Meal Prep, vol. 6

Background:

Teachers are some of the busiest people I know and frequently sacrifice doing things for their own well-being (like making home-cooked meals) in order to make the best lessons and classroom environment for their students.  In an attempt to manage my work-life balance, force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night, I’ve decided I’m committing myself to cook 3 meals each Saturday morning to last me through the week.  Each evening, I’ll quickly make a side to go with it (steamer veggies, minute rice, fruit, etc.).  I hope that posting these compilations of recipes will help other busy people of the world.

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The Recipes:
Total Active Time = 30 hrs

This week is mostly a leftover week.  I have frozen about half of what I’ve cooked for the last few weeks, so now it’s time to eat it up.

I have leftover:

Recipe #4: Spicy Thai Noodles
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 30 min (5 min prep, 25 min cook).

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I made a lot of tweaks to this recipe (Mr. T doesn’t have the spice tolerance that I do), but it really was a winner and it was SO easy! I’m bringing this for lunch this week!

Since I made so many tweaks, I’m including my copy of the recipe that has been all marked up.  I also added some chicken to “beef up” the meal. 😉 I forgot to mark it on the recipe, but I didn’t strain the pepper flakes out of the oil.  I’m not fancy enough to have a strainer small enough to catch the pepper flakes.  I figured I’d just use less, since I wouldn’t be straining it out.  I will definitely be making this recipe again!  Easy and tasty! I think it’ll taste great cold, too!

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Meal Prep, vol. 5

Background:

Teachers are some of the busiest people I know and frequently sacrifice doing things for their own well-being (like making home-cooked meals) in order to make the best lessons and classroom environment for their students.  In an attempt to manage my work-life balance, force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night, I’ve decided I’m committing myself to cook 3 meals each Saturday morning to last me through the week.  Each evening, I’ll quickly make a side to go with it (steamer veggies, minute rice, fruit, etc.).  I hope that posting these compilations of recipes will help other busy people of the world.

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The Recipes:
Total Active Time = 3 hrs 30 min

Recipe #1: Copy Cat Madras Lentils
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 45 min

I frequently buy these delicious pouches from Costco, which are SUPER DELICIOUS and are perfect for those “I need a quick lunch that’s also super filling” moments.  I like to serve this on top of rice and it’s just comfort in a bowl.  I don’t think I got a 100% perfect match on the recipe, but it’s very close flavor-wise.  I think the original recipe uses darker lentils than are sold in the stores in my area.  I have really lightly colored ones.

Despite how delicious the lentils are pre-packaged, they cost nearly $12 for an 8 pack at Costco, so that’s not something I want to be buying all of the time.  That was my major motivation for trying to copy-cat the recipe.

 

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Ingredients:  

  • 1 16oz bag of lentils
  • 2 TBSP of olive oil
  • 1C finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP of shredded and lightly dried ginger
  • 1 16 oz can of low-sodium kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1C water
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP of cumin
  • 1/2 TBSP of garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger powder
  • 1/4C of heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add the lentils and cook for 15-20 minutes under reduced heat.  While the lentils are cooking, finely chop the onion and jalapeno pepper.
  2. Strain lentils and rinse with cool water to prevent further cooking.
  3. In a deep frying pan on medium heat, add the olive, onion, and jalapeno pepper.  Cook until the onion has become translucent and the peppers have softened.
  4. Add the butter and the ginger.  Cook for a minute or two until fragrant.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients.  Mix well.
  6. Simmer mixture for 10 minutes, mixing occasional.
  7. At this point, alter any seasonings to meet your preferences, if necessary.
  8. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture for 30 seconds – 1 minute, depending on the consistency you desire.
  9. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
  10. Serve on top of rice.

As a side note, this recipe made a TON of food and was really cheap to make!  If you’re looking to make a ton of food and you’re on a tight budget, then this recipe is perfect for you. I froze half of the finished recipe straight away to eat at a later date.  I also googled it, and apparently heavy whipping cream freezes well.

Recipe #2: 40 Clove Chicken & Cream Sauce
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Time: 1 hr (10 min prep, 50 min cook).

