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The kids’ school supplies and new uniforms have been purchased, which means back-to-school preparations are in full swing! I signed everyone up for their extracurricular activities, and let me tell you, I am going to be one busy mama!
In an effort to reduce time and stress at dinnertime, I invited some of my friends and family over for a “Back-to-School Meal Prep Party”. We all joined forces and were able to prep a week’s worth of dinners. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this will reduce stress during the first week of school.
Packaging is essential when it comes to pre-prepared meals, because the last thing we all have time for is cleaning up a spilled mess in the refrigerator or freezer. Ziploc® brand Storage bags and Freezer bags with Easy Open Tabs are perfect for meal prep parties! When planning a meal prep assembly party, organization is essential. If you have an itty-bitty kitchen like me, it is even more important. I set up different stations for every meal. One table, called the chopping block, was where all of the chopping and prep work was done.
I tried to prep as much as possible. I compiled a collection of recipes and listed the steps to complete them.. I also made sure to forewarn everyone to clean out their freezers to make room for everything. I did my shopping at Ralphs two days prior to the party. That way, I could pre-cook items that I knew would take too long to make while the guests were here, namely the chicken and pie crusts for the chicken potpies. The morning of the party, I started the pulled pork and set the crockpot to high.
When my guests arrived, I promptly put them to work. Each dish had the recipe printed and in less than three hours, we all had many meals to enjoy on busy nights. We all had so much fun and plan on making this a monthly occasion.
Here are some of the things that we made:
Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches are great, extra quick meals. Simply pull them out of the freezer, baste the tops with melted butter, sprinkle with ranch powder and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. They turn into crispy, cheesy delicious sandwiches. Serve with a side salad for the perfect, simple meal.
Chicken Pot Pies are wonderful for a chilly evening after soccer practice. It is a comfort meal at its finest. Since I was only storing these for a short period of time, I used Ziploc® brand Storage bags. (For a longer freezing time you can use Ziploc® brand Freezer bags.) I took the pot pies out of the freezer and popped them in the oven. Within 30 minutes, you will have a delicious home cooked meal. I used the faithful recipe from ThePioneerWoman.com and quadrupled it to make eight seven-inch pies.
Turkey Chili is a staple in our house, and it freezes beautifully. We used tomatoes from the garden in place of canned diced tomatoes. . Now we can all enjoy the summer harvest in the fall.
For the final recipe, we made my favorite: Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork. It is easy to make and can be frozen for up to three months when using Ziploc® brand Freezer Bags with Easy Open Tabs. Again, we used Ziploc® brand Storage bags with Easy Open Tabs because ours was only frozen for a few days. Once thawed, I use it in sandwiches, stir-fries and even Hawaiian style with sliced cabbage and rice. It is one of our favorite proteins and is really inexpensive to make.
So if you are a busy mom like me, I highly suggest planning and hosting a “Back-to-School Meal Prep Party”. Not only is it a great opportunity to get together with friends and family, but it is a huge time saver on those busy nights.
Finally for all of your back-to-school sandwich bag needs, there will be $0.50 off regular retail price of Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs between 8/9 and 8/30. Now there is no excuse to not do some meal prepping!