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Creative/Healthy Recipes for Meal Prepping!


by Marla Murphy September 11, 2015

My husband’s work schedule is rough to say the least! Don’t get me wrong, I know he loves what he is doing but his schedule is physically and mentally exhausting and healthy food (that is reasonably priced) at the hospital is non-existent, especially at 2 am! What type of dietitian would I be anyway if I let my husband eat crap all day long?! #practicewhatyoupreach So I have recently taken it upon myself to make some super easy premade meals for him that not only taste good but will give him the proper nutrition and energy he needs to work/function on his schedule. These meals would be absolutely perfect for ANYONE in the working world but I like to double up on Ryan’s portions so they can last him a meal and then some! We could easily just throw some grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and brown rice in a container and call it a day but can you say BORING?!!! I like the idea of putting love and effort into his lunches that way when it is 2 am in the morning and he finally gets a chance to sit down and eat he also is getting a little reminder that he is not alone and that I love/support him 100%. I am not sure if this is anything he ever thinks about but I know I do! So let’s get to those easy recipes! Time saving tips:
  1. When making the protein, get them all cookin at once! Chicken gets baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, ground beef is getting sautéed on the stove and the sirloin steak cubes are getting sautéed on the other burner. This will help you cut down on the time you are actually in the kitchen.
  2. Line up the ingredients for the recipes next to THAT burner. For example I will line up everything that is going to be going in the Chinese stir-fry next to the burner so that way it is impossible to forget an ingredient, this also helps with clean up and staying organized, once I use an ingredient it goes back into the pantry or fridge.
  3. Cut all the vegetables up before you start cooking and keep them in separate containers. A lot of the time when I can cooking I don’t always measure out one cup of vegetables, if I chop up a larger onion I know that will roughly equal 2 cups so once the onion is chopped up I put it in a small container and grab a handful as I see fit for a recipe. That way I am not cleaning up a bunch of measuring cups and once again I can stay somewhat organized and clean.
  4. Reuse and use ALL of the vegetables! To help save money (and time) I will make recipes that use similar ingredients (like onions, bell peppers, and zucchini) so I don’t have anything leftover and I don’t have to cut up 10 different vegetables, this is also where the smaller containers come in handy!
  5. Batch cook the starches! I always make double rice and double pasta because those items don’t go bad very quickly so even if I don’t use it all that day I can use it for other recipes! It is better to make too much than not enough!
Simple Asian Stir-fry: 

IMG_4024 Add a little bit of olive oil (or sesame seed oil for more of an authentic asian flavor) to the pan and add in a handful of chopped bell peppers (any color works, I just used yellow because that is what I had) and onions right in with the sirloin. IMG_4029 When the meat is almost done cooking I added in 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of sesame seed oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds. Then add in 1-2 leaves of kale or spinach (if you have it) and sauté until everything has been thoroughly cooked and well combine. Remove from the pan and pour in a container over a bed of brown rice. IMG_4036 Remove from the pan and pour into a container over a bed of brown rice (I usually give Ryan about 2 cups of brown rice so it will last him 2 meals but if you are cooking for yourself just use 1/2 cup - 1 cup of brown rice. 

Asian Stir-fry 
Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 min 
Cook Time: 30 min 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound sirloin steaks, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 leaves of kale, hand shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • 1 cup of brown rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups of water
Instructions
  1. In a pot on the stove, add 1 cup of brown rice and 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until cooked. Meanwhile, on a skillet on the stove, heat up 1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil add in the chopped vegetables (besides the kale) and the sirloin cubes to the skillet, sauté until almost completely cooked then add in the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and kale, sauté until thoroughly cooked, remove from heat. Then in a container add the brown rice (about 1/2-1 cup) then top with the sirloin and vegetables, add the other tablespoon of sesame seeds and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you are prepping all these recipes together then you will have leftover rice to use for the Mexican stir-fry (don't let the nutrition facts on this recipe scare you it doesn't know how to factor in the leftover rice)!
calories: 487
fat: 19g
protein: 35g
carbs: 41g

Mexican Vegetable Stir-fry: 

