Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekly Meal Prep 101

A few months ago, I wrote a post about my weekly meal prep. The post has been quite popular and is still getting re-pins. I have also received several emails from “quiet” readers about the post as well as my meal prep pics on Instagram and my Facebook page. Here is an old meal prep photo:

Meal Prep 1027

I thought I’d write a follow up post to show you how I turn all the food I prep into lunches and dinners throughout the week.

In a typical week, I prep the following:
  • A large pot of soup – our current favorites are curried carrot soup, lentil soup, roasted butternut squash soup, and potato/leek soup.
  • A protein – usually either ground grass-fed beef or ground turkey sautéed with vegetables.
  • Roasted veggies – There are always veggies to roast in our CSA box, and I also pick up veggies to roast at the Farmers Market each week. I simply clean the veggies and cut them into bite sized pieces and then roast them at 375 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the veggie. Our favorites are Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beets, green beans, and sweet potatoes.
  • Legumes: I try to cook beans from scratch most weeks. I usually cook beans in the slow cooker. I wash and sort the beans (to removed small stones, etc.) and then soak them overnight. Then I use 2.5 times the amount of water to dried beans (in cups), a chopped onion, 1 teaspoon salt and Tabasco each and spices (1/2 teaspoon each pepper, cardamom, turmeric, red curry, cumin, etc.) and cook everything on high for 4.5 hours.
  • Sautéed veggies – I usually make a quick stir fry with bok choy and other veggies. Lately, we also enjoy sautéed mushrooms a lot.
  • Spaghetti squash – When spaghetti squash is in season, I make one pretty much every week.
  • A grain – usually quinoa, brown rice, or black rice. I don’t eat any gluten-containing grains, and we don’t eat a lot of grains, certainly not with every meal, and often not every day. However, I often add some rice or quinoa to my soup to bulk it up a bit. If I don’t add a grain, I usually add a grass-fed beef sausage.
  • Fruit – I also make fruit cups with fruit that’s available at the Farmers’ Market. For the last months, we have been eating a lot of persimmons, but the season is now over. Right now, we still get awesome grapes.
  • Veggie bags – I try to mix it up a bit every week. Possibilities are carrots, celery, bell pepper, jicama, cucumber, radishes, cherry tomatoes….
And this is how I turn all the prepped food into lunches and dinners throughout the week. Here is an example from last week:

  • Salad with roasted veggies & sautéed ground turkey with mushrooms (x 2)
  • Lentil soup with grass-fed beef sausage
  • Spaghetti squash/asparagus/turkey bowl – I assemble everything in a glass container with a lid and season it with a little Tabasco (x 2)
  • Gluten-free and grain-free homemade mushroom pizza with roasted asparagus and green beans on the side. The pizza crust was from the Against All Grain cookbook .
  • Grilled mahi mahi with roasted asparagus & green beans
  • Rice and beans with sautéed mushrooms on the side
  • Quesadillas filled with ground turkey and sautéed mushroom
  • Lentil soup and a salad
I have planned meals for years, but since I am pre-cooking a lot on Sundays, life is a lot less stressful. There is always something to eat in the fridge, which is great when everyone comes home starving. Also, a cup of soup or some veggies with turkey make a great, healthy mini meal or snack.

Finally, we went on a beautiful nature hike on Saturday. If you follow me on Instagram or like my Facebook page, you’ve probably already seen it. Since Andy and I also went on a neighborhood walk in the morning, we walked over 20,000 steps.

Nature Hike

Questions: Do you plan your weekly meals? Do you precook food on the weekend (or on another day)? What was the highlight of your weekend? 

Be well,