How do you feel when you hear the term “meal prepping”? Confused? Intimidated? Annoyed? Well, hopefully I can help resolve some of the trepidation that many people have about meal prepping. Here I provide a few examples of meal prepping that we do in our house along with a couple example recipes.
First are some basic food prep strategies for having healthy eating options available throughout the week. The first recipe is for an easy-to-prepare and healthy ramen-style soup that can be stretched over a few meals. And the second recipe is for a deceptively easy pressure cooker chicken tagine recipe that tastes even better than it looks!
Meal Prepping Basics
Instead of preparing several meals in full, I like to make separate components of meals that can be put together in unique ways for different flavor profiles throughout the week. To make vegetables readily available in my house, I prepare them in a variety of ways each week as our staples. This picture shows a few types of roasted vegetables, chopped raw vegetables, spiralized sweet potato, massaged kale, and a spinach basil pesto. I also like to prepare one type of whole grain, beans, or other protein to facilitate quick easy meals throughout the week.
The roasted vegetables can be made into a veggie hash with an egg, used in tacos or wraps, thrown into a quick stir-fry, or used to make “Buddha Bowls” by adding in a choice of protein, grains or greens, a fat (like avocado), fermented vegetables, and a delicious sauce. The spiralized sweet potato can be sautéed as a side, substituted as “pasta”, or baked as curly fries for fun snacking. The raw veggies are tossed into salads, wraps, or added to lunchboxes.
The spinach and basil pesto can be used in the bowls above, added to scrambled eggs to make green eggs, or paired with spiralized sweet potato or spaghetti squash for a quick weeknight “pasta” night.
The key is thinking outside the box, using different flavors and keeping it fresh and fun!
Kelp and Zucchini Noodle Soup
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
- 3-4 garlic gloves, minced
- 2 TBSP fish sauce
- 1 package kelp noodles (found in the Asian section)
- 1 medium zucchini, spiralized into noodles (approximately 2 cups)
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I use shiitake and/or a store bought “gourmet blend”)
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Protein of choice (I used pan-seared chicken thigh with bone removed)
- Green onion, chopped
- Cilantro, chopped
- Fresh jalapeno slices, Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional, for serving)
- Add the garlic, ginger and mushrooms to a soup pot over medium-high heat and sauté for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, kelp noodles and zucchini noodles and bring to a boil. Gently boil for approximately 20 minutes.
- Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, and then slowly add into the soup while stirring.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top each bowl with a couple tablespoons of the green onion and cilantro, and your protein of choice. Add a dash of your favorite hot sauce and enjoy!
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
This is actually my husband’s recipe that my whole family loves. It’s a traditional chicken tangine made in a pressure cooker, which makes it a surprisingly quick and easy one-pot meal.
- Spice rub for chicken (2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cayenne, 2 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper)
- 3 lbs chicken with bone and skin (I prefer to use drumsticks and thighs, about 4-6 of each)
- 3 carrots, cut on bias about ⅛ inch thick
- 1 inch piece of ginger root, minced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 14 oz can of chick peas, drained (or 2 cups of cooked chick peas)
- 8-10 dried Turkish figs, cut in quarters
- 1½-2 cups pitted olives (I used combo of green and kalamata)
- 2 preserved lemons, coarsely chopped (optional)
- ½ cup white wine
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- 1 TBSP honey
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cilantro (for garnish)
- Slivered almonds (for garnish)
- Mix the spice rub together and generously coat the chicken evenly.
- Coat bottom of pressure cooker with oil and brown the chicken a few pieces at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.
- Add a bit more oil to the pressure cooker and add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and red pepper and sauté for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add in any remaining spice rub and/or a couple shakes of cinnamon and turmeric, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pressure cooker and add the chicken back in.
- Close the pressure cooker and set to high pressure, and when it reaches the pressure lower the heat and cook for 40 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let pressure drop.
- Garnish with the cilantro and slivered almonds and enjoy!
- Can be served on its own or over rice.
- If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can achieve a similar result by browning the chicken in a pan, sautéing the onions, pepper, garlic, carrots, and ginger for a few minutes, and then combining all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for approximately 6-8 hours.