How to Have a Stress-Free Dinner Prep (My 3 Secrets)

Is dinnertime chaos at your house?

Honestly, dinner time used to be a huge stress point for me. I hated that every weeknight I would wonder, “What are we going to eat? Do we have all the ingredients?” It added way to much stress to my already stressful-enough life as a mom.

How can we make dinner time easy and fast? These time-saving tips for busy moms make it so much easier to assemble dinners at meal time! No more dinner prep stress!

But then I discovered a few simple dinner time prep techniques that have made cooking and feeding my family so much easier. Not to mention that they save us money on our grocery bill each month!

Here are my four secret weapons for managing dinner and the chaos of meal time in general:

  • Monthly meal planning
  • Freezer Meals
  • Instant Pot

Ladies, these meal prep techniques don’t have to be intimidating (I promise!).

In fact, I want to show you must-have meal planning and cooking resources that make each of these techniques super easy and low stress.

Ready to get started? I can’t wait to help you get rid of the dinnertime stress and make meal planning easy and doable too!

Secret #1: Monthly Meal Planning

Maybe you’ve heard about (or tried) monthly meal planning and been too intimidated by it. I understand.

But really, truly, monthly meal planning doesn’t have to be.

The biggest issue is that you need an easy, efficient way to organize all the recipes, ingrediSimple Meal Planning - Plan to Eatents and shopping lists. And that’s where Plan to Eat comes in.

Plan to Eat is an an incredible, online recipe, meal planning and grocery shopping system that I’ve used for a good 7 years now. And let me tell you–it is a lifesaver!

The site houses all your recipes (you can input your favorites or upload them from any website) and allows you to drag-and-drop your recipes to different days of the month via an interactive calendar.

Sanity... who doesn't need more of it when parenting and homeschooling?! Meal planning, freezer meals and monthly shopping are my sanity savers! Here's a list of 17 must-read resources and tips to bring organization to your home! Vibrant Homeschooling

When it comes time to grocery shop, simply input the calendar dates you’re buying groceries for and the site generates a master shopping list which can be separated by store. As you’re shopping, you can simply click on each item and it is marked off the list.

I truly could not monthly meal plan without Plan to Eat!

Sign up for their 30-Day free trial here:

 

 

P.S. If planning out a whole month is too stressful, then only plan a week or two at a time. Do what works for you! Either way, Plan to Eat makes it easy and simple.

Honestly, if you do nothing else to streamline your dinnertime planning, I would highly suggest you sign up for Plan to Eat. Just the ability to have all the ingredients of all your planned meals auto populate into a grocery list is flat-out incredible.

And with the free 30-day trial you’ve got nothing to lose! Click here to try it free for yourself!

 

 

 

Secret #2: Freezer Meals

Oh… the pure glory of pulling out a pre-assembled dinner meal and knowing that, not only are all the ingredients included, but they are all pre-measured and ready to go!

Read here on how to convert your tried-and-true recipes to freezer meals.

And here I share my secrets for having a freezer meal family prep day where you can make meals in bulk with your family.

By the way, I highly recommend these little standing bag clips to make freezer meal prep super easy. They hold the bags up for you! Brilliant!

Jokari Hands-Free Baggy Rack Clip Food Storage Bag Holder, 2-PackJokari Hands-Free Baggy Rack Clip Food Storage Bag Holder, 2-Pack

If you want to try some new freezer meal recipes, these books are awesome!

Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your FamilyFix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your FamilyThe Healthy Make-Ahead Cookbook: Wholesome, Flavorful Freezer Meals the Whole Family Will EnjoyThe Healthy Make-Ahead Cookbook: Wholesome, Flavorful Freezer Meals the Whole Family Will EnjoyNot Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze CookbookNot Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook

 

Secret #3: Instant Pot Cooking

I have been a huge Crock Pot fan forever (here’s my favorite one that can be used on the stovetop too!).

But then I discovered the Instant Pot (cue the angelic voices).

Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000WInstant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W

Oh my gosh. Have you used one of these? Here’s just a few things that an Instant Pot can do:

  • Chicken breasts (from frozen to cooked) in about 10 minutes.
  • Rice and beans (from dry to cooked) in 10 minutes
  • and a whole chicken in 20 minutes.

I’ve found that by combining pre-assembled freezer meals and the magic of the Instant Pot, dinner is super duper easy. I mean, like ridiculously so.

Do I cook every dinner in the Instant Pot? No.

But, yes, there are those days when life is insanely busy and I nearly melt into a pile of giddiness when I step into the house and know that I can dump a freezer meal into the Instant Pot, walk away, and know that in about 20 minutes dinner will be on the table.

Here are some great Instant Pot recipe books (I love all the different types of food you can cook in the Instant Pot!):

The Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy MealsThe Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy MealsInstant Pot® Obsession: The Ultimate Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook for Cooking Everything FastInstant Pot® Obsession: The Ultimate Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook for Cooking Everything FastPaleo Cooking With Your Instant Pot: 80 Incredible Gluten- and Grain-Free Recipes Made Twice as Delicious in Half the TimePaleo Cooking With Your Instant Pot: 80 Incredible Gluten- and Grain-Free Recipes Made Twice as Delicious in Half the TimeInstant Pot Cookbook: Easy & Healthy Instant Pot Recipes For The Everyday Home – Delicious Triple-Tested, Family-Approved Pressure Cooker Recipes (Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook) (Volume 1)Instant Pot Cookbook: Easy & Healthy Instant Pot Recipes For The Everyday Home – Delicious Triple-Tested, Family-Approved Pressure Cooker Recipes (Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook) (Volume 1)Great Food Fast : Bob Warden's Ultimate Pressure Cooker RecipesGreat Food Fast : Bob Warden’s Ultimate Pressure Cooker RecipesWeight Watchers Instant Pot Smart Points Cookbook: The Ultimate Collection Of Weight Watchers Recipes For Your Instant Pot – Lose Weight And Improve ... While Saving Time (Smart Points Edition)Weight Watchers Instant Pot Smart Points Cookbook: The Ultimate Collection Of Weight Watchers Recipes For Your Instant Pot – Lose Weight And Improve … While Saving Time (Smart Points Edition)

That’s it! I hope you see how monthly meal planning with Plan to Eat, freezer meals, and Instant Pot meals can make dinnertime fast in easy in your home too!

Other Posts to Make Weeknight Dinner Solutions

14 Ways to Make Freezer Meals Fast & Easy

How to Make Monthly Meal Planning Work for Your Family

About Alicia Michelle

As a wife and mom to four passionate kids, Alicia Michelle loves encouraging other moms with practical tips for joy-filled living in everyday life, especially in parenting, marriage, faith and health.Alicia is the owner/editor of Your Vibrant Family; the author of Plan to Be Flexible, The Back to School Survival Manual; and the creator/producer of the "7 Days to a Less Angry Mom Online Video Course,", Christ-Centered Christmas Resources and My Memory Box Organizing System. In addition, she is a monthly contributor for several popular family blogs, including Crosswalk.com.Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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