My Secret to Painless Meal Prep

Meal planning was not something that came naturally to me. I mean let’s be honest what in heaven’s name is natural about cooking in the kitchen for hours on end, not to mention the amount of dishes you are left with afterwards?! I was a hater for sometime, not even going to lie.  I did not like the idea of meal planning, UNTIL….wait for it…

I found a way to make it work! I cooked a week’s worth of meals in 2 hours and now I want to share my method with you!

Whether you are a hater or have been converted into a meal plan lover, this article is meant for anyone and everyone who meal preps or wants to give it a try!

It seems the easiest way to explain how I did this would be to go in chronological order, so first step is the planning portion. What meals are you going to eat? This is obviously the most important step in the meal planning process.  My issue that I had with planning is I would get bored with the same food.  I have a taste for variety and eating the same meal 5 nights in a row would not fly with me.  Then I realized I could plan what I ate and that meal planning doesn’t necessarily mean the same meal every night.

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Tip 1: Plan for meals that can be interchangeable. Plan meals that use similar ingredients, but have different flavors.  For example, I used ground turkey, black beans, sweet potato and onions and made stuffed peppers for one dinner and took the same concoction added a little organic BBQ sauce and BAM! I had a BBQ lettuce wrap. Two totally different meals, but easy to make since I used similar ingredients. I also made a couple sides to pull for meals if I was looking for something different. I had broccoli and then a salad kit from Dole that was easily split into at least 3 servings. Similar ingredients and easy side dishes helped keep cooking time down to a minimum.

 

Tip 2: Cut it all up! If you are using any sort of veggie or fruit that needs to be cut.  Do that first.  I found that it was much easier to start cooking with having all my ingredients ready to go.

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Tip 3: Be smart about your kitchen appliances.  What are you making that needs to go in the stove? What can you make without using the oven? What will go in the fridge and what will go in the freezer? Where will I find the space to fit all these plastic containers? That last one was a serious struggle, LOL.  I went in order and started with breakfast items.  One dish was a yogurt parfait in a mason jar  ( which took 5 minutes) Second was an egg, black bean and cheese breakfast burritos that I was able to freeze and pull throughout the week.  Used stove top and counter space, total time: 20 minutes.

On to lunch and dinner. I made 4 servings of salmon and asparagus in the oven, made cauliflower chicken fried rice on the stove top, put the stove top on low so I could make a turkey wrap for lunch.  The way that I used my appliances helped cut down on time.  Even though this portion of the process took longer, I ended up with most of the cooking being done for the week.

Tip 4: Get healthy pre-packaged snacks.  This one helps cut down time tremendously! Some of my favorite healthy snacks are the individual size bags of skinny pop white cheddar popcorn, unsweetened applesauce, rice cake with Peanut Butter and snap pea crisps (wasabi ranch flavored to be specific). I also have halo top, which is my go to for desserts! It’s a protein based ice cream and the chocolate almond crunch flavor I bought was only 280 calories for the whole pint!  Not to mention, it does not have a watery taste, it has the consistency of creamy ice cream! In case you were not already aware, my excessive use of exclamation points translates to me highly recommending this product!!! <– There.. three more for the road…okay I’m done, I promise.

halo-top

 

These key points are what made it possible to make a whole week’s worth of meals in 2 hours and if I can do it, ANYONE can do it. Trust me. My last tip would be to stay patient, sometimes things don’t go the way you planned, but the work definitely pays off!  Coming home after work and NOT having to think about what I am going to eat or cook is priceless.  The extra time allows me to focus on other things like working out, walking my dog and writing blog posts of course! Meal planning has definitely given me a balance that I have been missing out on. I am thrilled to say that I am no longer drinking the hater-ade and have officially been converted into a meal plan lover.

Thank you for reading!  In case you wanted to see what meals I had and what each day looked like, I listed them all below!

Day 1 & 3:

Breakfast- yogurt parfait

Lunch-Turkey, spinach and cranberry pinwheels with a side of celery, apples and PB

Dinner-Salmon with orange fig glaze and garlic parmesan asparagus

Day 2 & 4:

Breakfast-Breakfast Burrito

Lunch- chicken cauliflower fried rice

Dinner-(day 2)BBQ lettuce wrap (day 4) stuffed peppers

Day 5:

Breakfast-scrambled eggs & turkey bacon

Lunch-left over salad (Dole Kale Lemon Vinagrette)

Dinner-Turkey Polish sausage and vegetable skillet

Sides/snacks: cooked broccoli, Dole Kale Lemon vinagrette salad kit, apple & PB, rice cake & PB, unsweetened apple sauce, skinny pop white cheddar popcorn, natural cheese and beef stick, celery, nuts and wasabi snap pea crisps.

