Meal Prep, Week Three

Meal Prep, Week Three

What Meals I Made for the Week of July 15th-July 21st

This week has started my marathon training journey…October is going to come fast.  My mileage currently is about 30-35 miles per week and will only increase in the next few weeks.  I usually run 5 days per week and cross-train two of the days (sometimes the same day after my runs).  I have one-two rest days per week to recover.

That means I’ll be posting more running fuel options that I choose before, during and after a run or gym workout.

Even though I cater these meals for my activity level, these meals are still healthy options for everybody.  Every one of my meal plans has recipes that are easy to try and not consumed with loads of carbs, calories or multiple ingredients.  Usually in my meals, I add a tortilla, pita or bread to my meal that you can opt out.

I decided to be “crafty” in the cooking world and come up with some new versions of recipes that are easy, affordable, less time-consuming and delicious!

Also… I’m human and I find it’s nice to see people make mistakes since in real-life, everything doesn’t always turn out perfect.  You’ll see this in one of my recipes.  You live and you learn…

What you’ve been waiting for: a look into the week!

 

Meal Plan

Breakfast (M, W, F): egg and avocado toast with banana

Breakfast (T, Th, Sat): fig and date granola parfait

Morning Snack (M, W, F): fig and date granola bites

Morning Snack (T, Th): kale, beet and carrot chips

Lunch (M, W, F): lemon-parsley bean salad

                   Side: pita chips

Lunch (T, Th, Sat): mediterranean-style cauliflower grilled cheese

                   Side: cucumbers and homemade hummus

Afternoon Snack (everyday): apple with peanut butter or sunflower seed butter

Dinner (M, W, F): eggplant parmesan lasagna bake with veggies and Nanny’s spaghetti sauce

               Side: bread with one tsp of butter

Dinner (T, Th, Sat): enchilada slow cooker quinoa

            Side: homemade tortilla chips and topped with avocado and salsa

John and I went out of town Friday-Sunday, so my meal-prepping day was off and had to be adjusted along with the meal plan for the week. We ended up eating at our family’s cabin all weekend and hanging out with friends Sunday evening, so every meal for the week didn’t start until Monday.

 

Now the recipes for these amazing food fixin’s!

 

Breakfast.

 

I prepared the first breakfast each day it’s planned because I purchased bread from a local bakery called Farrell Family. The task in making this is easy but cannot be prepared days in advance due to eggs not always staying good after awhile.

 

Avocado and Egg Toast
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Serving Size: 1 piece of toast, half an avocado and 2 eggs.
Prep Time: 1 minute or less
Cooking Time: 3 minutes

 

Ingredients:

-1 slice of bread, toasted

-½ an avocado, mashed

-1 egg, cooked however liked

 

Directions:

  1. Pop the bread in the toaster or toaster oven.
  2. While it is toasting, fix the egg. (I enjoy my egg poached and John likes his scrambled or fried).

((—-> To poach an egg

1. Boil water

2. Put an egg in a measuring glass then pour into the water.

3. Turn off the burner and cover the pan.

4. Let sit for three to four minutes.

5. Using a spoon with holes, scoop out the egg)).

***Scramble, fry or poach an egg. It all tastes good on avocado and toast.

  1. While the egg is sitting for three to four minutes, put the bread int he toaster.
  2. When both the egg and toast are done, spread the mashed avocado on the toast.
  3. Top with the style of cooked egg.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.

Eat with a slice of banana. Sometimes, I will add a spoonful of almond butter with my banana to give myself more protein and calories for my breakfast.

 

The second breakfast I fixed on Monday for Tuesday morning…

 

Fig and Date Granola
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This is one of my favorite recipes and something made often. I love it with greek yogurt and a banana, on top of my cereal or as an energy bite during a run. I even have made them into bars for a bigger serving portion. Dates and figs bind oats and almond butter together to form a sweet taste not needing honey or sugar.

