Last week, I shared a bit about how I came to the decision to start preparing my meals ahead for the week. The first step is deciding, so if that’s where you are, it’s a great place to be! Over the next few weeks, I hope to share some tips and time savers that helped me get started, along with my menu and recipes for the week.
Tip #1 is invest in some sectioned containers. Yeah, I know it all mixes together in your stomach, but the compartments help in many ways aside from creating boundaries against food miscegenation. Compartments virtually take all the guesswork out of portion control. I know that the small section on my 3-compartment bowls fits about 1/2 cup of any substance comfortably…maybe 3/4 cup if I’m tamping it down and sitting on the lid to get it closed. I still weigh and measure if I want to know the exact amount, but I have a pretty good estimate even without going to those lengths. Secondly, I’m betting that most of us who decide to meal prep have enough compulsiveness in our personalities that we will not leave an empty section. Therefore, we have a ready made reminder to add more veggies to our diets to fill that empty space on our plates.
Now that we’ve established that we need containers, a word on choosing wisely. Choose washable containers (for reuse) with clear lids (for easy identification) that are stackable and sold as a 10-pack or more. This is not the time for fancy glass bowls. I have those, and I love them. However, my meal prep containers are the variety that are sturdy enough to go several rounds with the dishwasher but cheap enough that there is no weeping when constant use causes inevitable wear and tear. Here’s a link to some containers that have worked for me. I purchased 3-compartment bowls, 2- compartment bowls, and rounds (for burrito bowls and “one pan” dishes).
Now, here’s the menu for this week:
Thai Chicken Thighs with jasmine rice, sesame ginger bok choy & steamed edamame
This was my first time using baby bok choy outside it being including in salad mix. As advertised, it’s similar to cabbage with a slight twist. It steamed easily and paired well with the sauce.
Miso Salmon with jasmine rice, stir fried kale and red cabbage & steamed edamame
I asked the staff at the meat counter to cut the salmon to about the size of your palm…I should have specified whose palm I meant! The salmon filets ended up being about 8 oz, when I was shooting more for 6. They almost didn’t fit in the compartment!
Chicken Cobb Salad in a jar with Lentil Soup
Jar salads are easy to make and keep your greens fresh and crisp for nearly a week. For these salads, I made a Greek yogurt based ranch dressing, then layered bacon, boiled egg, grape tomatoes, and avocado with mixed greens at the top. As long as you have “wet” ingredients near the bottom, you’re good to go!
Spinach Spaghetti and Meatballs with Parmesan roasted broccoli
Ingredients for meatballs:
- 1 lb grassfed beef
- 1 lb mild Italian Sausage
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp oregano
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 chopped red onion
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 container of marinara sauce
Directions: Mix all the ingredients above except the sauce. Roll into 1-2″ balls and place on grease broiler pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning once. Add fully cooked meatballs to a pot and simmer in your marinara sauce of choice. Sometimes I get fancy and make sauce…this time I used Prego Farmer’s Market Marinara. Affordable, fast, only 7 grams of sugar, and full of ingredients I can pronounce!
Ps. I also make these with ground chicken or turkey sometimes, but you make need some bread crumbs to hold it together and get the right consistency.
Parmesan crusted tilapia over jasmine rice with Parmesan roasted broccoli
Have a great week, and stay tuned for next week’s menu and meal prep tips!