Here at Food & Meat Co-Op, we offer several mixed boxes in our monthly specials that give you a great starting point for establishing weekly meals for your family that can end up being a long-term game changer going forward. With a variety of high-quality proteins all in one box, you are supporting local farmers, and processing plants and increasing the co-op’s buying power with each purchase!
Now that we have your attention we are going to break down what’s available in some of our mixed boxes as well as how to use the products to build a solid meal plan. With endless possibilities and high-quality delicious protein, your family is going to be looking forward to this month’s pick-up and the various ways they can be used in your menu planning!
What’s in Our Mixed Boxes?
Our mixed boxes are full of different meats that have been locally processed and immediately frozen and then delivered to your co-op stop. There are options for only beef or chicken, as well as some with a variety of beef, chicken, or pork. It is an easy way to get the main course for a lot of different meals all at the same time and the best part is that you know where it comes from!
We also change up our specials each month and offer some fun mixed boxes for BBQ season, freeze-dried food options for camping and other packs that we feel will give your family the most bang for your buck even if you're working with a tight budget.
How Do You Make an Easy Meal Plan?
When it comes to planning, shopping, preparing and cleaning multiple meals a day for your family finding a way to streamline as much as possible will make each day run a little bit smoother by taking up less time as you get more efficient. Now that you have purchased your mixed box of protein you can take the next steps to get your easy meal plan into the weekly menu.
Take Inventory of Your Pantry
The first few times of building your week's meals are great opportunities to organize your freezer, pantry, and cabinets to make this step easier each time. Keeping similar things in one area makes it easy to glance over when you’re in a hurry and see what you’re short on or what you might have an abundance of.
Make Lists and Menus
One of the most dangerous things we tell ourselves is “I’ll remember that I don’t need to write it down!” Writing out lists (either on your phone or on actual paper) will save you time, money, and energy as you aren’t constantly trying to remember what you needed or going back to the store for that one main ingredient you needed for supper.
This is the best way to create solid habits in your meal-planning journey. Efficient lists will make for a more efficient meal plan. You can even set a schedule of when to make your final lists such as Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. Habit stacking the steps in your routine will take out the hard work and replace it with completing steps without even thinking about it.
Include all of your family members in making a weekly menu. Have each family member pick at least one meal each week so that they not only feel like their opinions are being considered but also learn the advantages of creating a plan and the steps that go into it.
The amount of leftovers depends not only on how well a meal goes over but also on the size of your family. Once you have made a meal a couple of times it will make it a little easier to utilize and plan the expected leftovers into your weekly meal plan. This will also help lower the food waste that many families typically have from not having a plan in place.
Another great meal-prepping habit to work on is to cook up more of your protein than you might need to use for one meal so you can use it for a different meal the following night. One good example of this is to go ahead and cook extra chicken breasts when you’re preparing a meal of chicken and noodles and then you can throw that into a stir-fry the following night. This will save you a lot of time and energy by having it prepared ahead of time.
How to Stock Your Pantry to Supplement the Mixed Boxes
Knowing how to efficiently stock your pantry is a crucial step that you will become more efficient with the more you meal plan. Knowing what staples not only goes over the best with your family but also stretches the furthest in your budget and overall plan. There are some bulk items you can always stay stocked up on as well as fresh ingredients that will need to be bought on more of an as-needed basis as they can have a fairly short shelf life.
Some great pantry staples include
- Vegetables and Leafy Greens
- Fresh Fruit
- Pasta/Whole Grains
- Olive Oil
Recipe Inspirations Using Our Mixed Boxes for Your Meal Plan
With an unlimited supply of recipes at your fingertips, there are always great ideas waiting for you to build into your meal plan. Adding the bonus of fresh meat from the co-op is going to be what raises all of your meals to the next level! Fresh food just tastes better when you're cooking meals for your family!
Here are a few of our favorite recipes using different meat products available in our mixed boxes.
- Simple Taco Bowl-use that lean ground beef to make a household staple even better!
- Did Someone Say Bacon? We love bacon and we know you do too! It is such a versatile piece to add to your meal planning that everyone is sure to love!
- Smoked Chicken Breast-pair this with a baked potato and salad and you will have a balanced, healthy meal ready in no time!