 

I reference from this recipe but change it up to my own style and taste.

Servings: 24 energy bites; Serving Size: About 3 energy bites; Last two weeks in the refrigerator
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

-1-2 cups of pitted dates

-1-2 cups of de-stemmed figs

-1/2 cup almond butter

-1 cup quick rolled oats

-1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, optional

 

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor.  Process until crumbled (picture below)

***If want more of a granola to sprinkle on yogurt, add more oats

***If want more of an energy bite add less oats and more dates, figs and almond butter

  1. If making energy bites, roll the granola in a ball as pictured in the Tupperware below.

  1. Place in an air-tight container and keep refrigerated.

 

This recipe is awesome because you can add or subtract the ingredients to your liking and make a large amount or less amount depending on how your week unfolds.

 

Morning Snack.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday…Banana and a tablespoon of almond butter.

On Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday…I would eat a piece of toast with honey drizzled on top and sprinkle some cinnamon before I went on a run.  I would eat the granola for breakfast and not need a snack before lunch.  John ate crackers as a snack when it felt hungry.

Lunch.

 

I made the first lunch on Sunday afternoon…

 

Lemon-Parsley Bean Salad
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Servings: 6; Serving Size: About 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes

You can retrieve this recipe here.

This salad is perfect with pita chips and makes good, six serving portions for lunches.

I usually only use no more than two garlic cloves because I’m not a big garlic person.

I packed the servings in these kinds of containers so we wouldn’t have to guess how much of the salad we needed per day.

 

For the second lunch, I fixed on Monday afternoon because I had time…

 

Cauliflower Grilled Cheese Casserole
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I reference the recipe here but do my own thing as far as ingredients, amounts and making it more of a casserole dish.

Servings: 6 squares; Serving Size: 1 square
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

This time I made this recipe  into more of a Mediterranean-style dish.

 

Ingredients:

-1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

-2 flax eggs

-1/4 cup parmesan

-1-2 tablespoons dried parsley

-1-2 tablespoons dried oregano

-Salt and pepper, to taste

-About 6 slices of any cheese you like in a grilled cheese (this recipe I used crumbled feta)

-Toppings you desire (optional): spinach, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, etc.

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor. Process until smooth.
  3. Place into a bowl with flax eggs, parmesan and seasonings. Mix well to combine.

**The mixture should be dough-like (pictured below)

  1. Half the “dough” and place on the bottom of a greased baking dish.
  2. Top with cheese slices of choice and other toppings desired (pictured is with feta, red onion and diced tomatoes).
  3. Spread the rest of the “dough” on top of the toppings.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden. Turn on broil if want a little darker and a little toasted.
  5. Serve immediately with sides of choice.

 

The sides for this lunch meal…

Homemade Hummus
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I prepared my own version of hummus, which turned out successful.

 

Servings: About six tablespoons; Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Prep Time: 5 minutes or less

 

Ingredients:

-1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and de-shelled**

-Juice of half a lime (I didn’t have a lemon so I improvised)

-2 tablespoons of tahini

-1 clove of garlic

-2 tablespoons of water

-2 tablespoons of olive oil

-Salt and pepper to taste

**You don’t have to de-shell the chickpeas but it is highly recommended if you want a smoother hummus.

 

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food chopper or processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Put in air-tight containers and keep refrigerated

 

Beet, Carrot and Kale Chips
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Servings: Six servings; Serving Size: handful of each; Lasts 7 days in airtight container
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2+ hours

 

Ingredients:

-1 lb carrots, sliced thinly with skin

-1 lb beets, sliced thinly with skin

-1 bunch of kale, cut into bite-sized pieces

-1/2 cup of olive oil for the beets

-Olive oil to drizzle on carrots and kale

-Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Chop the beets, carrots and kale.
  3. Place the beets in a separate bowl.
  4. Pour ¼ cup olive oil on the beets with a tsp of salt. Let sit for ten minutes to get juices out.
  5. Drain the beets and rinse. Drizzle a little more olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Drizzle the carrots and kale in a separate bowl with olive oil and seasonings of choice.
  7. Place on a stone or pan, no need to grease since have the veggies have olive oil.
  8. Bake for 2 hours, flipping every 30 minutes; until crispy.**
  9. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. No need to refrigerate.

