:
Fresh garlic and ginger hack - you can find these at Trader Joes. I keep it in the freezer and just pop the little squares out as needed. A definite speed hack for in the middle of the week and makes things taste oh-so-fresh.
Korean Beef Spread:
I chopped veggies I had in the fridge. Just served them on the cutting board (fewer dishes) and made some Basmati rice (no, I didn’t rinse it first).
If you want a recipe to reference, here is a good one.
My veggie & sauce list:
This is a big practice day for us (lots of driving), so this one was super fast. I added 1.5 lbs of ground beef with a jar of pre-made spaghetti sauce. I sauted a little garlic and added some italian seasoning to make it taste a bit more fresh before I dumped it all together in a sauce pan.
Made spaghetti noodles per package directions (add olive oil to the water to keep them from sticking and salt to the water for flavor).
Threw some buns under the broiler with garlic salt and butter, and added arugula and parmesan on the plate for some healthy, fresh greens.
And that's it. 1 protein gets you 3 meals and probably some leftovers for Thursday evening. This hack has been a huge time-saver for me as I meal plan and prep each week. Hope it's helpful!
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