Meal Prep for Teachers, Vol. 1

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.  My first day of school is this upcoming Tuesday, so I wanted to make sure that I had food ready to go for the week.  I like to have variety in what I eat, so I chose three meals to make (the order shown below is the order that I cooked them).

To try to force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night,  I’ve decided I’m committing to cooking 3 meals each Sunday 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.)

A bit about myself: I have minimal cooking skills and I don’t do mushrooms or fish.

Meal 1: Root beer Pulled Pork 
Difficulty Level: 0/5
Time: 7 hrs and 10 min (10 min prep + 7 hours cooking) 

Recipe from: me!

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Food Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs of pork shoulder
  • 36 oz of Root Beer
  • 1 18oz bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
  • 8 Hamburger buns.

Supplies:

  • Crock Pot
  • Crock Pot Liners (optional, but makes cleanup non-existent).
  • Hand Mixer (optional, but makes shredding pork take <60 sec instead of 5-10 min)
  • Large Bowl
  • Colander
  • Large Mixing Spoon

Instructions:

  1. Place crockpot liner inside crockpot.
  2. Put pork shoulder in crock pot.
  3. Pour root beer in crock pot.
  4. Put lid on crockpot and let cook on low for 7 hours.
  5. After 7 hours, remove crock pot liner and dump contents into the colander in the sink to drain.
  6. Place remaining meat in large bowl (I use a Tupperware container that I will keep the leftovers in). On the lowest setting, use the hand mixer to shred the pork.
  7. In the bowl with the shredded pork, add the bottle of BBQ sauce.  Use the large mixing spoon to evenly distribute the BBQ squce.

Meal 2: Maple & Mustard Chicken
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 20 minutes (5 min prep, 15 min cook time)

Recipe from: http://www.cookingclassy.com/maple-mustard-skillet-chicken/

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Changes I made: Instead of pounding the chicken breasts flat, I just cut them in half, lengthwise.

Meal 3: Sausage & Veggie Skillet 
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Time: 60 minutes (30 prep and 45 cook-some prep happens while cooking has already begun)

Recipe from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/summer-vegetables-with-sausage-and/

IMG_1596

HUGE Time Saving Tip: Start the potatoes first.  They take 25 minutes to cook.  While they are cooking, cut up all of the other veggies so they are ready to go once the potatoes are done.  Don’t be like me the first time I made this recipe and do all of the chopping first, and then have 25 minutes of nothing to do while the potatoes cook.  It took 90 minutes instead of an hour.

What’s The Verdict?  

I liked each of the three meals that I made this week, which isn’t something that normally happens.  I ended up freezing half of the pulled pork and half of the sausage skillet to use in later weeks.

The sausage skillet and the pulled pork are both repeat recipes that I’ve made in the past.  My favorite of the three is the sausage and veggie dish, although it is the most involved–you really are cooking for the entire 60 minutes of the recipe.  I’m not much of a sausage fan, so I’d like to point out that not all sausages are made the same.  Most are not my thing, but I’ve found a couple that I really do like.  Experiment around a bit and find one that you like because it really does make all the difference for this dish.  The pulled pork is my second favorite.  It’s so easy and so flavorful.  A really quick dinner to reheat, as well.  The chicken was good, definitely nothing wrong with it.  I just preferred the other two a bit more.  I plan to eat the chicken with steamed green beans and brown rice. I think that’ll be a really tasty and healthy meal.

Total Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (not counting the 7 hour cook time for the crock pot pulled pork, which I started before I went to sleep the night before).

Overall, I’m really happy with my meals this week.  No duds! Woo!

 

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