Instead of using 40 cloves, I used 20.  Don’t get me wrong, I like garlic, but 40 just sounded like a LOT.  Even with 20 cloves, there was still a lot of garlic-y flavor (I used garlic from a jar that was pre-chopped).  I also Hogue Chardonnay and it tasted great, which is a high praise for someone who’s not a wine fan. My only basis for picking it was it was white wine (like the recipe called for) and it was cheap.  If you know more about wines than I do, you may have a better pick.  Also, for this recipe I went on my FIRST EVER trip to a liquor store to by a whopping 4 TBSP of brandy (less than what comes in one mini bottle).  I’m really living the crazy life, right?! Lol. One mini-bottle of brandy cost $1.75.

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A pro-tip: I bought a sour-dough baguette and it tastes DELICIOUS dipped in the sauce.  The sauce in the recipe has an extremely strong flavor, which I think would be tasty over linguine pasta.  I think it’s a bit sour on it’s own or directly on the chicken, but somehow when it gets soaked in bread, it tastes much more balanced.  In the future, I will remake this without the potatoes (I’m not really crazy about them), half the brandy, and I’ll add cooked linguine pasta in the end and shred up the chicken thighs a bit.  I plan to add the chicken back after the pasta and sauce have been well combined so that the chicken doesn’t get quite as much sauce.  I have a feeling I’d like the recipe much better with those tweaks than as-is.  (PS: I sill plan to include the bread to dip in the sauce.  Always include the bread!).

Recipe #3: Easy Baked Spaghetti 
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 1 hr (20 min prep, 40 min cook).

This recipe was easy but nothing super special (it’s spaghetti, but a bit more time consuming). That said, if you like spaghetti (who doesn’t?), you’ll like this recipe.  This is the recipe that I plan to eat for lunches this week.  I could definitely see myself making this again.   (I forgot to take a picture before I took a bite…woops!).

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Meal Prep, vol. 4

Background:

Teachers are some of the busiest people I know and frequently sacrifice doing things for their own well-being (like making home-cooked meals) in order to make the best lessons and classroom environment for their students.  In an attempt to manage my work-life balance, force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night, I’ve decided I’m committing myself to cook 3 meals each Saturday morning to last me through the week.  Each evening, I’ll quickly make a side to go with it (steamer veggies, minute rice, fruit, etc.).  I hope that posting these compilations of recipes will help other busy people of the world.

meal prep logo

The Recipes:
Total Active Time = 2 hrs

Recipe #1: Mississippi Roast
Difficulty Level: 0/5
Time: 8:05 (8 hr cook on low, 5 min to shred and remove fatty pieces).

This recipe is insanely easy to make and truly falls apart by the time it’s done cooking.  When I make this again, I will probably make it again with unsalted butter because I am a bit sensitive to salt.  I think the main saltiness factor comes from the pre-packaged mixes (ranch dressing mix and dry onion soup mix).  That being said, I don’t think the average person would have any issue with the salt in here.  As recommended, I’m eating it as a sandwich meat filling.  I think it would also go well with potatoes.

Recipe #2: Potato, Pepper, & Sausage Casserole
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 1 hr and 35 min ( 20 min prep, 1 hr and 15 min cooking).

This is a recipe that I made on the fly a while ago, and it was tasty and EASY.  You can season it however you like. I like it because you can serve it as a side or eat it alone for lunches.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 28-oz package of frozen Potatoes O’Brian from Orieda (diced potatoes with onions and peppers)
  2. 1 4-pink (12 oz) package of Italian chicken sausage (I am picky about sausage, but I love this one).
  3. 1 cup chopped onion (I used white)
  4. 2 cups chopped bell pepper (I like to use a mix of colors, but I don’t think it’ll really matter)
  5. Salt/pepper to taste
  6. 3-5 cloves of garlic, to taste.
  7. 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  8. 3 tbsp of olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle 1 T of olive oil onto a 9×13 casserole dish.
  3. Add all ingredients except for the sausage.  Mix well with hands.
  4. Cook for 1 hour.
  5. Mix well, and taste.  Update seasonings to taste at this point, if needed.
  6. Add the sausage (cut up into bite sized pieces).
  7. Cook for 10 more minutes.