**You may want to bake longer than 2 hours to make them crispier.  The crispier the chips, the longer they will last not refrigerated.

 

John and I dipped the chips in the homemade hummus along with the cucumbers.  They are good without a dip as well.

 

Afternoon Snack.

I roasted some sunflower seeds in the oven and made a sunflower seed butter.

Here is the recipe!

Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter
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Servings: 10 tablespoons; Serving Size: One tablespoon
Prep Time: 5 minutes or less
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes depending on oven

 

Ingredients:

-2 cups sunflower seeds

-olive oil for greasing the pan

-food processor

 

Directions:

To roast the sunflower seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the sunflower seeds flat out on a greased pan.
  3. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned.

**They can burn quickly and not taste well so keep a close watch on these!

For the sunflower seed butter…

  1. Add the sunflower seeds to a food processor.
  2. Process until smooth as pictured below.
  3. Serve one tablespoon with an apple.

Dinner.

 

I made the first dinner on Monday…

 

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna Bake
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This is a recipe John and I have experimented with several times.  It has been a success the majority of the time and has become a replacement for our cravings of lasagna.

This time I added squash and zucchini to the sauce.

Servings: 8-10; Serving Size: 1 square out of 8-10 squares
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours (if using my Nanny’s sauce), 1 hour (if using store-bought sauce)

 

For the Eggplant Parmesan…

Ingredients:

-2 eggplants, sliced in 1cm thick slices

-1/4 cup parmesan

-1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

-1 egg

 

Directions:

  1. Crack an egg into a small bowl.
  2. Combine the parmesan and breadcrumbs in a separate bowl.
  3. Dip the eggplants in the egg.
  4. Dip the eggplants covered in egg in the breadcrumbs. Cover both sides.
  5. Repeat for all slices.
  6. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of oil.
  7. Cook the eggplants on each side about 2-3 minutes until brown.

I will have to admit, I messed up on this eggplant parmesan. I tried using a flaxseed egg instead of an egg because I did not have enough. The breadcrumb mixture would not stick to the eggplant properly. I ended up having to use too much oil in the skillet as well. John and I did not feel good after this meal.

It is better to bake the eggplants after you dip them in the mixtures at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

 

I used my Nanny’s own spaghetti sauce recipe…she usually uses 1 lb of Italian sausage and 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef, but I made this dish vegetarian.  You can always just use store-bought spaghetti sauce of your choice (I, sometimes, opt for Lovera’s tomato basil sauce; it is tasty).  

However, I like being able to incorporate some of my Nanny’s recipes into my dishes to have a fun memory about her and with her.  She loves hearing from me about how I make her things (she’s 96, blind and still cooks at her home…she’s a rockstar and such an awesome influence in my life).

Nanny’s Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
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Servings: 15-20; Serving Size: 1-2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 hours <–This can be shortened to 1 hour if not using meat and putting it in a casserole dish

Ingredients:

-2 yellow onions

-2 stalks celery

-2 garlic cloves, minced

I added a few other vegetables…

-2 squash, thinly sliced and halved

-2 zucchini, thinly sliced and halved

-1 large tomato, diced

-6 cups water

-2 12oz cans tomato paste

-2 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning (I usually do my own thing and do about ½ tsp parsley, ½ tsp basil and ½ tsp oregano)

 

Directions:

  1. Sauté the vegetables until tender and soft in a large pot. Mix in 3 tablespoons of flour.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for 4 hours, stirring often.

**I did not have time to let it simmer for 4 hours. It is mainly for better flavor. I find that it still tastes awesome after simmering for a little over an hour.

