Meal Prep, Uncategorized

Meal Prepping 101- Lunch

Meal Prepping 101

I’ve been cooking for so long now and preparing healthy foods that I get a lot of questions from family, friends and those on social media regarding my meal prepping. I’ve been doing it on and off for probably 2 years now. Honestly, it really is the best way to try and stay on track eating wise or to even just reduce the stress of figuring out your breakfast, lunch or dinners during the work week. In this post, I will give you some tips on how I meal prep and what foods I make for lunches. Keep in mind this can be altered to your preferences of food style (low carb, high protein, vegetarian etc) and likes and dislikes.

You can meal prep your lunches for just the work week or for the full week (including weekends.) I typically only do the meal prep lunches Monday through Friday.

The first thing I do when I’m meal prepping is make a list of what I want for the week. I usually pick 2 proteins, 2 carbohydrates and 2 vegetables and then I choose the cooking style. I try and keep the meal as balanced as possible. Sometimes I will omit the carbohydrate and double the vegetables.  Frozen vegetables can be an alternative to making them fresh just to cut down on time.  I don’t ever use canned vegetables for my meal prep, however if you choose to use canned make sure that you use the no salt option otherwise it’s loaded with sodium.

The possibilities for foods are endless, here’s just an example of some of the foods I use.

Protein:
Chicken
Shrimp
Pork
Ground turkey
Fish

Carbohydrate:
White or Brown Rice
Potato
Sweet Potato
Quinoa
Couscous
Beans

Vegetables:
Broccoli
Zucchini
Brussels Spouts
Peppers
Asparagus
Cauliflower
Butternut Squash
Cabbage
Mushrooms
Avocado
Tomatoes
Kale
Lettuce (Of any kind)

After I decided what I’m going to make I decide how I’m going to cook the foods. See below for 6 meal examples.

Example:

Meal 1: Marinated grilled chicken breasts, grilled peppers and onions and baked potato

Meal 2: Baked turkey meatballs, diced sweet potato and steamed broccoli.

Meal 3: Roasted pork tenderloin, Brussels sprouts, and roasted new potatoes

Meal 4: Sautéed shrimp, white rice and asparagus

Meal 5: Baked fish, couscous and a lettuce salad or tomato salad (Note: Cold items will need to be in a separate container)

Meal 6: Taco Salad Ground Turkey, Lettuce and toppings

I usually pick 2 meal ideas and prep that for the week. Keep in mind, you can interchange the cooking methods. Let’s say it’s Sunday and you are all ready to meal prep grilled chicken and it’s pouring rain with no end in sight, just throw the chicken in a crockpot or bake in the oven.  Just be ready to change it up if needed.

For me personally the food containers are so important I’ve bought several meal prep containers over the years. Just check out containers online there are tons of them.  I prefer the 3 opening containers the best, personally.

If your goal with meal prepping is healthy eating and not just convenience I’d suggest getting a scale and weighing your food or measuring out what you eat.  It’s very easy to just over fill an opening in a meal prep container.  All the pictures featured on this post I did just that. I measured out the couscous and weighed the sweet potatoes and the chicken and so on.

I do really enjoy meal prepping. It makes life so much easier.  It will take up some time on your Sunday depending on how complex you make your meals.  However, you won’t regret it.  The work days will come and you will love how easy it is go just grab your prepped meal and be on your way to work!  One thing I can say is don’t over think it.  It shouldn’t be stressful. So don’t stress!  Just do what is easiest for you at that time.  There have been plenty of times I’ve added chicken to the crockpot with salsa and then just baked sweet potatoes and used a frozen broccoli.  That’s okay. It’s going to happen, life gets in the way sometimes and you can always tweak it to your lifestyle.

Stay tuned for some of my favorite recipes for my meal prep.

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Pork Tenderloin, roasted butternut squash and steamed broccoli
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Taco Salad with ground turkey, salsa, cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce and tomatoes.
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Crockpot lemon chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli.

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Pork tenderloin, white rice and grilled peppers and onions.
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Tenderloin, broccoli and butternut squash.
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Chicken, sweet potato, brussel sprouts or broccoli
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Turkey Meatballs, broccoli and
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Greek grilled chicken, tomato cucumber salad with red onion and feta topped with tzatziki sauce and couscous.
Breakfast, Easy & Quick, Healthy

5 Ingredient Healthy Bagels

You may be hearing about these easy healthy bagels.  They are made with very few ingredients and low in calories, fat and smart points.  I decided to make them last week and made again yesterday.  I’ve done it 2 different ways and I wanted to share with you what I did.  You will see so many variations out there of this recipe. This is just what I did.

