I got back on the meal prep train this week, and it made a huge difference in my after-work frame of mind. When I’ve planned and prepped ahead of time, cooking can be relaxing, even if I come home from work super-hungry. It’s when I don’t have a plan that I spiral into a hangry snack attack monster the second I walk in the door.
Having a plan was extra-necessary last Friday.
Friday: I got home from work starving, but had done some brainstorming on my drive home, and walked into the kitchen with a plan: saute all the veggies in the fridge (which ended up being a pound of baby bella mushrooms YUM) with garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes, toss with linguine, slightly smashed white beans, and vegan parm (My boyfriend has a dairy allergy, for those of you that don’t know). I added frozen green peas to the pasta at the last minute and served it with broiled salmon.
It was on the table in thirty minutes and it was the perfect Friday meal: quick, didn’t require a trip to the store, and a little fancy-tasting. I ate it with a side of Real Housewives.
Saturday: I’ll often make a big meal for lunch on the weekends with the intention of leftovers carrying us into workweek lunches. I made my own riff on this awesome street chicken and rice recipe from BuzzFeed. I served the chicken and rice with shredded romaine and sliced yellow tomatoes on the side, and instead of the yogurt sauce, I thinned hummus with cashew milk and red wine vinegar.
For dinner, I had a ✨magical✨ slice of pepperoni pizza at Pizza Bar. (Also, I ate this pizza before I saw 98 Degrees perform. Yes, you should be jealous. They were incredible.)
Sunday: For lunch, I had the most delicious salad I have ever eaten. Promise. Romaine, green onion, avocado, yellow tomatoes, nectarine, pistachios, pepitas, leftover salmon, and balsamic vinaigrette.
My sister and I tag-teamed a taco bar dinner. Ground turkey, black beans, flour tortillas, and all the extras. She made brown butter blondies that KILLED. I brought this single-serving flourless peanut butter cookie for G, as brown butter is one of those things that doesn’t have a dairy-free alternative.
Monday: After a heavy weekend (hello pizza, tacos, and dessert), I wanted to start the week with lots of veggies.
I made corn and zucchini chowder (subbed the half-and-half for full-fat coconut milk and smoked paprika for the bacon), grilled chicken breasts, and sliced cantaloupe.
Tuesday: leftovers! I was exhausted after a stressful day at work, and G didn’t get home until 7:30 or 8, so it was seriously the best feeling to have a fridge full of prepared food that I could just reheat.
Wednesday: I made Potsticker Noodle Bowls from Iowa Girl Eats, and, wow, it was yummy. I used brown rice noodles and ground turkey instead of ground pork.
For a side, I roasted cauliflower and okra until they were brown and crispy, and whisked mayo, sweet chili sauce, and chili garlic sauce together for a dipping sauce. I found a red bell pepper in the depths of the produce drawer and sliced that up too. That sauce, though, was the real star. G stirred some into his noodles.
🌟Hot tip🌟: When I really have my planner hat on, I’ll prep the kitchen for dinner in the morning: group ingredients together in the fridge and lay out the pans and dishes I’ll need. It probably doesn’t save me a lot of actual time, but it streamlines the process in the evening, which I usually need post-commute.
Thursday: I went out with some girlfriends for sushi and drinks, but wanted to be sure Grant had Thursday dinner and Friday lunch, so I made this tandoori quinoa and chickpeas in the morning before work. It was so quick, maybe 30 minutes, and a lot of it was simmer time. I ate breakfast and enjoyed my coffee while it finished.
Breakfasts: Breakfasts were good this week, you guys. (Besides the usual Ezekiel toast and green smoothies, which were obviously tasty.)
Sweet potato “oats”: On Sunday afternoon, I shredded a few raw sweet potatoes in the food processor. In the mornings, I threw a big handful of the shreds, cashew milk, and half a banana into the microwave for five minutes, then topped the bowl with sliced banana, hemp hearts, coconut shreds, jelly or honey, nuts, etc, etc, etc.
Banana-egg pancakes: Yep, just mashed banana and eggs whisked together and fried up like pancakes. I’ve made these forever, but I tried this recipe, which adds almond meal and baking powder to the egg and banana. These ingredients added a little more structure.
Lunches: leftovers and salads, nothing too exciting, except for a perfect farm stand cantaloupe.
Have a good weekend, friends!
What did you eat this week? Any recipes I need to add to my rotation? Are there other things I could share to make these posts more useful?
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