Sunday Meal Prep: Tips and New Recipes

26 Mar

With a hectic work schedule and delightfully sassy 20 month old, meal prep is the name of the home-cooked-meal, (mostly) healthy-eating game. It’s tough to plan meals for the week, let alone prepare them in advance and actually eat (and enjoy) what awaits in the fridge after a long commute home.

Did you know that Americans waste nearly 40% of food? I’m sensitive to not adding to this statistic, which has such a significant impact on our environment. Not to mention wasted resources (water, time, money). Anywho, this isn’t one of *those* posts. All of this to say that I’m getting better at Sunday afternoon food prep for the week and wanted to share some tips that have worked well with our little family. 

Food Prep Tips

  1. Plan. This should go without saying, but plan meals for the week in advance and develop your shopping list. Our weeks generally never go as planned, so I try to plan for 3 separate meals, 1 night of leftovers, and 1 wild card night. Ideally some of these also will make for lunch several days — I love making extra grilled meat or roasted veggies to toss in with a crisp salad or bowl of rice.
  2. Shop. Buy staples in bulk to save money. I’ll get warehouse packs of meat and go-to shelf stable items (think: marinara, pasta, green beans). Otherwise, buy *only* what you need to prepare the meal, otherwise you’ll be sure to toss wilted veggies in the waste bin.
  3. Prep. Wash, chop, measure and marinate everything in advance.
  4. Cook. Organize recipes and dish preparation by cooking times, required equipment, oven temperatures, etc., to determine the best order to prepare the meals.
  5. Store. Invest in right-sized food storage containers to keep items fresh. If you over prepared, go ahead and make single serve lunch portions or label for freezer storage. (Bookmark this handy FSIS food storage recommendations resource to keep food safe)

This week’s meal prep was inspired by Anh’s request for Chicken and Black Bean Sauce, which expanded to include Clams in Black Bean Sauce. Fermented black beans are a new ingredient for me, but so much better than buying the jarred sauce.

I purchased a $0.99 can of fermented black beans, bok choy, scallions, zucchini and bag of littleneck clams and made three delicious meals for the week (with plenty for lunch). The chicken and ground beef along with other common ingredients were already on hand.

Not pictured above is a super simple, and super delicious Bulgogi Korean Beef recipe that is a hit with both the adult and toddler crowds. It’s great on rice or wrapped in lettuce (think Chicken Lettuce Wraps, but better).

We ate the Clams and Bok Choy with Black Bean Sauce tonight, with leftovers for a lunch, and more bok choy to stirfry or sauté tomorrow. I’ll want to tweak the recipe next time I make it, but an excellent first effort all the same.

We’ll eat the Chicken in Black Bean Sauce later this week. Of course I had to sample this new recipe, and I likely won’t be making any adjustments. So good! I’m a big fan of Andrea Nguyen’s recipes as it is, and learned to prepare many a Vietnamese dish from her cookbook Into the Vietnamese Kitchen.

That was my Sunday. Hope you had a fantastic weekend and are prepped for the week ahead!


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