From My Table / Meal Prep

real food challenge

How do I even start my first blog post in months? This has been a crazy year so far! Let me recap real quick…

  1. I started working 5 days per week instead of 4…bye productive Fridays.
  2. J and I purchased Tiger baseball season tickets….bye productive Sundays (hello awesome days filled with baseball)
  3. J and I got engaged! HELLO wedding planning!

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Okay so maybe that shows a bit of why the blog took a huge back seat. Keeping the blog company in the back seat was my healthy eating habits, meal planning and meal prepping. I hope they had a fun road trip but it is time to get back on track.

Recently, I have felt that I am relying mostly on prepared, pre-packaged and convenience foods. Packing lunch the night before has turned into grabbing granola bars, yogurts and pretzels on the way out the door. Healthy snacks have given way to donuts and cookies left in meeting rooms. Balanced dinners have been overshadowed by tortilla chips at 4PM and desserts before bed.

I know so many people out there feel the same way I do and struggle with planning and cooking healthy meals, which is why I extended my personal challenge to all of you via Instagram and Facebook. I want to challenge myself to utilize Sundays to prepare myself for the week ahead and you are all here to keep me accountable (and I hope I can do the same for you!) I also thought I would share updates here on the blog.

Of course, those participating in the challenge will get special content including grocery lists and meal prep tips but why not share the goodness?

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Monday– The Parmesan fish I buy is from Costco but most grocery stores carry it. This is one of my shortcuts, but I try to buy a fairly healthy product. Then I added quick cooking farro. Farro is similar to brown rice or quinoa but has a lot of texture and nuttiness. I paired it with roasted broccoli. Cut the broccoli into small florets, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. It roasts at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I finish it with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Tuesday– You can use any type of chicken but the whole roasting chickens tend to be the cheapest per ounce, although they take some extra prep work. I honestly would buy whatever is the most affordable that week. My cottage cheese mashed potatoes are SO easy- boil 4 large golden potatoes until tender and then mash them with 3/4 cup light cottage cheese and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add salt and pepper and they turn out creamy and delicious. The key is to get the golden potatoes which already taste creamier and then mix the potatoes until all of the cottage cheese is mixed in. Nothing beats mom’s Thanksgiving potatoes (hi mom!) but this is a good every day alternative. Frozen peas in the microwave rounds this meal out.

Wednesday– I use this meatball recipes from Skinnytaste on a regular basis. This time I swapped out the seasonings for Greek seasoning and the parmesan cheese for feta. They bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. I always cut one in half to check them. Here is my recipe for quick tzatzki sauce (cucumber yogurt sauce). The meatballs and sauce get stuffed into whole wheat pitas and topped with tomatoes, cucumber, onion and feta.

Thursday– I pulled all of the chicken I made Tuesday off the bone and used it in the upside down pot pie recipe. This is a huge hit! I also heavily modify this recipe. I make my own sauce instead of gravy and it is SO easy. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium size sauce pan. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and let cook for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of skim milk and whisk until thick. It is fine if it bubbles up, that will thicken it even more. Add 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg- it sounds crazy but this is one of the first lessons I learned from Rachael Ray as an 11 year old. Always put nutmeg in white sauces, it makes all the difference. Anyway, once the sauce is thick add a bag of frozen veggies and cooked chicken. It is served upside down over biscuits. We like the Red Lobster biscuit mix, but any will work.

Friday– Breakfast for dinner is elevated with Brussels sprouts added. 2 eggs and toast turns into a filling and balanced meal with the extra veggies. I cut the sprouts into quarters and the potatoes into bite size pieces. It all gets mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes in a 425 degree oven. This is the same method I used above with the broccoli, finish with parm cheese!

 

 

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