Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weekend Food Prep

So many of you have been applauding my meal prep on the weekends and have even commented on being inspired by it!

Nothing makes me happier - especially when your continued questions, comments and feedback remind me how easy, necessary and organized this whole food prep work can be.

If you like this topic, I recommend first checking out my post from a few weeks ago: Take The Time: Meal Prep where I go through the steps that are easy to follow on how to set yourself up for success. Taking inventory, making a list, checking it twice - it all counts!

For me, the magic happens on Sundays. Every weekend I shop for all of my weekly staples and make them all at once. I maximize oven/burner utilization, can make a big mess and have a big clean-up all while filling the house with warmth and wonderful smells except for the eggs!

Quinoa isn't something I discovered until a few years ago and I don't recall a time where I haven't had some available in the pantry. Knowledge of quinoa would have saved me from a lot of white rice consumption in college - but it's better late than never the way that I see it!

For every 1 cup of dry quinoa, you will need 2 cups of water. If you want to end up with 4 cups of cooked quinoa, it requires 1 cup dry / 2 cups water. If you want 8 cups, double the grains and double the water! Crank up the heat to medium/high, cover with a lid and allow it to soak up and fill out with no maintenance.

Grilled Chicken is something I'm lucky to have Dan for - he enjoys defrosting the frozen chicken breasts, seasoning them with great spices and throwing them onto the grill! I take a different approach and put them into the preheated oven at 375 degrees (after defrosting) and cook for 35-45 minutes until I see them the way I like them. If you know chicken, you'll know when they're ready. If you're new, test a piece to make sure the meat has cooked all the way through. Follow these safety guidelines for more information on defrosting and avoiding the "Danger Zone"!

Hard Boiled Eggs are very easy to make and can be a great source of protein that will start your morning off right. I also enjoy eating them in the morning because they are a little stinky when you store them - so I don't want the odor to be mistaken for something else while I'm at work. I've tried both the bake and boil methods and haven't yet found a favorite - I love them both! This past weekend I boiled and it was an easy 22 minutes of monitoring time and maybe another 5 for each Dan and I to peel the shells off. If you boil, vinegar is essential to your success.

Steamed Vegetables are SO easy to prepare in mass quantities and I haven't found a way to do it wrong yet.

I grab a big pot, dump in the frozen veggies, fill with enough water to cover the veggies and put the burner at medium to high heat. You'll be able to feel when they're done, and just remember that there's ZERO risk to sampling - so eat your heart out!

These are just a few of the main things I've been cooking lately and it's made a huge difference on the money I spend, the time I have during the week and most importantly the good choices I'm making before I even have a chance to change my mind!

Don't forget to make it pretty and take photos - what you've done is a work of art!

Everyone who's shared their progress and changes with me have kept me inspired - so please keep on encouraging me, sharing your success (even if it's just planning) and I'll keep sharing my tips!

<3 JE


Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon said...

I love these posts! I've been meaning to start buying frozen chicken breasts.. how long do you defrost them for? It would be so much more convenient when I'm just making my work lunches like you : ) And I need to find some exciting frozen veggie mixes like you have.. I'm getting bored of my green bean/corn/spinach routine.

Jessi said...

Hi Marisa, sorry for leaving out the defrost process! I buy gallon sized zip lock bags, throw as many frozen chicken breasts into it as I can fit, seal it tight and submerge the bag into hot water (sink, pot, whatever you have handy.) They will try to float, so make sure that you have something heavy (or an upside down strainer) to keep them underwater and warm. Check on them after 20 minutes, and if they're not "squishy" when you pinch them. add some more hot water and leave for another 15 minutes! In the oven I put them on foil on a pan and let 'em cook! The mix I use is from Costco - huge bag for under $10! Thanks for reading as always!

Jessi said...

Don't listen to me - these food safety guidelines will help you a ton!

kristen peterson said...

Loved the post Jessi! I have been having a hard time getting hard boiled eggs just right. You mentioned in the post using vinegar, how much do you use? What is your method? Thanks!

Jessi said...

Hi Kristen! I have been happily following this method from -->
Just a tablespoon of vinegar will do the trick, it helps to quickly patch any shells that may crack during the cooking process and prevents them from leaking. I found the main difference in this method the water temperatures, starting the eggs in cold water and gently allowing them to warm up as the water does. :) Thanks!

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