Whew! I feel like this past month or so has been not-my-normal-routine crazy and it’s not over yet. Last week I was in Mt. Prospect helping out my mom and starting tomorrow I’m headed to Hoffman Estates to help out my sister and brother-in-law by dog sitting.
Oh. And add moving in less than a month to the list.
I mentioned awhile ago that we were going to be looking for a new apartment. Well, in February we got the notification that our current lease was up. We decided to start looking around and pretty much by the end of our first day we found our new place. It’s a little bit smaller than our current apartment BUT it has an amazing bay window right in the living room AND we can see the sky. The sky people!
It’s also a super charming apartment/building with a lot of character. Don’t I sound like I belong on HGTV? Totally. We actually got to pick our move-in date and without thinking or looking at a calendar we chose April 15th. Which also happens to be Easter weekend. And also happens to be right at the end of a lot of stuff that I said I would do that would keep me away from our apartment and you know, packing.
No worries. I like running around like a crazy person and hoping for the best.
Because things are a little nuts in the Dawson household, I’ve made it a priority to spend a good chunk of Saturday or Sunday meal prepping things. I’m a huge fan of meal prep and usually do a little each week but with limited time I’ve really upped my prepping game. It makes life so much easier when I can just grab things out of the fridge and throw them on a plate and VOILA dinner is ready.
I wanted to share the things I’ve been doing and maybe they will help you get your food game down pat and make your life easier. And we could all do with something easy in our lives, right?
Here is a list of the typical things I have been prepping lately to make my week simpler:
- Braised Greens: I take any dark leafy green (collards and turnip greens are my go-to), remove the stems and rinse the leaves, heat up a large skillet with a little coconut oil, toss in the greens with some garlic, add 1/3 cup water, and cook until the greens are soft but still brightly colored. Then I remove from the heat add a little salt, red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice. These keep in the fridge for about a week and make a great side dish or add-in to any meal.
- Roasted Vegetables: You can never go wrong with roasted vegetables. In my regular line-up is broccoli, red peppers with mushrooms and onions, sliced rainbow carrots, and cauliflower. All you have to do is chop up the vegetables, toss with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and roast at 425 on a big sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper for about 20 to 3o min. Again, they keep in the fridge and all you have to do is pull them out and heat them up!
- Spiralized Sweet Potato: I’ve been keeping a big pile of spiralized sweet potatoes handy because they make a really great fast and filling dinner. All you have to do is choose your favorite sauce (I’ll include some down below), then heat the noodles up until slightly soft and add the sauce. Easy peasy.
- 2/3 of Mire Poix: Mire Poix is the combo of carrots, celery, and onions and it’s also the base for a TON of dishes. I keep a container of sliced carrots and celery in my fridge and then all I have to do is chop an onion and I have the start to soup, stew, stir fry, or quick side vegetables in a pinch.
- Romaine Lettuce: I’ve been on a big romaine lettuce kick lately, so I buy a few heads, chop them up and run them through my salad spinner and keep them in a container in my fridge for quick salads.
Sauces, Marinades, Dressings:
- PB Marinade: I’ve been keeping my PB Marinade on hand in a mason jar and adding it to roasted vegetables (mostly cauliflower) because it’s amazing! Just roast your vegetables like normal and then in the last 10 minutes pull out the vegetables, dump in a little marinade, make sure everything’s coated and then return to the oven to finish cooking.
- Cheeze Sauce: I’ve started making the cheeze sauce from my Fusili N’ Cheeze recipe and just keeping it in a mason jar in the fridge. I add it to spiralized sweet potatoes for a twist on mac and cheese, add it to casseroles for a cheese-y flavor, or heat it up in a pot and use it as a cheeze sauce for nachos or taco dishes.
- Lemon Poppyseed Dressing: Not only is this a great dressing for salads, it works well as a marinade for meat. Yesterday I made a whole chicken for Adam in the slow cooker and used this as the flavoring and it was one of the moistest chickens I’ve ever made!
- Chive Dressing: I’ve been keeping this on hand for salads and vegetables because I love the spicy bite of the raw garlic!
- Cashew Sour Cream: I use this recipe and keep a jar of this on hand for toppings or dressing bases.
- Sesame or Coconut Milk: For smoothies, N’Oatmeal bowls, or baking.
- Guacamole: Can you ever go wrong with guacamole? No.
- Roasted Garlic: It’s easy to make anything taste good with a few cloves of roasted garlic. Plus, they keep in the fridge for a really long time.
- Salsa: Just another sauce/dip that I like to always have on hand.
- Fresh Herbs: Ok, so I don’t really “prep” these but I always have parsley and cilantro in jars with water in my fridge and then a rotating combo of dill, chives, thyme, and basil. Herbs are easy ways to add flavor to any dish.
I know it might seem like a lot, but most of this prep takes me no more than two hours. I tend to multitask, so while vegetables are cooking I blend up sauces or dressings. I also tend to make enough sauce or dressings to last two weeks so I only have to prep them every other week.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. You can also do things like cook a whole chicken on the weekend and use leftovers to add to other meals during the week, bake a few muffins or breakfast cookies so you have a grab and go breakfast option, make snacks like granola bars, roasted squash seeds, or fruit chips, or you can make big pots of soup and portion them out for the week. Whatever you want to make eating healthy a breeze!