Dessert: Chocolate Almond Crunch Halo Top!

Everything made was doubled for 2 people.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will be sharing some of the recipes I used for this meal prep!

 

XOXO

-The Mod Maven

STIR-FRIDAY!

First off, I’d like to say congratulations.  We made it to Friday! Welcome to the weekend everyone.  I have something delicious up my sleeve with this post, and you will not believe how healthy and yummy this substitute recipe is.

My boyfriend and I love to cook together.  In honor of Friday we decided to try a steak and veggie stir fry.  Me being the carb lover that I am decided to swap out the rice and use cauliflower as an alternative.  I have finally perfected the cauliflower rice to the point where I cannot tell the difference.  I will explain in detail on the steps to achieve this below.

Here is our grocery list for the stir fry:

-Flat Iron Steak

-Veggies: zucchini (1), Squash (1), onion (1), mushrooms (1 pckg), and cauliflower (1 head)

-2 eggs

-Garlic powder, Himalayan salt, and pepper to taste

-Allegro marinade (for steak)

-Makato teriyaki sauce (for veggies)

raw veggies-stir fry

 

Marinate steaks overnight to get full flavor.  Cut into strips and cook in a skillet until medium well (or whatever you prefer, I like a little bit of pink).

 

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Cut up the cauliflower and broil it in a pot with hot water for about 10 minutes until it is partially soft. (We don’t want it to be too soft because then you’ll end up with mashed potatoes instead of rice.)  Once it is ready, strain the water out.  Now this is the key to making successful rice!  My little secret..

Place the cauliflower back into the pot after water has been drained.  Mash cauliflower with a potato masher (works best) or a fork, until it has reached a rice like consistency.  Then place cauliflower rice in the middle of a clean kitchen towel.

 

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Wrap up the cauliflower and squeeze the excess water out over the sink.  Once there is hardly any water dropping this is when you are ready to cook the rice in a skillet.

 

water towel-stir fry

 

At this point, cut the remaining vegetables and cook in skillet on medium to high heat.  I use a little bit of coconut oil before putting veggies in the skillet.  Drizzle the teriyaki sauce over the vegetables, I use about 4-6 tablespoons.  After about 5 minutes add your cauliflower rice to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes.

 

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Add the two eggs and scramble them into the mix and add steak.  There you have it!  An amazing healthy alternative to stir fry!

 

finished product-stir fry

 

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

What substitute recipes work for you?! Let me know in the comment section!

XOXO

-The Mod Maven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Tooth Trickery

-Dedicated to all my sweet tooth people trying to be good-

Sometimes the need for something sweet creeps upon you like a festering little fly that won’t go away.  You try to ignore it, but it is literally flying in front of your face.  I also feel this way when I’m stressed and there is a lovely plate of cookies sitting in our work break room, or when I grocery shop and walk past the glorious bakery filled with sugary goodness.  I don’t think these feelings are something that will stop happening so, what do I do?

I TRICK MY BRAINNNNNNNNN!!! Yup, that’s right.  I fool myself.

There are going to be recipes you try that will never actually be the same as the real thing.  However, I have found the winning recipe that will end all your sweet tooth cravings and extra perk….it has healthy all-natural ingredients!

Chocolate Overnight Chia Pudding

Ingredients include:

-1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

-1/3 cup chia seeds (I used Mamma Chia Brand)

-2 to 5 tbsp of either raw natural honey/agave

-1 1/2 cups of almond breeze (I get unsweetened to keep sugar intake low)

-A pinch of cinnamon powder for taste

 

chia pudding

 

To make:

-Mix all ingredients in a bowl (whisk works best)

-Refrigerate overnight

-DONE! Ready to eat the next day.

It is so simple, and very tasty!  My last batch I made, I added a little light whip cream and sliced strawberries to the individual serving and it was like ordering a dessert at a restaurant.  Say farewell to your sweet tooth cravings!

Stay sweet,

The Mod Maven

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment, like and share with whomever your heart desires. (This is not a sponsored post.)