My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing!
  Re: (...)
Okay, I do love to cook, but sometimes really relied on these already prepared dishes from the local meal prep store. We have now lost our last one of three original stores! I am sad, because it was a fun evening that I did once a week, and also because I prepped 6-7 meals for the month for those days when I want to eat at home, but I'm crazy busy even after work hours.

Now, whatever shall I do? I will ask you all - does anyone have recommendations for a cookbook or a recipe or two that are prepare-in-advance, very good, able to be frozen and then pulled out and baked type meals? Casseroles, that kind of thing? I will just have to do my own meal-prep in advance thing on one weekend a month and drink my glass of wine all alone while doing it. Waaaaa. (Just kidding - my husband will be happy to drink a glass of wine with me, but don't tell him, but it's still not the same.) Thanks!!!
  Re: My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing! by carolekv (Okay, I do love to c...)
We had one of those stores in town here and I don't think it lasted a year. I never tried it, but a few people I know rather liked it. My sister cooks that way. She makes up meals and casseroles ahead and is always ready to feed an army. That's not my method because I like to unwind in the kitchen after work.

Anyway, for a make ahead book, I like The Best Make Ahead Recipe book. I've made several of their dishes and they have all been good.

Good luck with your new routine... wine with your Hubby might make it more fun.
  Re: Re: My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing! by HomeCulinarian (We had one of those ...)
Once-a-Month Cooking is an interesting book, too, although mosts of the recipes are relatively ordinary.

Never heard of a meal-prep store - at least not other than the ones that are called "restaurants."
If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?
  Re: Re: My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing! by labradors ([i]Once-a-Month Cook...)
I just realized--a meal prep store is a culinary "Doc In a Box". Great idea--there is one in Houston and it is thriving and very good food!! I just think the market has to be there--and these are not good economic times. Also some "Signiture" Grocery stores like Central Mkt, Krogers, HEB do that. See what is in your area.
"He who sups with the devil should have a. long spoon".
  Re: My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing! by carolekv (Okay, I do love to c...)
Hi Carol, nice to see you! My suggestion is to purchase a food saver. I should have gotten one a long time ago. Now, when I make a big meal, I put enough of the entree in a food saver bag and freeze it for another night. Then, all you have to do is simmer it in water while you make a side dish or salad. It tastes just like fresh made.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing! by Mare749 (Hi Carol, nice to se...)
What Maryanne said....It's all about the weekends. Like I've said before...When I do my baked chicken, I do to eat and one to freeze for a pot pie or what ever. All in the planning. Not that I'm doing that right in a slump vacation frustration I guess.
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing! by Gourmet_Mom (What Maryanne said.....)
Hi there, stranger - good to see you again, Carol. First I agree with Maryann's suggestion, a FoodSaver is really a great machine to have for keeping extra meals ready.

Also, here are five book suggestions for you, four of them are books I used when I was working as a personal chef and the recipes in them are very tasty!

The Complete Do Ahead Cookbook - it's put out by Southern Living
The Big Book Of Casseroles - Maryana Vollstedt
Prevention's Freezer Cookbook - Sharon Sanders
Cook Now Serve Later - REader's Digest

and the fifth book is just a wonderful book to have on hand for quick throw together pasta dinners -
No-Cook Pasta Sauces - Joie Warner

I still use all of the above books just for Roy and me.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing! by cjs (Hi there, stranger -...)
Thank you so much for all of the great suggestions! I will get on Amazon soon and get some of those great cookbooks! I do have a FoodSaver and love it! I buy in bulk and use it for that, but will be using it for saving the second half of the double batches I'll need to start cooking again!

The meal prep stores seemed like a great idea to me, and in some areas, I think they do very well. But, apparently not here, so guess I'm glad I didn't quite my day job and open one myself, as I'd sort of dreamed of doing. But I am super, super busy with my day job (too much so, sometimes, but I love what I do, so that's the way it goes). So, I really relied on this place to give me meals for the month when I wanted to eat a nice meal at home (I also love to go out but not always) but didn't have time to cook from scratch.

Anyway, it's great to visit with you all from time to time - thanks for remembering me, Jean! I always know this network is here whenever I need the best cooking advice around!
  Re: My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing! by carolekv (Okay, I do love to c...)
We've had some close around here too, but some are still open. I have never tried them, but have been tempted. We did just stock a friends freezer with 20 meals or so to help them out.

You can go about this a couple of different ways. One is the make one and freeze one method. Double or break a full recipe into to - eat one and freeze one. Before you know it you have a good stock of stuff in the freezer.

Another method is to do a meal plan. Maybe a chicken plan - roast two or three chickens and put a bunch of casseroles together. Chicken enchiladas, cheesy chicken and rice, creamy chicken a penne, chicken pot pie, Chicken lasagna, etc.

I always have different meatballs in the freezer - traditional, italian, asian and they can be put in dishes quickly.
Spaghetti sauce
Taco soup/chili

Find some good crock pot recipes. That is always a life saver. Good ones can be hard to find though. We routinely do Mexican chicken for tacos, wraps or to serve on rice.

I like two of the books Jean mentioned - Preventions freezer book, and The big book of casseroles. And I really like the book Jeanette mentioned - The Best Make ahead recipe book. Made a chicken pot pie tonight out of that one - one for dinner one for the freezer.

I can always share some recipes if you are interested. Good Luck. It just takes a little more planning and work some nights to have some easy meals for later.
Mom to three wonderful 7th graders!
The time is flying by.
  Re: Re: My Favorite Meal Prep Store closing! by esgunn (We've had some close...)
Wonderful! And yes, if anyone has any favorite recipes for make ahead, please share! The best thing about Weekday Gourmet was that you did prep work, no cooking upfront, and assembly of the meals, then took them all home and froze them, thawed a day before as needed, and then cooking was usually baked or very simply saute or crockpot type stuff.

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