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I hate cooking dinners in the summer. We get home and it’s still light out and I would much rather be outside playing with the kids than stuck in front of the stove.
Last weekend, I decided to do a little meal prep and planning to help weeknight dinners go faster. I turned to my favorite cookbook, From Freezer to Table: 75+ Simple, Whole Foods Recipes for Gathering, Cooking, and Sharing
First, I whipped up a batch of fresh pesto. In college, I swore I hated pesto, but man was I wrong! It’s so full of flavor and I love the bright green color. I always make double and use half basil and half spinach to sneak in some extra veggies. Then I put it in ice cube trays to store. I freeze one tray (and when it’s frozen I put it into a Ziploc bag) and pop the other in the fridge to use right away.
Next, I made a big batch of homemade marinara sauce. This recipe is simple–I add spinach, extra garlic, and some additional Italian seasoning. It cooks for 4 hours in the crock pot and I store it either in freezer bags or in Mason jars. It’s so much better than what you buy at the store.
Next, I made a big batch of meatballs. I love the book’s recipe as it includes lots of cheese! I put pesto in the meat mixture because of all the flavor it adds. Then I always freeze about 15 meatballs in one of my spaghetti sauce bags. That way, I’ve got meatballs and sauce ready to roll!
Then, since I was doing meatballs, I also made up a batch of pesto hamburger patties for dinner that evening, which my husband cooked perfectly on the grill.
Finally, I made a batch of the Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls, another recipe in the book. You use both pesto and the marinara and just basically add some chicken, ricotta, mozzarella, and lasagna noodles. I froze half and we ate half that day.
So there you have it. A couple of hours and several meals ready to pop in the freezer for a busy weeknight when I’d rather be outside with the kiddos!