Simplifed Meal Planning Podcast



Listen to the podcast here!


Get asked efficiency questions a lot:

1. Doing the mundane, routine, or regular more quickly and more efficiently gives you more time for the exciting, ground-breaking, earth-shattering!

2. Teaches our children efficient work habits.

3. Makes you feel like a million bucks! 🙂


Kitchen Efficiency Links

1. Podcast: How to Implement Cycle Cooking for Freezer Entrees and Starters

2. Podcast: Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start Freezer Cooking

3. Podcast: Five Tips to Be More Efficient in the Kitchen

4. Blog Post: Beef Roast and Pork Roasts in the Crock Pot

5. Blog Post: Shredded Chicken

6. Blog Post: Crumbled Ground Meats

7. Blog Post: Determining the Type of Freezer Cook You Want to Be

8. Blog Post: Dishes, Laundry, and Trash



Level of Efficiency in the Kitchen Dependent Upon Several Factors

1. How homemade vs. how store-bought

2. Time allotted for make-aheads and prepping

3. Freezer space

4. Experience


How Do You Look in Your Freezer or Cabinets or Fridge and Come Up With a Meal Without Over-Thinking

1. Can’t think of anything to make

2. Don’t feel creative

3. Everything takes too long/no prepped or defrosted ingredients




1. Think in terms of meats (see my cycle cooking)—and have a master list

2. Have staples on hand

3. Learn to cook meats fast or efficiently (chicken here, crumbled meats here; pork and beef roasts here)

4. Freezer cook! If just starting out, do one of two things (see podcast here):

a. Start with “meal starters” if limited freezer space and/or not much experience (and also low cost if just starting out)

b. Find six, eight, or ten entrees that your family loves that you can learn to freezer cook easily and quickly and work on these. (See many more ideas below in the â€śThink in Terms of Meats Master List.”)

i. Shredded chicken—chicken enchiladas, chicken lasagna, shredded bbq

ii. Crumbled meat—taco meat, enchilada casserole, lasagna, spaghetti chicken sandwich filling, chicken taco meat, chicken tetrazzini, arroz con pollo, cream of chicken soup starter, chicken broccoli soup starter, chicken gnocchi soup starter, chicken noodle soup starter, chicken rice soup starter, hot chicken salad casserole, broccoli chicken rice casserole sauce with meat, sloppy joes, spaghetti pie, cheeseburger pie, pizza filling bag, chili, hamburger stew, beef broccoli alfredo starter

5. Have ingredients for ten entrees at all times (Five Tips for Kitchen Efficiency)




1. What meats (and in what form of the meats) do you regularly use in your meals?

2. How can these be “grouped” (either for thinking purposes or for preparing bulk entrees for the freezer)?

3. Make a master list of things that you EVER make from various meats, print it, and tape it to the inside of a kitchen cabinet or on the fridge in a sheet protector. You want this handy!



Shredded Chicken

  • Chicken enchiladas
  • Chicken tetrazinni
  • Chicken broccoli casserole
  • Hot chicken salad
  • BBQ shredded chicken
  • Chicken taco meat
  • Chicken alfredo (or starter for freezer)
  • Cream of chicken soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Chicken rice soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Chicken gnocchi soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Chicken noodle soup (or starter for freezer)
  • White bean chicken chili (or starter for freezer)
  • Chicken tortilla soup (or starter for freezer)


Crumbled Ground Beef or Turkey

  • Enchiladas
  • Cheeseburger pie
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Lasagna
  • Spaghetti pie
  • Beef noodle stroganoff (or starter for freezer)
  • Beef-broccoli Alfredo (or starter for freezer)
  • Taco meat
  • Goulash (or starter for freezer)
  • Chili (or starter for freezer)
  • Hamburger Stew (or starter for freezer)
  • Vegetable soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Homemade hamburger helper (or starter for freezer)
  • Taco soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Pasta e fagioli soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Cheeseburger potato soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Mexican pizzas (or starter for freezer)
  • Layered Mexican dip (or starter for freezer)
  • Beef nacho supreme (or starter for freezer)
  • Beef taco soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Maid rite sandwiches
  • Ravioli
  • Hamburger gravy
  • Mexican pizza



