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I strive to be organized and well prepared, but it doesn’t always happen.
I have good intentions, especially at the beginning of the school year, to not just get my kids into a routine, but to create efficient and EASY systems that work for my family. I’d love to have meals planned for an entire month, with all my grocery shopping complete, but I just don’t have the time to do it. However, with the new Ziploc® brand Storage bags with Easy Open Tabs, I have a can’t-be-beat meal planning process that takes little work and even gets the whole family involved with what might be the most dreaded question in our household: “What’s for dinner, mom?”
I’m happy when I get to the grocery store, and I’m prepared enough to get all the ingredients for a specific meal. I typically have one hour to go to Kroger, figure out the items my family enjoys and then go home to prepare a meal using the things I bought. However, on some days, I don’t have enough creative space left in my brain to prepare a meal in time for everyone to enjoy it before going to bed. I had to come up with a way to meal plan that didn’t require much thinking so I wasn’t running through the drive-thru every night of the week.
Ziploc® brand has always been a staple in our home for everything from packing for a flight, organizing the kids’ crayons and markers, and of course, storing food. However, their new Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs have taken it to a whole new level for me. Not just because they’re easy to grip and easy to open for small or big hands, but I’ve learned to use the colored-tabs to help me meal plan – and here’s how.
Still using my system of running to the store to take advantage of the sales, I purchase proteins (chicken, shrimp, etc.), produce and starches like rice and gluten-free pasta. Then, when I get home, I just need around 20 minutes to cut up my meat and produce. Many other meal planning techniques require you to pick what you are going to cook when, but I don’t always know exactly what we are going to eat and most of all, want, all week.
We need flexibility for whatever might happen on a given day AND what we might want to eat (since sometimes you aren’t feeling Monday’s menu either.) While even at this point I may not know what we’re going to eat, I’ve learned meals like stir fry make it easy to create healthy meals by just having a few basic sauces ready to go.
I take my cut-up proteins into bite-sized pieces/strips and place them in Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs. While the meat doesn’t take up the whole bag, you use the Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs for a couple of things:
- Add a marinade to a Ziploc® brand Storage bag with Easy Open Tabs so you have room to mix the ingredients
- Pound your protein into thinner, more tender pieces
- Place any leftovers in the freezer inside a Ziploc® brand Freezer bag with Easy Open Tabs (blue tab), so you’re always ready to go
1. Place a “1” on these bags with a marker.
2. Next using both the quart size Ziploc® brand Storage bags with Easy Open Tabs (pink) and a few of the Ziploc® brand containers with One Press Seal, cut up the produce like onions, mushrooms and broccoli into smaller pieces. Additionally, I put healthy and easy nibbles like baby carrots, chopped peppers, etc. in the Ziploc® brand Snack bags with Easy Open Tabs for snacking. This way I have a few already prepared items for me to snack on while I’m cooking dinner or for the kids when they get home from school. On these bags, I place “2.”
3. Then comes time for the fun stuff. For meals like stir fry, the sauce is everything. The sauces are super easy to make and only get better with time if you prepare them in advance. I have a few standard recipes for chicken and beef I always use, and if you’re feeling creative, you can add a little something else. Again stir fry meals give you that flexibility to make it what you want. Sometimes I mix these up in advance and sometimes I make them on the fly, but if you have time, put them in a Ziploc® brand Sandwich bag with Easy Open Tabs (green) and place them in the fridge with a “3.”
4. Now here’s the magic. You’re set. On Monday or Tuesday when the dinner conversation begins, have the kids pull out one of the “1” bags, one, two or three of the “2” bags/containers, and one of the “3” bags. I normally then add a rice or pasta, which can boil while you fry up the ingredients from your bags, and then dinner is done!
Make sure you stock up on the value pack of Ziploc® brand Sandwich and Snack bags with Easy Open Tabs right now because they have all kinds of uses, and you can’t beat two sizes in one package – especially during back-to-school. School supplies, snacks, lunches and even those special “Show and Tell” days, all are easier with Ziploc® brand.
8/9 to 8/30: Save $.50 off regular price on: Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs 40ct, Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs 90ct, Ziploc® brand Snack bags with Easy Open Tabs 90ct.
- 1 lb. boneless chicken breast
- 1/2 cup of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons red chiles
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 can coconut milk (I use lowfat)
- Heat oil in pan to high.
- In a Ziploc Sandwich bag, blend fish sauce, honey, cilantro, and basil together.
- Cook green onions, mushrooms, and chiles.
- Add chicken and stir fry until tender.
- Add coconut milk and heat until warm.
- Serve with rice.
What’s your favorite way to use Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs?