We did our first meal assembly in October (here’s the link to that post) and plan on doing them every 6-8 weeks depending on how long the meals last us. Here’s some things that are good to know about it:
- When planning our menu I look for variety (not all chicken, not bland or repetitive meals), convenience (I’d rather do all the work on the prep end of things and have little to no work on the cooking end of things), and affordability (my goal is to get us each 18-20 meals–each 3+ servings–for under $150 with everything included).
- We try to keep things convenient. None of our recipes will EVER call for browning meats ahead of time–everything goes into the bags raw! On rare occasion there may be something you need to prepare (Paleo pesto, for example). Feel free to substitute something store bought for convenience. We decided it was worth it to buy a large jar of minced garlic instead of peeling and mincing every flipping clove and we were oh so right! We still have enough left over for probably 3-4 more meal assemblies.
- We will try to include the original source for where we got a recipe. Please be aware that what we mean is where WE got the recipe–it might not be the original source but it will be where we found it. If you see your recipe on our blog and the credit is wrong or you would like it removed just let us know. Our goal here is to share great recipes, not step on toes! That being said, we have modified most of the recipes either to make them Paleo or to make them freezer meals.
- We package our meals in quart and gallon ziploc bags. The bag(s) then go in an outer gallon bag along with the cooking instructions. This prevents freezer burn when frozen and leaking when thawing.
- We hope to, at some point in the future, have easy print recipes and labels. I still haven’t decided yet on doing shopping lists for each meal assembly simply because if you aren’t doing exactly the same recipes as us the shopping list is useless.
- We only double meals that at least one of us has tried before. We don’t do more than two of a recipe even if we do like it because we don’t want to get stuck in a rut! Each meal assembly session will ideally have at least 10 brand new recipes and no more than 5 previously tried ones. If any of them turn out to be busts we will let you know! So far all of the ones from our first round of Paleo meal assembly have been amazing.
- If you don’t have a crockpot with a timer I highly recommend getting one! You can find them for a great price and they are so nice for the meals that say “cook on low for 4 hours”. Seriously? Aside from people who just chill at home all day (even if you don’t work I’m sure you have a life) who the heck is just sitting around waiting to turn on the crockpot at 2:00pm?? My crockpot has 3 settings: “high”, “low” and “keep warm”. I can set it to low for 5 hours and when that time is up it switches to “keep warm”. It’s totally ballin’. Nothing sucks quite like having your husband compliment you on the pork and you have to tell him it’s just super over-cooked chicken. Or not being able to identify the blobs in your crockpot because they’ve been cooked to death.