IMG_4026 Chopping up the vegetables and NOT shown the chicken breast, it went in the oven for 25 minutes on 400 degrees - without seasoning.  IMG_4043 In the skillet they go! IMG_4046 This is an awesome diced tomato sauce that one of my clients/friends told me about so I thought I would give it a try! WOW! is it ever amazing! The flavor is perfect for mexican inspired dishes and even italian dishes too! IMG_4054 Once the onions, zucchini, and bell peppers were softening I added in the sauce with the black beans (organic canned that I drained and rinsed). Sautéed until well combine and then remove from the heat and set aside. When the chicken breast was finished cooking I removed from the oven and placed the chicken whole in my kitchen aid mixer and shredded the chicken until it was done! Then (since I made about 4 pounds of chicken) I took about 2 cups and put that in a smaller bowl and mixed in a little bit of salt, fresh lime juice and cilantro! 

IMG_4103 For option one: I used 1 cup of brown rice, 1 cup of the sauce and 1 cup of the shredded chicken. IMG_4122 Option 2: I used 2 handfuls of the blue corn organic tortilla chips on the bottom, one cup of sauce and 1 cup of shredded chicken for healthier nachos! 

Mexican Stir-fry
Serves 4
Prep Time
10 min 
Cook Time: 15 min 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of chicken breast
  • 1 cup of brown rice (use from the asian stir-fry if meal prepping all recipes)
  • 2 cups of water (use from the asian stir-fry recipe)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup of San Marzano Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can of organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • juice from 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees then cover a baking dish with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray, add the chicken breast and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (depending on how thick the chicken is). If the brown rice isn't already cooked add the brown rice and water to a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and set aside. Meanwhile, add the vegetables to the stove and sauté until soften then add in the black beans and diced tomatoes, stir until well combine and cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Once the chicken is finished cooking add the chicken into a food processor, hand mixer or kitchen aid mixer and shred until you get the consistency you desire. Add in the lime juice, salt and cilantro, stir well! Then in your container add a layer of brown rice, a layer of the sauce and then the shredded chicken, top with more cilantro if desired and serve!
Notes
  1. for option 2: instead of the brown rice I will layer the bottom with organic blue corn tortilla chips for his carbohydrates.
calories: 389
fat: 6g
protein: 40g
carbs: 43g

 

Our last recipe: Italian beef sauce with pasta! (I east as good about taking photos for this one so bare with me)! 

IMG_4057 Into the skillet went a green bell pepper, chopped onions and lean ground beef. Sauté everything until the meat is cooked thoroughly and the vegetables have soften, then add in 1.5-2 cups of pasta sauce (I just use the organic 365 whole foods brand- marinara sauce). At the same time I boiled quinoa pasta (Ryan loves plain pasta but sometimes I worry there is zero nutrition there so I found these quinoa pasta noodles with a little more fiber and protein which I loved!) The quinoa noodles are pleasantly tasty and they even seem to be more hardy than regular pasta so these were a 'win' in our house! Add 1 cup of the meat sauce in a container over 1 cup of quinoa noodles and you are done!! IMG_4123

Spaghetti meat sauce with quinoa pasta
Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 min 
Cook Time: 20 min 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of quinoa pasta
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
Instructions
  1. In a skillet sauté the ground beef and vegetables until thoroughly cooked, then add in the garlic, onion powder and marinara sauce. Cook until well combine remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, in a pot bring water to a boil then add in the quinoa pasta and cook for 8 minutes, until done, drain and set aside. In your container add a bottom layer of pasta then top with the meat sauce, enjoy!
calories: 383
fat: 16g
protein: 26g
carbs: 31g

 

Honestly from start to finish this prep took me two hours total (which included taking photos and somewhat stylizing things). We got 5 LARGE meals out of this for Ryan's week of being on night-call but if I was making these meals for myself I think I could have gotten at least 4 meals out of each recipe (12 meals total) since I used over 2 cups of rice, 2 cups of pasta, 3 pounds of chicken (only used 1 pound for the recipe and froze the rest), 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound sirloin steaks. So these three recipes could easily be used to prep for a whole week of lunches and even dinners! What do you think? Do you like these recipe options? Which one is your favorite? Have a great weekend!  Love,  Marla




Marla Murphy
Marla Murphy

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