(Photo by Bluebird Provisions on Unsplash)

First off — Jamie weighs in on what has worked and not worked in our prep and meal planning so far.

…And now for this week’s menu (what Charlie took home late last week for this week’s eats):

Meal Plan – Week #9

Meals: White Chicken Chili with Pinto Beans & Mild Hatch Chilis / Moroccan Chicken Over Cauliflower Rice & Spiced Chickpeas / Oven Roasted Pork with Cauliflower “Potatoes,” Baked Aspersgus & Pork Gravy

Snacks: Chopped Veggies (for dipping) + Yellow Squash Chips / Balsamic Herb Dipping Sauce / Egg Whites / Naked Popcorn / Spiced Chickpeas / Asparagus Pieces

As habit-people go, we here at the Accidental Nutritionist are some of the habit-est.

Jamie has the following week’s menu ready by Wednesday night. All last-minute alterations are made by Thursday morning based on requests and the number of meal kits needed (sometimes Charlie is still finishing left-overs), Jamie builds my prep list, we clean out the fridge from last week, and we are shopping by mid-day.

Once home, I take over the kitchen for about 3 hours of cutting, peeling, chopping, dicing, slicing, gutting, washing, and rewashing prep for all meals shared amongst us and the remainder ingredients Jamie will use to boost our in-house meals throughout the week.

(I suggest Amazon Music’s Vocal Jazz, the 1990s, and 2010s channels as a working soundtrack throughout.)

…After my pickled fingers have washed everything in the place three times or more, and all the prep food is packed in the fridge, Jamie tag-teams for marinating and meat prep part one, and I hit the office work (cuz remember how we still have full-time jobs and stuff?)

Friday mornings I wake up to the horrible teasing smells of cooking onions and garlic and searing meats for meat prep part two and the beginning of all the sauces and stocks bubbling away.

…Garlic before coffee is not the most awesome, I gotta say, and meat sear you can’t eat is also mean, but we have to do what we have to do.

Jamie fills crockpots, throws chickens in the oven, and starts building her “stweps” before I’m done with my morning reading regime, and then she’s off to work in the back room for a while as I finish the weekly blog edits up, do some social media, and wrap up client work for the week.

After Jamie’s concentrated cauliflower ricing, veg grilling, and gravy refining, I’m up to join in the package and labeling for the meal kits and clean up the kitchen again to prep for Jamie’s Friday experimental meal building, which Charlie will show up for some time between 5:30 and 6-ish.

It has been this way every week since the flow was refined and put in place about 2 weeks in. But, as the crappy weather starts to leave us and sunshine starts to call (which is sort of at total random for who knows how long in the PNW), we need to build a pivot plan for walks in the sun when we can actually get them. Even in the middle of work and food prep.

…Also, Jamie and I share the same birthday (day, not year), which is smack dab in the middle of our extremely choreographed Thursday of prep this week…and I am not cleaning a single dish on my birthday. So help me god.

Which means that this week’s biggest challenge (as blogged on Monday from where I am currently sitting, though it is Friday or later when I edit and you read this) is how to get all the day-job work and the cooking prep’d n’ done with a Thursday free of both, and no weekend to bleed over into.

…Which is where the freezer and packing away ahead becomes your best friend.

For every “stewp,” (and many a chicken dish), at least one serving has been set aside and frozen both for space in the fridge and to stretch the serving time. Now we can hit up some orange chicken, frozen already riced cauliflower, stock bases, and other goodies tucked away instead of for a “rainy” day; for the sunny one we hope we will be out wandering around in. (And we did!)

So: a good idea for all you meal planners out there. Squirreling away a meal here or there against a later date can be a giant help when a break in your routine is required, but the demand for good healthy eats is still top-o-the-list, without preservative guilt.

What freezes best from our POV?

Cooked Root Veg, Riced Cauliflower, Stewps, stocks, meats with gravies, sauces, bread goods, and doughs.

Happy Eating!