Meal prepping 101
My mom is visiting from Indiana and whenever she comes she wants to invite my neighbor over for beers and snacks. So, I invited her and 2 of my other girlfriends and we had a wonderful night of laughing, drinking and eating some yummy snacks I whipped up. Of course we ended up talking about my goals and dreams for this blog and what the content would be and it lead to a long conversation regarding what I do in terms of ‘meal prepping’ – how long it took, how complicated the recipes were, how long do the pre-cooked veggies last before they get gross etc. Since Sunday’s are my meal prep day anyway, I decided this was something worth sharing, so here it is! I do want to add that my recipes shouldn’t be taken too literally – if you are comfortable to increase the number of spices, substitute things etc., then feel free. I typically just use what I have and make it work. Now, for baking, that’s a different story and I usually follow recipes pretty closely for baked goods.
#1 – grocery shopping
I shop 1x a week and buy a mixture of meats (skinless boneless chicken thighs, ground turkey, maybe a chuck roast, ground beef..) Usually, I buy about 4 things of meat. Then I buy a bunch of vegetables including broccoli, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, zucchini, peppers, onions, a few bags of spinach or mixed greens, kale etc.) I also scan the isles for sauces that I would consider ‘clean,’ meaning they have a small list of ingredients, no sugar, and no weird sounding chemical names. This curry sauce pictured is a good example of what I’m describing. I also always have on hand quinoa, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. I will also pick up a bunch of fruit, fat-free greek yogurt and chia seeds. I also buy veggie stock and use this for braising and sautéing instead of oil.
Once you have all these things – it’s easy to put together delicious meals for the week. You do have to have a pretty well-supplied spice cabinet also garlic, olive oil, and coconut oil.
#2 veggie prep
Get out all your veggies and wash them. Get out your baking sheets, aluminum foil, spices you want, olive oil, and preheat your oven to 425 and adjust racks so that you can fit 3 cookie sheets in there at a time.
#3 veggie chop
Chop everything the way you would want to eat it. Put tin foil on your cookie sheets and put the veggies on the sheet, drizzle with olive oil, your spices of choice – I usually use salt, pepper, oregano, fresh herbs if I have them like type or rosemary. Then toss them to make sure the veggies are coated.
#4 veggie roast
Put them all in the oven and roast at 425 for about 15 minutes, you might want to turn them half way through.
Once they are done, let them cool and then put in containers and refrigerate. They will last for up to 5 days before they get weird. The picture here will last my family of 5 for about 3 days of lunches and dinners.
#5 meat prep
I normally am roasting a meat in the oven and have something going in the crock pot. So today, I had the boneless skinless chicken thighs and the curry simmer sauce pictured above. I chopped up a few carrots, an onion, and a couple celery stalks and put in the bottom of the crock pot. Then I added the chicken and then poured the entire jar of sauce on top.
Put the lid on the crock and set the timer to cook on high for 4.5 hours – Done! I would serve the chicken with some of the roasted veggies and some quinoa. Delicious, healthy and easy.
Today I also am roasting a whole chicken in the oven. It sits on top of celery, carrots, and onions. I chopped garlic and put all over the chicken along with a little olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and oregano. I bake it on 375 for about 90 minutes. We will eat the chicken with the roasted veggies and probably some baked sweet potatoes.
So all of this food pictured will probably last my family for 3-4 days. We eat this for dinner and also, my husband and I eat it for lunch. Some of the leftover roasted chicken, a few veggies, and some mixed greens would be a great lunch. When I get home from a long day of working, everyone is crabby and hungry, I just have to simply re-heat and serve and it doesn’t require any thinking or stressing about what’s for dinner. It is such a good thing to have healthy prepped food in your fridge so you are less tempted to wing it or get take out! It saves also saves us money on going out and making several trips to the store.
You can meal prep easily too, start out with buying a bunch of veggies, meats and just roast everything, package and refrigerate. Once you get the hang of it, you can explore more complicated recipes. Hopefully, you found this helpful!