Shredded Roast Beef (or Pork)

  • Enchiladas
  • Beef stew (or starter for freezer)
  • Vegetable soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Beefy potato rivel soup (or starter for freezer)
  • BBQ beef
  • Pot roast w/ veggies
  • Beef carnitas/shredded meat taco (or starter for freezer)
  • Shredded beef nachos (or starter for freezer)



Chicken Breasts or Thighs (Not Shredded)

  • Chick filet knock off
  • Parmesan chicken breasts/thighs/tenders
  • Cheddar coated breasts
  • Monterey chicken breasts
  • Chicken cordon bleu
  • Smothered chicken (or starter for freezer)
  • Yogurt/parmesan chicken
  • Garlic chicken bites (for Alfredo, chicken spaghetti, stir fries, subs, chicken alfredo pizza etc.)
  • Monterey chicken bites (for fajitas, appetizers, chicken quesadillas, stir fries, subs, etc.)



Shaped Ground Meat/Steak

  • Meat loaves
  • Ham loaves
  • Meatballs
  • Salisbury steak
  • Florida steak
  • Smothered steak (or starter for freezer)
  • Steak salad (or starter for freezer)
  • Philly cheesesteak casserole (or starter for freezer)
  • Steak breakfast burrito (or starter for freezer)
  • Steak fajita
  • Steak stir fry
  • Dried beef gravy




  • Hamarama (sandwiches)
  • Cheesy potatoes with ham
  • Broccoli cheese soup
  • Cheesy potato sausage soup
  • Soup beans with ham
  • Ham steak
  • BBQ ham steak
  • Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Cheddar soup
  • Pizza (or starter for freezer)
  • Pizza subs (or starter for freezer)
  • Pizza casserole
  • Pizza soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Chicken pork creamy soup (or starter for freezer)
  • Goulash (or starter for freezer)
  • Sausage breakfast sandwiches (or starter for freezer)
  • Sausage gravy and biscuits
  • Pizza dip
  • Sausage cups ((or starter for freezer)
  • Pizza cups (or starter for freezer)
  • Sausage biscuit balls
  • Egg roll skillet (or starter for freezer)
  • Kielbasa stir fry (or starter for freezer)
  • Egg skillet (or starter for freezer)
  • Omelets (or starter for freezer)
  • Egg casserole (or starter for freezer)
  • Pancakes and sausage
  • Sausage sandwiches
  • Loaded baked potatoes
  • Breakfast pizzas




  • Tuna casserole
  • Tuna balls
  • Salmon patties
  • Salmon loaves
  • Baked salmon
  • Baked cod
  • Skillet white fish
  • Shrimp scampi
  • Shrimp Alfredo
  • Clam chowder




1. Be sure that everybody knows they are off limits for other dishes.

2. Get as much convenience as you are comfortable with (see list below).

3. Learn fast/efficient method for cooking things you do all the time (see BACON here), such as rice cooker, baking rice, cooking baked potatoes in bulk, etc.).

4. Consider meal starters in freezer (precooked meats, soup starters, etc.) as â€śstaples.”


Perishables “Staples”

Half and half

Shredded cheeses

Matchstick carrots





Shredded cabbage

Frozen green beans

Frozen corn

Frozen peas

Frozen broccoli

Frozen mixed vegetables

Frozen stir fry medleys

Fruits (especially berries and apples)

Sour cream

Cream cheese


Refrigerated minced garlic


Low carb bread

Low carb buns

Low carb tortillas

Hash brown potato cubes


Non Perishable Staples

Panko crumbs



Instant brown rice


Low carb flours

Bulk sugar free sweeteners

Canned mushrooms

Canned marinara

Canned Alfredo

Bases—beef, chicken, pork

Canned kidney beans

Canned refried beans

Canned green beans

Canned mixed vegetables

Canned carrots

Canned large vegetables (Veg All)

Olive oil

Bacon grease (keep after cooking


Cooking wines, vinegar, soy sauce,

Worcestershire, hot sauce, etc.

Minced onions

Spices and seasonings



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