fast meal prep for sunday.
does Sunday have you thinking about your week ahead? same here! it also has me thinking about how I have little to no time to be cooking (odd for a food blogger…) but true, and don’t want to sacrifice eating well. healthy food is a MUST for me, so this idea for a blog post stemmed my need for fast meal prep based on my crammed schedule right now and the fact that I don’t love spending all day portioning out food in containers.
Ok, here’s a glimpse of what I’m juggling currently…
kaleinit.com // instagram (I feel silly saying it, but there really is more to it than you’d think…fellow foodie accounts can I get a kale yeah?)
GOOD: The Society, keeping up with daily group discussions, posting to the associated social media accounts, and now coming up with entirely new materials for the Winter Season.
GOOD: A Wellness Festival – Loving every second of planning the FIRST wellness festival in Philly. but the emails… and outreach… and meetings… just. don’t. stop.
Spending a couple days a week in the kitchen at a local vegan restaurant coming up with specials for customers who appreciate gluten free, vegan and organic cooking.
let me preface with…I’m NOT bitching right now. in fact, I’m feeling over the moon excited with the projects I’m working on and the opportunity to do so. #blessed, but actually.
But a typical work day includes multiple meetings a day with vendors, potential sponsors, speakers and internal meetings with the GOOD team (aka… Jess), a shitload of emails, food to make, then photograph, then edit, then write about (which I’m totally slacking on lately) coming up with creative ideas for the next post, managing comments and “engaging” on the gram, heading to Heart Beet Kitchen to do some recipe testing, OH – AND working on assignments for my plant based cooking certification for Rouxbe Cooking School.
I know you’re all nodding your heads whether you’re a student, entrepreneur or mom.
because we are ALL busy AF, and we all want to enjoy every precious minute of our weekend. for that reason, I’m bringing you fast meal prep. 5 things prepped for your week ahead, all complete in 1 hour or less. in fact, I bet you can even do the dishes in that hour, too. let’s get to it… the timer starts…NOW.
first, get roasting.
roasting the veggies will take the longest time. I suggest roasting this time of year because the flavor is just so good, and they will keep in the fridge for a few days. Just heat and serve.
since we are on the clock pre-heat your oven and get chopping those veggies asap. next season them with sea salt, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, black pepper…. whatever you like! And a high smoke point oil, like avocado oil because roasting temperatures are hot, hot, hot and make sure veggies are well covered by the oil.
I love brussels sprouts in the fall, and I’m also a huge fan of cauliflower roasted rather than steamed. I also like to chop and roast some red potatoes because they work well with hot sauce and tofu scramble for breakfast, tossed in a salad for lunch, or as a side for dinner.
choose what you like and shoot for 2-3 different veggies.
additional tips: use parchment paper for less mess, mix the veggies in oil and seasoning in a separate bowl then transfer to baking sheet, (why? excess oil makes them more soggy and less evenly browned), and go nuts with herbs and spices rather than a ton of salt.
second, cook the grains.
once those veggies are popped in the oven, get to boiling the water. if you want to be even more efficient put the water on at the same time as the oven. damn, we’re on a mission with this fast meal prep.
next cook some quinoa (it’s fastest) or brown rice. don’t season it. I say that because it allows you to change the flavors throughout the week. below I have an example…
simple side dish to a protein with garlic, sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice on Monday
mexican burrito bowl base with spices on Tuesday
filling of a Mediterranean wrap with quinoa, hummus, artichoke and bell pepper on Wednesday
see, you get the gist.
third, prep some smoothie packs.
this is my no BS approach to smoothies. I believe frozen ingredients are best because a luke-warm smoothie is kinda… bleh. adding a ton of ice is an option but I find it waters it down.
so throw the following in a ziploc bag…
2 handfuls of greens, handful of berries, 1/2 a banana (or 1/2 cup of zucchini if you’re watching your sugar). repeat 5x and stick those bad boys in the freezer.
in the morning add the liquid base plus any superfoods you love. Spirulina, cinnamon, chia seeds, and almond flour for protein are my favorites.
bonus points: mix up different flavors of smoothies to alternate during the week. if you’re not into smoothies or need something more, stir up chia puddings or overnight oats in mason jars. I don’t suggest making more than 2 at a time, however. they are best when made the previous night.
four, blend up a sauce or dressing to keep things interesting.
not gonna lie the healthy “staples” like salads and grains, beans and roasted veggies can be a bit bland. I like to prepare a dressing or sauce every week to have for days. It could be a vegan caesar to drizzle on salad or a maple tahini dressing to jazz up buddha bowls and wraps. I made this one for the Fall Season of the GOOD Society.
prep this next, because on average the time it takes to measure ingredients, then blend and or whisk together, takes a total of 10 minutes.
five, do a snack inventory.
ok, this one is more for peace of mind. I like to look and make sure I have the basics for snacks, and enough of them. sometimes I’ll even pre-pack my snacks in bags, or throw them in my purse for the next day when I’m mindlessly running out the door. I make sure I have things like…
7 pieces of fruit (at least) like apples or oranges, washed and cut veggies for dipping, enough protein bars to get me through the mid-morning pick me ups, raw almonds, a homemade snack like these chocolate coconut energy bites, etc.
This “planning” is mostly for accountability. when you take the time to portion out snacks and have a plan of attack when you are tempted to aimlessly graze or have a snack attack, you’re less likely to grab something in the office break room or in line at Starbucks.
check the time. did we make it within an hour? You just prepped a grain base with endless uses, veggies that will force you to get your greens each day, smoothies to fuel your mornings, and even dressings and snacks….
now cherish the remainder of your weekend, and if you’re anything like me right now, enjoy the hustle of working toward something you love.