October 04, 2013

Week 39 - Prep Ahead Meals

Printable Version of Meal Plan

I actually didn't plan on a theme this week but turns out most of my suppers were ones that I could prep ahead.  And I love a meal that's mostly done when I walk in the door!  It frees up time in the evening to prep supper for the next night... brilliant!!

Before we get into the details of the week I stumbled upon a link I thought I'd share.  My google stats are consitently showing that people are finding me with the term "Kid Friendly" so it would seem that feeding kids is a common struggle.  I thought this was a good article...Today's Parent: 10 Surprising Ways to Get Kids Eating Healthy.  This is us practicing #4...

Marin assembling the perfect bite.


Recipe Quick Links

Sushi Sandwich, Weelicious
Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats, My Whole Food Life
Simple Turkey Chili, All Recipes
Whole Wheat Tea Biscuits, 100 Days of Real Food
Salmon Cakes,  Source Unknown.  See Tuesday of Week 14
Kale Chips, 100 Days of Real Food
Quinoa Burgers, Eating Well Living Thin
Thai Peanut Noodles, Iowa Girl Eats
Kale Salad, Marin Mama Cooks
Tortillas, 100 Days of Real Food
Almond Milk, Oh She Glows
Granola Bars, Weelicious
Apple Pie Dip, Cookin' & Kickin'

Prep Ahead Tips

To stick with the theme I thought I'd skip the usual Week in Review and instead add some notes from each supper on what can be done the night (or even days) before to save time during the supper time "rush hour".   How much prep you decide to do can depend on how busy (or tired!) you are in the evening vs. how quick you have to get supper on the table.  I find doing even just a couple of simple things while I'm packing lunches can save time and cut down on mess while I'm trying to get supper ready.  Sometimes it's just the little things, like pre-measuring spices, that can help big time.

Chicken with Beet & Goat Cheese Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette - This was a simple meal.  I cut the chicken breasts into cutlets and panfried them in coconut oil.  While they were cooking I assembled the salad - Arugula and kale mix for the greens, shredded beets and carrots, crumbled goat cheese and pumpkin seeds.  I made my standard balsamic for the dressing but added a little maple syrup to sweeten it up a bit.  I think roasted vegetables would have worked really well in this salad as well (I'm thinking beets and squash) but shredded made for a quick meal. 

Prep Ahead Options:
  • Prepare the Vinaigrette in a small mason jar and store in the fridge
  • Shred the beets and carrots
  • You could even make the chicken ahead of time... this Maple Dill Chicken is a great recipe for a tasty chicken that works well cooled, diced and tossed in a salad. 
Reinvent the leftovers:  There was enough salad leftover that I was able to toss it with some tofu and black rice (previously prepared and frozen) for lunch the next day.

Simple Turkey Chili - I Googled 'Simple Turkey Chili' and found this truly simple (and tasty) recipe.  We agreed that we preferred the ground turkey to ground beef.

Prep Ahead Options:
  • Pre-measure the spices and store them in a container next to the stove
  • Put the canned goods and can opener next to the stove
  • Make the Whole Wheat Tea Biscuits, if you're having them on the side
  • Optionally the chili could be made the night before and simply reheated
Or... use your slow-cooker and come home to a warm bowl waiting for you.

Reinvent the leftovers:  I made some macaroni and mixed it in with the leftovers to make a Chili Mac for the next days lunch.  We topped with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Salmon Cakes w/ Green Beans and Kale Chips - I've posted this recipe before, it's our favorite - mostly for the dipping sauce.  I used canned salmon this week and they turned out great.  The only step I did ahead of time was making the dipping sauce but as a shortcut I used the tube of cilantro (about 2 tsp) instead of fresh.  It's typically found in the produce section.

Prep Ahead Options:
  • Make the dipping sauce, which is also used to mix in with the patties. 
  • You can assemble these to the point of forming the patties and then simply fry them up at suppertime.

Quinoa Burgers on a Portobello Bun w/ Sweet Potato Fries - I've tried many a quinoa burger recipe, even making a few up as I go.  I liked this one for the consistency.  The mixture was pretty wet but when they cooked up they stayed together nicely but weren't at all dry.  I would suggest some fresh herbs and/or feta to give them a flavor boost though.  For the sweet potato fries I simply tossed them with olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted them at 425 until they were crispy.  I cooked the portobello mushroom caps with the fries and made a simple aioli for dipping using plain Greek yogurt, mayo (ratio 2:1) and minced garlic.

Quinoa Burgers

Prep Ahead Options:
  • Make the Quinoa... you could also make some extra for these brownies.  Just sayin'.... I mean you're making the quinoa anyway right??  Making the quinoa is a big time saver and the recipe actually calls for it to be cooled.
  • Shred the cheese, grate the carrot and chop the green onion
  • Pre-measure the spices
  • Cut the Sweet Potatoes

Reinvent the leftovers:  This recipe made a lot so we had leftover patties with a Kale Salad for lunch.

Chicken Fajitas! - Marin likes Mexican food so much that she literally had a melt down last week because I wouldn't make her nachos for supper.  Like I'm talking one of the biggest meltdowns I've witnessed in her 4 1/2 years of life.  I seem to have at least one Mexican meal a week lately but it's just such a crowd pleaser I can't help myself.  Everyone enjoying supper makes for a nice kick-off to the weekend too.  Plus I just really, really love to have an excuse to restock my tortilla supply.

Freshly made tortillas

To make the fajita filling I slice the chicken into strips and fry in a lightly oiled pan until no longer pink.  Remove the chicken and then saute sliced onions and peppers.  When they are almost done I add a spoonful of Mexican Spice Blend and a little salsa.  Add the chicken back in and stir it all up and continue cooking until the veggies are soft and everything is heated through.  Then we start with a tortilla and pile on the fillings! 

Prep Ahead Options:
  • Premix spices - Make extra and store in an airtight container for months.  I keep Mexican Spice Blend in my cupboard at all times.
  • Slice onions and peppers
  • Make tortillas - ok, ok, this is optional... you can buy tortillas I know.   But it just wouldn't be the same.  Trust me.  Tortillas can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for longer periods... but they'll only stay there for about a week or two tops.

Marin always likes to assemble her own quesadilla, nacho, fajita... and always puts a cherry tomato on top.  I told her last night we'd be having fajitas for supper so she set aside the last cherry tomato from her plate to have with her fajita.  I'm telling you this girl is serious about her Mexican food!

Tonight's Masterpiece

Happy Weekend!


1 comment:

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