I loved them so much I could probably eat them every single day.  So delicious and makes me feel guilt free as they are healthier and only 3 smart points per bagel.

5 Ingredient Healthy Bagels

Ingredient:
1 cup Greek yogurt, nonfat and unsweetened
1 cup flour (if self-rising flour, omit the salt and baking powder)
¾ t of salt
1 ½ t of baking powder
1 egg, beaten

Toppings, optional:
Everything bagel seasoning
Sesame or poppy seeds
Cinnamon & sugar (Will add more points/calories)
Cheese (Will add more points/calories)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°.  In a bowl mix together the Greek yogurt and the flour.  Mix well until if forms a dough.  Knead the dough a few minutes.  Add flour to a flat surface and roll dough into a ball and cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope and pinch both ends together to create a bagel shape.   Place on parchment paper and brush with beaten egg then top with desired toppings.  Bake in oven 20-23 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool prior to eating. Then Enjoy!

Note: I have done the method where you boiled the bagels first then baked them. Honestly, it didn’t taste or come out any different to me.  The 2nd time I made them I baked for about 22 minutes.  Each oven is different so the time and temp may vary.  Some people cook at a lower temp for longer or a high temp for shorter.  You can also add the broiler to help crisp up the bagels.  I haven’t done this as mine have come out fine.  If you can wait to eat them, wait till they are cooled.  I’ve eaten right away both times and the insides felt slightly gummy, however they didn’t taste gummy at all.

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Breakfast, Brunch, Uncategorized

Biscuits & Gravy

Happy 2018, Everyone.  I hope you all have a wonderful new year.  This morning for breakfast I made biscuits and gravy.  I figured that was a good way to start the new year.  It’s a surprisingly simple.  There are several variations of this dish.  I prefer my gravy a little thicker with less pepper.  You can really customize this to your liking.  Here’s my recipe.

Biscuits & Gravy

Ingredients:
8 Biscuits, cooked
1 lb roll pork sausage
3 cups milk
1 t-1 T pepper (more or less depending on taste)
1/2 t salt
3-5 T flour

Directions:  In a medium saute pan cook the sausage.  Add in flour gradually and mix well. Let cook 3-4 minutes stirring often.  Add in 2 cups of milk and mix well. Then add rest of the milk and let cook.  3-4 minutes while the gravy starts to thicken.  Season with pepper and salt and mix well.  Cook to desired thickness.  If needed add more milk to thin the gravy.  Cut biscuits in half and spoon the gravy mixture over the biscuits.  Serve immediately.

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Comfort Dish, Easy & Quick, Kid Fun, Starters

Puff Pastry Hot Dogs

Talk about a fun appetizer or quick fun dinner.  These puff pastry hot dogs are quick to make and simply delicious.  This is sure to be a hit at any gathering.  You can cut the hot dogs in half to make smaller ones vs the full hot dogs.  Check out the recipe below.

Puff Pastry Hot Dogs

Ingredients:
8 hot dogs, any kind
1 sheet pre-made puff pastry, thawed but cold
1 egg
Sprinkle: coarse salt
Mustard for serving

Directions: Preheat oven 400. Roll out puff pastry to make it slightly bigger.  Pat dry the hot dogs.  Using a knife or a pizza cutter cut into half inch strips.  Using 2 strips of the puff pastry wrap the hot dog, slightly overlapping.  You can also just use thicker strips of the puff pastry if you’d rather.  Place on a greased baking dish.

Once all the hot dogs are wrapped place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes for the puff pastry to slightly chill again.

Whisk egg in small bowl.  Remove the hot dogs from the refrigerator and brush the puff pastry with the egg and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake in the oven 20 minutes until golden brown.  Serve immediately with a side of mustard.

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Dips/Spreads, Family Recipes, Starters, Uncategorized

Dad’s Clam Dip

I’m going to talk as about my Dad a bit.  I got my ability to throw together a great dish from him.  He was very good at just putting ingredients together and coming up with something that tasted amazing.  He didn’t always write down his recipes (also something I got from him.)  So, when he passed away unfortunately, there was a lot of dishes we wished we had the recipes for.  One was his clam dip.  It’s so good and something I never liked at first and now I love.

I know it sounds weird  but it is simply delicious.  One day I had decided to try and remember the taste and just started experimenting with ingredients.  I was able to make it and the taste was just like when my Dad made it.  I was so happy I was able to recreate it just like his.

I wanted to share the recipe with my followers.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I.