My Nanny’s recipe ends up making a ton and is freezable! It will still be good in the freezer for up to 6 months.

 

Now for the lasagna bake…

Directions:

  1. Add a spoonful of the sauce to the bottom of a greased 13X9 pan.
  2. Place the eggplant parmesan in one layer on the sauce.
  3. Spread 3 heaping tablespoons of ricotta on the eggplant parmesan.
  4. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese.
  5. Pour a few spoonfuls of sauce until covered.
  6. Repeat until the eggplant parmesan and ricotta are used.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  8. Turn on Broil and broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese is brown.
  9. Serve immediately with a slice of bread.

It looks delicious but if you change the eggplant from frying to baking, I believe you will have more success.

Also…John and I totally ordered a calzone from a local pizza shop in town Wednesday because of this mess up.  (oops!  But pizza is our favorite pig-out meal…so we weren’t too upset about it).

On Tuesday, I made the second dinner…

 

Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa
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You will need 4 quart crockpot for this recipe.

Servings: 6; Serving size: 3-4 heaping spoonfuls
Prep Time: 15 minutes (If using corn-on-the-cob and whole tomato and jalapeño), otherwise 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes for the enchilada sauce; 5-7 hours in the crockpot on low, 3-4 hours on high

I retrieved the recipe from here

I used 4oz of soft goat cheese instead of the cream cheese and fresh cut-off-the-cob corn. I boiled 2 corn-on-the-cobs for 10 minutes, drained them and placed them in cold water. I used a corn cutter that my mother got from Pampered Chef, but you can use a knife and cut the corn off the cob.

This is how the process looked for me…

I diced a whole tomato and one jalapeño (leaving some seeds for spice) instead of using a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles.

I add all the veggies and quinoa (uncooked) into the crockpot.

I made a homemade enchilada sauce instead of store-bought.  You can retrieve the recipe here.  Do not leave out the cinnamon, whatever you do.  It makes the meal, I promise.

I add in the beans, the sauce and all the cheeses to the crockpot.  I stirred to combine them, even though the recipe says to sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.  (It still turned out good!)

I served this with homemade tortilla chips. Recipe below.

Easy-Peasy Tortilla Chips Recipe
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Serving Size: 1 small tortilla or half a burrito-size tortilla
Prep Time: 0 minutes, just have to heat the oven to 350 degrees
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

-Whole wheat, flour or corn tortilla

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Set the tortilla in the oven on the top grate/shelf.
  3. Bake until brown, about 10 minutes
  4. Cut into chip pieces and serve.

**A healthier option would be the corn tortilla (also gluten free), but we had a lot of burrito-sized tortillas in our fridge, so I just halved them for each serving.

Due to my mess-up on the first dinner, we ended up eating this dinner Friday night and going out to eat Saturday.  It’s wonderful being able to feel great financially because we don’t eat out but once to twice per week.  John and I sat down and budgeted and this seemed like a reasonable goal for each week.  It may seem like a lot every week, for me to be cooking every meal for every weekday.  However, you will be amazed by the success I have seen in my lifestyle both physically, mentally and financially.  If you just do the dinners or the lunches, it will save you loads of money per year!  It’s crazy to think about when you think $7-10 meals aren’t too expensive until they add up yearly.

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I hope it was helpful with adding the serving sizes, prep time and cooking time to each recipe (at least how long it took me).  I also hope this showed some yummy recipes as well as seeing my own failures come to light to show my human nature…Meal prep can be easy and a learning experience.

 

I always appreciate comments about successes with recipes, questions, critiques, etc.  I want to hear about improvements to help your journey in the meal-preppin’ life.  Please subscribe/follow to be updated for each week’s post of recipe ideas and meal plans! (It will be below or to the right of the screen).

 

Stay tuned for the next week of grub 🙂

Happy prepping and cooking!