Food Prep is Key!
This is a subject that can make or break a family routine. Food prep and old fashion planning. Think about it, when we run short on time – we grab something that is quick – either already prepared (i.e. fast food or carryout) or quick-to-prepare foods (i.e. boxed/frozen). Both of these options are full of sodium and offers up a heaping helping of what I like to call a “chemical shit-storm”. Yes, its easy – it saves us time, and sometimes money but we pay for these food choices in the long run with a big gut, poor health and overall lack of wellbeing.
Prep the Basics:
Noodles: Red or green Lentil noodles, veggie noodles, brown rice noodles. What ever strikes your fancy – make what you need for the upcoming week. Boil, drain, rinse with cold water and toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Place the batch into a sealable container or portion out into 1-2 cup containers.
Roast Vegetables: During the summer months, I love to grill piles of vegetables. During the winter months I roast them under the broiler in my oven. (See my recipe at the end of this post!) Once finished, split the batch into 2 cup portions. These will be great to throw over pasta (above) or salad. Sauté with a little more oil to make as a snack or side dish.
Quinoa: I make Quinoa in a rice cooker every week. 1 cup of dry quinoa to 2 cups of veggie broth. Portion into 1 cup containers. Toss into a baby spinach salad, Sauté with roasted vegetables (above), make quinoa salad by adding
- 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
- top with your vinaigrette of choice
- If you are into cheese, goat cheese crumbles are delicious with this combo!
Chop Your Fresh Veggies: As you are planning out meals for the week – think about the raw vegetables that will require chopping. This is often the thing that sucks up all of our time in the kitchen. I often chop the basics that I know I’ll use throughout the week: Onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melon, spinach, celery.
Example: If you are planning on making Asian salad, buy bagged cole slaw mix, or if its in season, a big cabbage and put it through your food processor and portion it off. Shred some carrots and make your dressing. This will allow you to make the salad in minutes later In the week!
Portion your Greens: When you are trying to incorporate salads into your daily menu, a quick trick is to chop and portion your greens of choice into 2 – 4 cup containers. When you are ready to make a salad, pull out a bowl of your portioned greens, and top with some of the veggies that you already prepped! Top with dressing and you just made a lunch or dinner salad in less than 5 minutes. Bam!
I have worked in many restaurants in my life, and every commercial kitchen has a “prep team” that chops, grinds and portions out ingredients for the upcoming day. This makes the kitchen efficient. Do the same in yours!
Roasted Vegetables Recipe:
Coarsely chop any combination of the following:
- Rainbow Carrots
- Peppers (all colors!)
Toss with the following mixture:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Freshly pressed garlic (1 – 4 cloves to taste)
- Fresh herbs (chopped and muddled) – “poultry blend” or Italian combo
- Salt (coarse) & pepper to taste
- Squeeze the juice from a 1/2 lemon over the mixture
- 1 Tbsp of honey – drizzle then toss.
Broil on 450 in a casserole dish for 20 – 30 minutes until the veggies look crisp and you can pierce the carrots with a fork – check and toss often to ensure the tips don’t burn.