Here is the main event with my meal prep series- entrees! If there is anything I have learned since trying out meal prep, it is time. Meal prep requires A LOT of time. Stacy texted one night recently asking for advice as she was going to try her hand at meal prep. I responded by telling her it was going to take way more time than she was anticipating. One word of advice? Do not attempt to meal prep entrees a couple hours before bedtime. You will be up late. Another tip? Try to get your prep done when you are not distracted by your kids if you are a parent.
How did I get started with meal prep? I went straight to Pinterest to find some good recipes. I found my first recipe here. Check out RunAway Apricot’s blog and social media accounts! They have really great recipes and beautiful food pics for you all of you foodies out there. You can access all of their social media accounts on their blog. I made their dirty rice recipe.
This recipe was great! I could not find the actual recipe on the blog anywhere so I just guessed on the measurements for the spices. I added a teaspoon of each spice they listed with the exception of cinnamon. I may have added only 1/4 teaspoon. I think….haha. It has been a while since I made it. Pretty sure it was only 1/4 teaspoon because I remember thinking too much cinnamon would overpower the other spices. The recipe makes the house smell amazing! Both my husband and I loved this one so I will definitely make it again!
I will admit, I was a little sad when I realized the meals were running out and I was going to have make another big batch of food. I decided to take the easy way out the second time around and make my salsa chicken. This recipe is super easy because you make it in the crock pot. I use the chicken for a variety of recipes: tacos, tostadas, soup, quinoa bowls- really the possibilities are endless.
Crock Pot Salsa Chicken
- 1 TBS minced garlic
- 1/2 TBS pepper (original recipe calls for 1/2 TBS. I only add 1 tsp.)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 cup water
- 24 ounces of salsa
- 5-6 chicken breasts, fresh or frozen
Combine all of the ingredients and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours (monitor your crock pot and adjust times accordingly). For the meal prep, I added 1 can of rinsed black beans. I then added this mixture to cooked quinoa. Soooo simple. I also cut up lettuce and added it to little baggies so we could throw some lettuce on top after heating. Add whatever you want to this recipe. Sliced avocado is a great addition! I even packed little containers of salsa and plain greek yogurt (in place of sour cream) for my husband when he went to work. He and I both love this chicken recipe! I love Chipotle so this recipe is a good alternative to their burrito bowls.
I decided to only meal prep our lunches. Two reasons: One- it was a lot of work just to make one meal. Holy crap. I couldn’t fathom cooking two huge meals at once. Two- I wanted to keep our dinners open for family meals. I do not eat the same thing my kids eat every night but I do try to make family meals most nights of the week. If my husband is not home for dinner, I can easily eat one of the prepared meals. Get on Pinterest and look for recipes that you think you would enjoy! I am not going to lie- its a pain in the bootie to figure it all out. However, I really do think meal prep is worth all of the time and energy. I love having meals ready to go if I am in a hurry. I love having healthy meals ready to send with my husband to work.
I have a quick, funny story about this whole experience. I made this recipe for one of our meals. I had never worked with fresh ginger. As soon as I cut into it, I was pleasantly surprised. Fresh ginger smells heavenly! I love lemon anything and had no idea fresh ginger smells like citrus. I was excited to add it to my recipe. I was thinking that I needed to get on Pinterest and look for other recipes with fresh ginger. Well, I do NOT love the taste of fresh ginger. It may smell heavenly but the taste is from the pits of hell. Yuck. Not a fan- like at all. Don’t get me wrong, this lemon chicken recipe is really good! I will make it again but I will not be adding the ginger. My husband seems to feel the same way about ginger because I am eating all of these meals. And yes, I am picking out the bits of ginger while I eat them!
Do you have any favorite recipes you use for meal prep? Send me some links! I would love to try them!