Dad’s Clam Dip

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 10 oz cans chopped clams (drained, reserve 1 T of liquid)
1 t salt
1/2-1 T Dill (More for topping)

Directions:  In a medium bowl add in the cream cheese.  With a fork smash the cream cheese for 2 minutes to soften more.  Add in the sour cream and mix well.  Next add in chopped clams, the reserved liquid and the Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.  Season with the dill and salt. Mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.  Add more dill if you’d like.  I like extra dill.  Sprinkle dill over the top of dip to serve.  Serve with your choice of chips or crackers.

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Beef, Holiday

Garlic and Herb Prime Rib

One of my favorite beef roast to make is Prime Rib. We always have on Christmas Day and I wanted to share with you my recipe and method of cooking.  It’s such a wonderful cut of meat and when prepared the correct way can be simply amazing.  It’s great for an elevated meal and really is rather simple to do.  Just watch the temperature as to not overcook it.

Give it a try! This is a perfect meal for a large or small dinner party.  Enjoy!

Happy New Year!

Garlic & Herb Prime Rib

Ingredients:
6-8 lb bone in prime rib
1 1/2 sticks soften butter
6 garlic cloves, grated
1 T dried parsley (or fresh)
1 T dried rosemary (or fresh)
2-3 t kosher salt

Quick Horseradish Sauce

Ingredients:
1 cup sour cream
3-4 T horseradish (more depending on taste)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450°.  In a small bowl mix together sour cream and horseradish, place in refrigerator until ready to use.  Pat the roast dry .  Season liberally with salt.  In a bowl mix together butter, garlic and herbs.  Evenly spread/massage the butter mixture over the entire roast.  Don’t forget the sides.  Place in oven safe pan and bake in oven for 25 minutes at 450.  Reduce heat to 325° and the cook about 12-14 minutes per pound.  Start with less time vs. longer time. You can always cook longer but there is no coming back from over cooked prime rib.

For medium rare you want the temperature to be 120°, for medium you want temperature to be 130°.  When you remove from the oven and let rest the meat should rise up another 10 degrees or so.  The final temperature for medium rare will be 130° and for medium 140°. Let roast rest at least 25-30 minutes before carving.  Serve with horseradish sauce and your choice of sides.

Notes:  This recipe will work for any size prime rib.  The length of time cooking at 325° will be less for smaller roasts and longer for bigger roasts.  Feel free to use other herbs to season the meat with.  I forgot to get fresh herbs and dry herbs worked just fine.  Really let the meat rest as this will help the meat come to final temp and be extra juicy.  Make extra horseradish sauce if your like me and LOVE IT.

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Bacon, Holiday, Seafood

Baked Scallop Gratin

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  In my family we always do seafood on Christmas Eve.  We are Italian and it’s been a tradition for as long as I can remember.  I made this scallop dish and it was a hit and super delicious and rather simple.

Scallops are one food item I have gotten a lot of questions about.  People are worried about overcooking the scallops.  That’s a common thing actually.  If you are searing them, it’s a hot pan for 2-3 minutes on each side.  You want the inside glistening when you cut into it.  For these they are baked an take a little longer.  There is so many different ways to use scallops.  Check my recipes for seafood and you’ll find the scallop tacos.  They are to die for as well.

For now, check out this upscale simple recipe!

Baked Scallop Gratin

Ingredients:
4 oz prosciutto or par-cooked bacon, minced or rough chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2- 2lbs bay scallops, rinsed, dried and mussel removed

Topping:
1 stick butter, soften
¾ cup plan panko breadcrumbs
3 T fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
3 T olive oil
2 medium shallots, small diced
¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
2 t kosher salt
1 t pepper

Directions: Heat oven 425°.  In a medium baking dish add the wine and top with the scallops.  In a medium bowl add all ingredients for the topping and mix well till incorporated.  I used a fork to mash the butter and get everything fully mixed. Add mixture evenly on top of the scallops. Sprinkle with prosciutto or bacon.  Bake in oven 12-16 minutes.  Serve hot. Feel free to serve with bread for dipping in butter mixture.

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Breakfast, Holiday Baking, Sweets

Mom’s Banana Bread

Ever since I could remember my Mom has been making banana bread.  I remember the smell of the house while it’s baking.  So amazing.  She always makes it around the holidays and we use to have it when we opened our presents on Christmas morning before we had breakfast.  It’s become a favorite of mine and I wanted to share it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Mom’s Banana Bread

Ingredients:
3 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 t soda
3 C white sugar
4 eggs
4-5 bananas, overly ripened and mashed
1 T lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions: Add dry ingredients to a large bowl.  Make a well and add in wet ingredients and mix well.  Pour into greased and floured mini loaf pans.  Fill a little over half full.  Bake in oven 350 for 1 hour until top is golden brown.

 

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