Today it’s time to chat meal prep. Especially because of the New Year, every time hop on Instagram, I see post after post of containers filled with healthy food for the week – cue instant overwhelm! I  And while I don’t technically meal prep all of my meals in advance (I rarely have 2-3 hours free on a Sunday to spend in the kitchen nor do I want to put all of my meals in plastic containers to reheat) I do like to prep elements of my meals to speed up the process on those busy weeknights! I call it lazy meal prep. I avoid the overwhelm of doing it all at once but when it is time to get dinner on the table my cooking becomes a whole lot simpler!

So here’s my method.
1- I look at my meal plan for the week and identify any of the ingredients that can easily be prepped in advance.

2- I will probably spend about 30 minutes in the kitchen on Sunday prepping my lunches for early in the week.

3 – I choose 1 element for my Monday night dinner and prep that as well (so for example if I am having Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi with Lemon and Asparagus AHP016 I would throw the squash in the oven and roast it up while I am doing something else around the house or while I am cooking my Sunday night dinner so when Monday rolls around dinner is on the table in 20 minutes instead of 60). Monday night when I am making the scampi I will go ahead and put my lentils for Tuesday’s Chicken with Marinated Lentils AHP233 into the rice cooker so Tuesday evening I can get dinner on the table a little faster (get it yet?).

4 – Whenever I have a little extra time I will pre-chop veggies. So say Tuesday evening I have some extra time in the evening and I know Thursday I am having Cajun Chicken with Peppers and Rice AHP280 I will go ahead and pre-chop the onions and peppers and store them in glass Tupperware to help save time and clean up for my busy Thursday!

5 – I will typically double one or two recipes each week (especially soups) so I have leftovers!

6 – I also like to cook extra protein like chicken or salmon so if I am cooking two why not cook four to have for lunches or to add to meals.

Some of my favorite prep ahead ingredients.

Best reheated in the oven:
– Potatoes / Sweet Potatoes
– Brussels Sprouts
– Cauliflower / Broccoli
– Bone-In Meat
– Winter Squash
– Carrots / Parsnips

Best reheated with a splash of water on the stovetop!
– Quinoa / Farro / Barley
– Brown and French Lentils
– Cauliflower Mash or Mashed Potatoes

Best Reheated in a Skillet
– Cabbage
– Sauteed Greens: Kale, Collards, Swiss Chard
– Shaved Brussels Sprouts

Best Prepped ahead without reheating.
– Massaged Kale
– Lentils or Grains for Salads

Veggies that can be cut in advance and cooked as needed. 
– Zucchini Noodles
– Mushrooms
– Greens: Kale, Collards, Swiss Chard
– Bell Peppers, Carrots, Celery (store in water to keep crisp)
– Butternut Squash

Don’t Prep Ahead.
– Cooked Zucchini Noodles
– Dressed Salads
– Prechopped potatoes
– Cooked Spinach

So there you have it! How I meal prep in a nutshell. It’s a skill so don’t feel overwhelmed. Start small, try to add in one or two prep ahead elements into your week and see how it works for you!

Now it’s time to take action. Head on over to the facebook group and share what you’re prepping ahead this week!

And if you do find you have a little extra time here are some of my favorite prep ahead recipes!

 

Happy Cooking

xo

Kate

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