Sunday, February 15, 2015

Meal prep Sunday and a recipe!

Let me start by saying that I do not enjoy cooking. It is work and nothing tastes as good as I think it should. I just don't have that magic touch. And if a recipe has more than 5 ingredients my brain fogs over and says, "NO!" So when I meal prep, I'm basically just making sure I have some food sorted into portion sizes ready to go as I run out the door!

Here's what I did this weekend to get ready for the week. First, I went to the store and stocked up on tuna and frozen veggies. No matter what happens (Snowpocalypse 2015?), I can always open a can and nuke a bag of Steamables.

I also like the Starkist Creations seasoned packets. The ranch flavor is YUMMY!
This makes me happy. So much healthy, so convenient!

Next up I cook a boat load of sweet potatoes. J eats about 2 every day and I eat at least 1/2 of one every day, so they are kind of a priority. Scrub them up, wrap in aluminum foil, in the oven for 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees. We like them really, really, soft.

Then I usually cook a big batch of some kind of protein, like chicken breasts or ground turkey breast. This week was two types of flavored chicken.

One crockpot had 3 pounds of chicken and 2 packages of Ranch dressing mix and the other had 3 pounds of chicken and 2 packages of fajita seasoning. I let them cook overnight on low and then shred them with a fork. After they have cooled, they get packaged into ziploc baggies in 4 ounce portions. 6 pounds of chicken breast will stock your freezer with a lot of 4 ounce portions!

I don't cook much, remember? I don't count any of the above as cooking. But I did make a homemade tomato sauce this weekend that I plan on eating with my chicken and veggies. It turned out pretty good, but I discovered that I don't really like basil. I've always disliked "sweet" pasta sauce, but I didn't know why. Now I know, it's the basil. (I'm kitchen ingredient ignorant). Strange huh, to be 37 and just figure out you don't really like basil. I mean, it's ok. But now that I can pinpoint what it is in a recipe I'm not crazy about, I can avoid it. 

Basil aversion or adoration aside, you will definitely want to try this one! I followed the recipe from A Beautiful Mess to make this sauce and it's pretty easy. If I can do it, anyone can.
 Saute some onions and carrots.

The recipe called for 5 cloves of garlic, but I LOOOOVVEEE garlic so I put about 7 in. Or 8. Or 9. 

Then 2 big cans of San Marzano tomatoes.
 (Here's where the basil sneaks in. It is already in the tomatoes. Next time, no basil!)

Then I added salt, pepper and thyme and let simmer for 40 minutes. The recipe called for 30 minutes, but I wanted it thick. 
It yielded about 5 1/2 cups (significantly less than the two quarts stated, but I did boil it down a lot). I put some of it over my chicken and froze them in individual containers. The rest I portioned out into 1/2 cup servings and froze.

I adjusted the recipe when I was making it (cut the oil used to just 1/8 cup, more garlic, more carrot, etc) from what was written, so my nutrition info came out to be

Per 1/2 cup
Calories 152
Fat 5.3
Carbs 23
Protein 4

It's going to be a nice change to have this in my freezer! 

I know that meal prep seems hard for a lot of people. But I don't cook and I figure it out. If you have a family to cook for and chase after, I understand it is more difficult. The solution then may be you prep for your breakfast, lunch and snacks and then eat with the family for supper. That's better than nothing! The big thing is to have a plan. If you don't plan, you eat whatever is available which 90% of the time is not going to help you reach your goals. 

If it is important, you'll find a way. If it isn't, you'll find an excuse. 

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