Meal Prep, vol. 6

Background:

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.  In an attempt to manage my work-life balance, force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night, I’ve decided I’m committing myself to cook 3 meals each Saturday 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.).  I hope that posting these compilations of recipes will help other busy people of the world.

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The Recipes:
Total Active Time = 30 hrs

This week is mostly a leftover week.  I have frozen about half of what I’ve cooked for the last few weeks, so now it’s time to eat it up.

I have leftover:

Recipe #4: Spicy Thai Noodles
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 30 min (5 min prep, 25 min cook).

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I made a lot of tweaks to this recipe (Mr. T doesn’t have the spice tolerance that I do), but it really was a winner and it was SO easy! I’m bringing this for lunch this week!

Since I made so many tweaks, I’m including my copy of the recipe that has been all marked up.  I also added some chicken to “beef up” the meal. 😉 I forgot to mark it on the recipe, but I didn’t strain the pepper flakes out of the oil.  I’m not fancy enough to have a strainer small enough to catch the pepper flakes.  I figured I’d just use less, since I wouldn’t be straining it out.  I will definitely be making this recipe again!  Easy and tasty! I think it’ll taste great cold, too!

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Meal Prep, vol. 4

Background:

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.  In an attempt to manage my work-life balance, force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night, I’ve decided I’m committing myself to cook 3 meals each Saturday 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.).  I hope that posting these compilations of recipes will help other busy people of the world.

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The Recipes:
Total Active Time = 2 hrs

Recipe #1: Mississippi Roast
Difficulty Level: 0/5
Time: 8:05 (8 hr cook on low, 5 min to shred and remove fatty pieces).

This recipe is insanely easy to make and truly falls apart by the time it’s done cooking.  When I make this again, I will probably make it again with unsalted butter because I am a bit sensitive to salt.  I think the main saltiness factor comes from the pre-packaged mixes (ranch dressing mix and dry onion soup mix).  That being said, I don’t think the average person would have any issue with the salt in here.  As recommended, I’m eating it as a sandwich meat filling.  I think it would also go well with potatoes.

Recipe #2: Potato, Pepper, & Sausage Casserole
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 1 hr and 35 min ( 20 min prep, 1 hr and 15 min cooking).

This is a recipe that I made on the fly a while ago, and it was tasty and EASY.  You can season it however you like. I like it because you can serve it as a side or eat it alone for lunches.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 28-oz package of frozen Potatoes O’Brian from Orieda (diced potatoes with onions and peppers)
  2. 1 4-pink (12 oz) package of Italian chicken sausage (I am picky about sausage, but I love this one).
  3. 1 cup chopped onion (I used white)
  4. 2 cups chopped bell pepper (I like to use a mix of colors, but I don’t think it’ll really matter)
  5. Salt/pepper to taste
  6. 3-5 cloves of garlic, to taste.
  7. 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  8. 3 tbsp of olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle 1 T of olive oil onto a 9×13 casserole dish.
  3. Add all ingredients except for the sausage.  Mix well with hands.
  4. Cook for 1 hour.
  5. Mix well, and taste.  Update seasonings to taste at this point, if needed.
  6. Add the sausage (cut up into bite sized pieces).
  7. Cook for 10 more minutes.

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Recipe #3: Egg Roll Bowls
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Time: 45 min (25 min prep, 20 min cook).

An edit I made was to use about 2 Tbsp of honey into the mix.  I also used pre-shredded “angle hair” cut green cabbage, which made this recipe even easier!

I made this recipe last week and loved it so much I made it again as a double batch!  SO delicious.  I packaged this up into 5 Tupperware containers for lunches this week.  I put 3/4C of brown rice with about 1/2 C of the meat and cabbage mixture.

 

 

Meal Prep, vol. 3

Background:

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.  In an attempt to manage my work-life balance, force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night, I’ve decided I’m committing myself to cook 3 meals each Saturday 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.).  I hope that posting these compilations of recipes will help other busy people of the world.

The Recipes:
Total Active Time = 1 hr, 15 min

Recipe #1: Crockpot Potato Soup
Difficulty Level: 0/5
Time: 4:05 on high or 8:05 on low (3 min prep, 4-8 hr cook, 2 min to blend).

This recipe was modified from the one found on StatTeacher blog.

Crock Pot Potato Soup
Ingredients:

  1. 1 32-oz box of low sodium chicken broth
  2. 1 28-oz package of frozen Potatoes O’Brian from Orieda (diced potatoes with onions and peppers)
  3. 1 18.5-oz can of  Progresso’s Chicken & Cheese Enchilada Soup
  4. 1 8-oz package of cream cheese
  5. (optional) 1 crock pot liner, so you don’t have to clean up!

Directions:

  1. Dice the cream cheese into small cubes.
  2. Dump all ingredients into a crock pot.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  5. (optional) Use an immersion blender to lightly blend the soup to give it a creamier consistency.  I like to leave a few potato chunks in it.

Recipe #2: Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Bell Peppers 
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 1 hr and 15 min (15 min prep, 60 min cooking).

Easy to make and tasty! I will probably make this again.

Recipe #3: Egg Roll Bowls
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Time: 45 min (25 min prep, 20 min cook).

An edit I made was to use about 1-1.5 Tbsp of honey into the mix.  I also used pre-shredded “angle hair” cut green cabbage, which made this recipe even easier!

I LOVED this recipe! I wish I made a double  batch!  I served it over rice and it was SO good!

 

 

Meal Prep, vol. 2

Background:

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.  In an attempt to manage my work-life balance, force myself to get better at cooking and also eat a proper meal each night, I’ve decided I’m committing myself to cook 3 meals each Saturday 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.).  I hope that posting these compilations of recipes will help other busy people of the world.

The Recipes:
Total Active Time = 2.5 hours

Recipe #1: Lentil Soup
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 1 hr (20 min prep, 35 min cook, 5 min to blend).

This recipe is very tasty and SUPER easy to make.  As a note, this recipe called for 1/2 tsp of “grains of paradise,” which I couldn’t find at my local grocery store, so I substituted 1/2 tsp of black pepper.   This recipe makes a TON of soup, so I am going to freeze half of it to eat for later.  Also, if you have an immersion blender USE IT! (It’s so much easier to use than a regular blender, when making soups.)

Recipe #2: Taco Stuffed Bell Peppers
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Time: 45 min (25 min prep, 20 min cooking).

Easy, tasty, and quick.  Load them with your favorite toppings!  I also enjoy to drizzle a bit of green Cholula sauce on it.  Serve with a side of rice for a complete meal. This was my favorite recipe of the bunch, and I see myself making it many times in the future!

Recipe #3: Shredded Beef & Carrots Pot Roast
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Time: 7 hours and 20 min (15 min prep, 7 hours cook, 5 min to shred).

It was…okay.  I won’t be making it again, but it wasn’t bad.

 

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/

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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!