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Recipe #3: Egg Roll Bowls
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Time: 45 min (25 min prep, 20 min cook).

An edit I made was to use about 2 Tbsp of honey into the mix.  I also used pre-shredded “angle hair” cut green cabbage, which made this recipe even easier!

I made this recipe last week and loved it so much I made it again as a double batch!  SO delicious.  I packaged this up into 5 Tupperware containers for lunches this week.  I put 3/4C of brown rice with about 1/2 C of the meat and cabbage mixture.

 

 

Meal Prep, vol. 3

Background:

Teachers are some of the busiest people I know and frequently sacrifice doing things for their own well-being (like making home-cooked meals) in order to make the best lessons and classroom environment for their students.  In an attempt to manage my work-life balance, force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night, I’ve decided I’m committing myself to cook 3 meals each Saturday morning to last me through the week.  Each evening, I’ll quickly make a side to go with it (steamer veggies, minute rice, fruit, etc.).  I hope that posting these compilations of recipes will help other busy people of the world.

The Recipes:
Total Active Time = 1 hr, 15 min

Recipe #1: Crockpot Potato Soup
Difficulty Level: 0/5
Time: 4:05 on high or 8:05 on low (3 min prep, 4-8 hr cook, 2 min to blend).

This recipe was modified from the one found on StatTeacher blog.

Crock Pot Potato Soup
Ingredients:

  1. 1 32-oz box of low sodium chicken broth
  2. 1 28-oz package of frozen Potatoes O’Brian from Orieda (diced potatoes with onions and peppers)
  3. 1 18.5-oz can of  Progresso’s Chicken & Cheese Enchilada Soup
  4. 1 8-oz package of cream cheese
  5. (optional) 1 crock pot liner, so you don’t have to clean up!

Directions:

  1. Dice the cream cheese into small cubes.
  2. Dump all ingredients into a crock pot.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  5. (optional) Use an immersion blender to lightly blend the soup to give it a creamier consistency.  I like to leave a few potato chunks in it.

Recipe #2: Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Bell Peppers 
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 1 hr and 15 min (15 min prep, 60 min cooking).

Easy to make and tasty! I will probably make this again.

Recipe #3: Egg Roll Bowls
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Time: 45 min (25 min prep, 20 min cook).

An edit I made was to use about 1-1.5 Tbsp of honey into the mix.  I also used pre-shredded “angle hair” cut green cabbage, which made this recipe even easier!

I LOVED this recipe! I wish I made a double  batch!  I served it over rice and it was SO good!

 

 

Meal Prep, vol. 2

Background:

Teachers are some of the busiest people I know and frequently sacrifice doing things for their own well-being (like making home-cooked meals) in order to make the best lessons and classroom environment for their students.  In an attempt to manage my work-life balance, force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night, I’ve decided I’m committing myself to cook 3 meals each Saturday morning to last me through the week.  Each evening, I’ll quickly make a side to go with it (steamer veggies, minute rice, fruit, etc.).  I hope that posting these compilations of recipes will help other busy people of the world.

The Recipes:
Total Active Time = 2.5 hours

Recipe #1: Lentil Soup
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 1 hr (20 min prep, 35 min cook, 5 min to blend).

This recipe is very tasty and SUPER easy to make.  As a note, this recipe called for 1/2 tsp of “grains of paradise,” which I couldn’t find at my local grocery store, so I substituted 1/2 tsp of black pepper.   This recipe makes a TON of soup, so I am going to freeze half of it to eat for later.  Also, if you have an immersion blender USE IT! (It’s so much easier to use than a regular blender, when making soups.)

Recipe #2: Taco Stuffed Bell Peppers
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Time: 45 min (25 min prep, 20 min cooking).

Easy, tasty, and quick.  Load them with your favorite toppings!  I also enjoy to drizzle a bit of green Cholula sauce on it.  Serve with a side of rice for a complete meal. This was my favorite recipe of the bunch, and I see myself making it many times in the future!

Recipe #3: Shredded Beef & Carrots Pot Roast
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 7 hours and 20 min (15 min prep, 7 hours cook, 5 min to shred).

It was…okay.  I won’t be making it again, but it wasn’t bad.