Hey friends! How's everyone doing?! Today, I'm sharing a HIGHLY requested post with y'all that covers how I meal prep, what I buy at the grocery store, and a few simple recipes that are delicious! You guys sent me some questions that I'm going to answer along the way through this post and I'll be sharing some freebies that you can save to your phone to help you plan a week of meals. I want to add very quickly that each of these meals can easily become vegetarian (95% already are), vegan, gluten free, or tweaked to your own diet needs. If you are a meat eater, this is also super easy for you to adapt to.
How I Plan
Usually the planning for a week of meals takes place on Saturday or Sunday when the fridge starts to run low. I will come up with some recipe ideas and then ask Steven what he thinks before I put together a grocery list. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas and I also like to come up with things on my own. I think about our needs for the week (I would also do this when I was just cooking for myself) and how many meals I'd need to account for. For this week, I knew I needed 6 meals to take with me to work, easy breakfasts to grab in the morning for Steven and myself, dinner for both of us, and snacks. Steven is always provided lunch at work, so I can factor that out of my needs. Once I know what our schedules are for the week and what I'd need to prepare, then I can really figure out what I want to make and what makes sense.
Tip: Always try to think of ways to use an ingredient more than once. I normally start with one recipe and then pick the next one based on what I can reuse.
For this week, I knew I had a lot of meals I'd need to take to work, so I based a lot of ingredients on that. My go-to for work lunches is a variation of a burrito bowl. It's easy, cheap, and simple to make in large quantities. I knew I'd have leftover black beans, so I wanted to find a way to re-purpose them later in the week for dinners.
Monday: (Breakfast) Scrambled egg on whole grain English muffin, coffee (Lunch) Chickpea Caesar Salad (Snack) Yogurt (Dinner) Burrito Bowl
Tuesday: (Breakfast) Scrambled egg on whole grain English muffin, coffee (Lunch) Chickpea Taco Salad (Snack) Yogurt (Dinner) Burrito Bowl
Wednesday: (Breakfast) Avocado toast, coffee (Lunch) burrito bowl (Snack) Spoonful of almond butter (Dinner) Grilled cod with zucchini and roasted cauliflower
Thursday: (Breakfast) Scrambled egg on whole grain English muffin, coffee (Lunch) leftover fish and veggies with greens (Snack) Avocado toast (Dinner) BBQ Jackfruit tacos and black beans
Friday: (Breakfast) Go Macro bar, coffee (Lunch) burrito bowl (Snack) Yogurt (Dinner) Veggie burgers in lettuce cups and sweet potato fries
Saturday: (Breakfast) Go Macro bar, coffee (Lunch) burrito bowl (Snack) Almond butter (Dinner) Eggplant Parmesan and a glass of wine
Sunday: (Breakst) Go Macro bar, coffee (Lunch) burrito bowl (Snack) Almond butter (Dinner) Takeout pizza
An easy to save list is below to inspire your next shopping trip! Keep in mind that I didn't include pantry staples like salt, pepper, garlic, etc. I also included on this list, things that I didn't actually buy this week because they were already in my fridge or pantry. However, this list gives a true idea of everything you'd need to make these meals possible.
Chickpea Caesar Salad
Rinse and dry 1 can of chickpeas (dry between towel to remove outer shell)
Place chickpeas on sheet pan and add 1 tsp of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder
Mix with hands until chickpeas are coated
Roast for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees
Assemble bowl with romaine lettuce and Parmesan cheese
Add roasted chickpeas and Caesar dressing
Burrito Bowls (makes 6 servings)
Add 2 lbs of dry black beans to Instant Pot or pressure cooker (you can also use canned)
Add 6 cups of water, 1 bay leaf, salt, pepper, and 1 clove of garlic
Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes or until soft
In a small pot, cook quinoa until translucent around the edges
Microwave 2 small to medium sweet potatoes (make sure they are punctured with a fork) for 8 minutes. Remove skin and chop
Saute or roast peppers and veggies of your choice (I used mini peppers and broccoli)
Assemble bowls with black beans, quinoa, veggies, sweet potatoes
Microwave when ready to eat and add toppings of your choice such as salsa, nutrional yeast, or avocado
Q: How do you keep variety in meals without wasting food?
A: I love this question! It can be really hard to eat healthy, fresh food when you're only cooking for 1 or 2 people. The easiest way to not waste food is to buy some of your produce frozen and only buy things you have a plan for. For example, in my freezer you're going to find staples like frozen peas, corn, broccoli, stir fry mix, riced cauliflower, and usually frozen fruit. This is going to last a long time and will allow you to create some change with your meals without constantly buying new produce that you may not use completely. My next tip is to buy small. Find the smaller produce and don't buy more "just in case" - chances are you won't use it anyways and if you need more, you can always buy it.
Q: What pantry staples should I have?
A: Each person is different based on their tastes and the way they eat, but in our house you can always find frozen veggies like I mentioned above (always onions), canned tomatoes for quick sauces and soups in a pinch, pasta or rice, olive oil, garlic and basil (I get the frozen cubes), dry white wine for sauces, unbleached flour, and plain unsweetened plant milk.
Q: Is your husband also vegetarian?
A: Nope. I do eat fish from time to time, so I'm technically pescetarian. Steven eats meat during his meals at work, but he's not picky at all and will eat anything I make. If he really wants to add chicken or beef to a meal I make, he will sometimes have chicken breast on hand. This is rare and he doesn't do this often. He's normally completely cool with the meals I have planned!
Q: Do you have any favorite crockpot recipes?
A: I sure do! I have several crockpot/instant pot recipes I love. I will make an entire post dedicated to these :)
I hope I was able to answer all of your questions and inspire some meal prep ideas for you! Hope y'all have a wonderful rest of your week!