Do you find yourself struggling to find a recipe at the last minute? Never seem to have what you need from the grocery store? Have no fear! Creating a weekly meal plan can make after-school evenings run much more smoothly!
Choose the Meals Your Family Loves
Start by making a list of all the meals and snacks your family likes to eat on a regular basis. Pro-tip: get some sticky tabs or magnets and write the name of each meal on a tab. Place them all in a notebook or on your refrigerator, spread out so that they’re easily accounted for. These meals will be the building blocks of a weekly meal plan for your family.
Chart It Up
If you went with sticky tabs, create a chart with a column for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Add rows for each day of the week. This layout allows you to easily account for each meal and snack you’ll be responsible for throughout the week. Although there are often occasions where you’ll go out to eat, it’s always better to have a plan that you stray from than to have no plan at all.
Organize the Days
Now, decide which meals should fall into which slot. When this process is completed, you should have a planned dish for every meal and snack throughout the week. When you get home from work, it’ll be so easy to just check the meal chart and start cooking. You also won’t have to worry about changing the meal halfway through preparation, as your family can see the meal plan. You can even collaborate on the plan before the week begins to avoid any arguments. As a bonus, this is an excellent way to teach the kids about balance and nutrition!
Check the Diet
Ever wondered if you’ve been giving your kids enough nutrients? This meal planning system makes it easy to keep your family’s diet (or, more often, diets) in check. You can easily outline and implement your family’s dietary needs with a structured meal plan. Also, seeing the meal plan spread out before you will make it easy to find places where leafy greens can be best disguised.
Shop and Prep
No more opening the fridge on a Wednesday night to find an empty milk carton! When you know what dishes you’ll be preparing a week ahead, you can easily buy everything you need from the grocery store in one go. Go through your meal chart and make a grocery list of all the items you’ll need for the week. After purchasing them, you can even prep for the meals ahead of time. Maybe a lot of your meals require chopped veggies or peeled fruit. Maybe you have to soak some lentils for another dish. Finishing the prep work for multiple meals once or twice a week is a huge time saver.
Of course, not everyone has time to meal prep or plan. That’s where Market Table comes in! Our freezer meals and prepared dishes offer options for the whole family — just pop them in the oven and have a healthy, delicious meal in no time. Stumped when it comes to lunch? We’ve got you covered there, too: you can pre-order and pick up our Light Lunchboxes, saving you time and sanity.
Fourth of July cookouts are one of the best ways to make fun out of the summer heat. There’s no better way to bring people together than with food. Whether you’re at the beach, the pool, or in your own backyard, consider incorporating these elements into your 4th of July cookout party.
Cook on the Grill
There’s a certain smoky aroma associated with the 4th of July, and it isn’t the smell of your uncle burning his eyebrows with cheap fireworks. Nothing beats being outside while the air is filled with the fragrence of food grilling over a fire. Cooking on the grill is key to throwing the best 4th of July party. The menu wouldn’t be the same without authentically grilled hot dogs and burgers.
If you are throwing a party with both kids and adults, you might want to try splitting up the menu accordingly. Kids love burgers and hot dogs, but the adults might prefer something a bit more special. One great idea is to light a fire pit for the kids. Give them skewers so that they can grill their own hot dogs. While this does require supervision, your kids will have a blast — and learn a little about cooking, too.
Branch Out with Your Menu
For the adults, you might want to try one of our premium cuts of steak. We also offer a variety of prepared sides, including summer BBQ classics like potato salad and pasta salad. Best of all, our pre-prepared meals give you more time to spend with your family. You could also consider adding in a shrimp boil. These are fun, tasty and they look amazing spread out on tables! Add a personal flare to your menu with different 4th of July recipe ideas.
Don’t Forget the Sweets
The most important sweet treat of this holiday isn’t a dessert at all—it’s watermelon! Watermelon is the best summer fruit. Its slight sweetness is not too overpowering for the summer heat, making it perfect for your cookout. Another key sweet treat you must include in your cookout is banana pudding. This classic dish is served cold, which makes it apt for the hot summer months. It’s also a fan favorite amongst the kids.
Make Your Own Ice Cream
As if banana pudding and watermelon aren’t enough, we have one more dessert option for you. There’s something special about the taste of homemade vanilla ice cream. Buying an affordable ice cream machine and putting your kids to work is a great way to enjoy this great taste while keeping your kids occupied and having a blast. To top it off, set up a topping bar so that guests can customize their homemade ice cream bowls.
Text by Martha Kendall Custard
Looking for something to replace the classic margarita this summer? Want to go beyond the average strawberry daiquiri? These five cocktails are the perfect fix to spice up your life while keeping you cool this summer.
Boozy Sour Watermelon Slushies
Are you a fan of Sour Patch Watermelons? If so, this is the drink for you. With the mixture of Sour Patch Watermelons soaked in vodka, lemonade and sprite, these booze-filled slushies are sure to be a hit at your next cookout.
This sunset-themed drink puts a spin on the classic Tequila Sunrise with a little bit of rum. The beautiful combination of lime garnishes and an orange juice mixture will make you feel like you’re looking at a sunset.
By adding blackberries to the mix, this sweet yet tarty drink adds a fruitful twist to your average mojito. The extra step required of this drink is to muddle blackberries in a bowl and add them on top of your mojito at the end.
A fan favorite, Bahama Mamas are a must have this summer. The mixture of various tropical juices and flavored rums will make you feel like you’re in paradise in the comfort of your own backyard.
This frozen strawberry drink is sure to be your go-to for the summer. Blending rosé, strawberries, vodka and ice, this slushy is sure to keep you cool and hydrated while lounging out by the pool.
With these delicious cocktails, there’s no need to resort to your average wine coolers this summer. Keep cool and relaxed this summer with these quick-and-easy cocktail recipes. They are sure to be a hit at your cookouts or by the pool.
With the kids out of school and summer in full swing, we put together a few healthy frozen treats to cool everyone down on any hot summer day. These treats are easy to make and utilize natural sugars and healthy sweeteners. Enjoy!
Strawberry Watermelon Homemade Popsicles
Homemade pops are a favorite healthy treat on those hot summer afternoons. The key to any good ice pop is the mold. You can find a popsicle mold just about anywhere, but we love Nopro’s ten-pop mold (Amazon, Walmart, Target). The pops look store bought and are easy to remove. For the strawberry watermelon pops, you need two cups of strawberries, two cups of watermelon and one the juice of one lemon. Combine all three ingredients in a blender and blend until they are liquified. Fill the molds and freeze for four to six hours. And there you have it – a sweet summer treat with only natural sugars. This will make 10 pops.
Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bark
Here’s another frozen treat to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. You will need a sheet pan that can fit in your freezer. We suggest lining it with wax paper before you begin for easy cleanup. Grab a large container of your favorite plain yogurt and mix it with a tablespoon of vanilla. Pour the yogurt directly on to the pan, evening it out slightly with a knife or spoon. Add fruit directly to the yogurt. Get creative with your combinations! Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries make a good combo as does kiwi, pineapple, blueberries and strawberries. Freeze the bark as-is for four to six hours. Slice and enjoy! For a fun twist, add granola and raisins or used flavored yogurt.
Lemon Raspberry Sorbet
This easy sorbet recipe doesn’t even require an ice cream maker! Simply blend together one cup of frozen raspberries, one-half cup of water, and one-half tablespoon of lemon juice (add a bit more if you like it tart). As these are blending, slowly add up to one-third of a cup of raw honey. This will add a natural sweetness. Taste it regularly as it blends until you reach the desired flavor. Then freeze until the desired consistency is acquired. This only makes one serving but the recipe is easy to double (or triple!).
And there you have it: three quick, easy, and healthy desserts your whole family will love — even the picky eaters! Wondering what’s for dinner, now that dessert is covered? These frozen desserts are the perfect treat to complete a meal begun with one of our fully-prepared freezer meals or meal kits. The One Pan CBG (Chicken, Bacon, and Green Beans) meal kit and the Vegetarian Lasagna freezer meal are both staff family favorites.
Text by Amy Haupt
National Cheese Day may technically be over, but the celebration is never finished at Market Table. That’s why we’re happy to give you another chance to catch our CEO Laurel Mills talking about the wonders of a cheese platter on WBRC Fox 6 News.
You’re going to have some serious cravings after watching, but thankfully, we’ve got your back. At Market Table, every day is National Cheese Day.
What’s meal prepping? The idea is simple: you plan and prepare ingredients for the coming week’s meals. This could be as small as cutting veggies or as much as making a whole meal beforehand. It’s a simple and easy way to make meals effortless — and it’s easy to get started.
If you want to start meal prepping, planning is key. Put together recipes for the meals you want to eat this week. Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. Go grocery shopping in advance, perhaps on a Saturday so there’s no pressure. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your ingredients. For instance, if you get a can of beans that’s more than one serving, try finding a good way to use the rest. This article offers ten options for leftover beans.
Cover the basics
Once you have recipes and ingredients, do as much in advance as you can. Cut vegetables, season meat and put whatever you can into food storage containers. A good rule of thumb: prepare the ingredients enough so that the actual meal only takes ten minutes to make. That way, you’re not taking up too much time or effort and you’re eating well. Ideally, you can just microwave one bowl and eat it. Sometimes that doesn’t work out, but as long as your meals are easier to make, then you’re benefiting from meal prepping.
Prep for your health
Prepping is a great way to make cooking easier, but also to make meals healthier. Try making a larger meal for lunch. Make your dinner simple and healthy. This is a great way to stay fit. Your body is better at digesting and burning off what you eat for lunch since you do more after eating. Use a template to keep yourself motivated and prevent burn-out while scheduling recipes. Also, plan for nights you want to eat out or to use leftovers from another meal. Try to have a few back-up recipes that you can make with no hassle in case your meal prep gets ruined. It happens to everybody!
Make the most out of it
The great thing about meal prepping is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Here at Market Table, we do the prep for you with our Light Lunchboxes. Not only are they delicious, but they can fit any diet. Our Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowl is packed with flavor and it’s gluten-free. The Cilantro Lime Chicken with Cauliflower Rice makes for a tasty paleo– or Atkins-friendly meal. You can pre-order our Light Lunchboxes by Wednesday at 6 p.m. and pick them up on Sunday. And if you need a fast, last-minute meal fix, we’ll always have some options in-store.
Text by Cameron Sullivan