Meal Prep 2 | Morefitme

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Another week and a new meal prep video. Instead of cooking meals, I like to prepare ingredients to make putting meals together simple during the week. I like cooking fresh meals each day, so I pretty much always cook dinner, with the exception of bean or curried dishes as they taste better once they sit for a day. This week’s menu is as follows:Meal Planner

 

I added my list of groceries and headed to the store. Once home, I made a list of what I needed to prep for a quick and organized Sunday. I filmed my meal prep, video is below:

Cooking Tips

  • Leave chicken to brine for at least an hour, but no more than 2.5 hours
  • Frequently check roasting vegetables, flavor is lost if overcooked
  • For eggs, I heat water with eggs until it boils, then turn off and let sit covered for 13 minutes
  • I freeze extra rice in two portions in Ziplock bags

Recipes
Banana Nut Oatmeal (link will be active tomorrow)

Chicken Brine
1/2 c Salt
1/2 c Sugar
1 tblsp Pepper
3 tblsp Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb Seasoning
3 Cloves Garlic
2 Quarts Water

1. Dissolve sugar and salt in water
2. Marinate chicken in brine for no more than 2 hours and 30 minutes
3. Remove chicken from brine and cook as desired

Protein Bars
5 tblsp Creamy Peanut Butter
2 c Rolled Oats
1/2 c Almond milk
4 Servings Protein Powder

1. Mix ingredients thoroughly
2. Flatten mixture on parchment paper
3. Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for one hour
4. Once set, divide bars and store

 

Groceries and Meal Prep | Healthy Eats

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I haven’t shared a grocery haul or meal prep in awhile, so I decided to film my meal prep last week. I prepared for breakfast, lunch and snacks, not dinner. I enjoy cooking, and I have time to cook dinner every day, so I do not feel the need to prepare anything. Instead, I ensure that I have all of the ingredients I need for a simple and enjoyable cooking experience.

The video begins with a grocery haul and goes straight into meal preparation:

Check out my Instagram for pictures of what I am eating on a day to day basis, as well as the fitness I engage in.

In the Kitchen | Mom’s Chicken & Rice

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I made my mothers chicken and rice the other day and I decided to film and share. This is a delicious one pot meal that also works well within meal prep with protein, carbs and veggies.  This is also a meal that cooks itself, I often go for a quick run while my food simmers away. I hope you try the recipe, and please share your recipes for Chicken and Rice with me!

Mom’s Chicken & Rice

Serving Size: yield’s 4 portions

Ingredients:

2 tbsp OliveOil
4 Chicken Thighs
1 cup Brown Rice
1 medium Onion
2 stalks of Celery
2 cups Chicken Broth/Stalk
2 tsp minced Garlic
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Warm olive oil in pan over medium heat.

2. Salt chicken on both sides and add to warm pan. Let the chicken brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side).

3. Remove chicken and set aside. Add onion, celery, and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent.

4.  Add brown rice and spices. Stir continuously for one minute.

5.  Add chicken broth, bay leaf and chicken. Bring the mixture back to a boil.

6. Taste. Cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the chicken falls off of the bone.

Fluff the rice and Enjoy!!!

Tip: If you want the recipe to be even simpler, add 2 Tablespoons of Poultry seasoning when you add spices, but don’t forget to salt the chicken.

Recipe Review | Ina Garten Lemon Chicken Breasts

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As stated in my 2015 goals video, I have decided to try one new recipe each and every week this year (or just about every week). First up is the Ina Garten Lemon Chicken Breasts Recipe, which I found on foodnetwork.com.

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First up, I have to confess. I have tried this recipe two times since first giving it a go in the second week of January (yes, this review was a long time coming). I do not have a love affair with chicken like most southerners because well, I just have not seen it as incredibly exciting due to boneless skinless chicken breast burn out. It was not until I tried this recipe that my faith in chicken was renewed. I know that bone-in or skin on chicken is truly the only way to go in the world of serious flavor, so I was immediately drawn to this recipe.

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I created the marinade as instructed and I must say it went just as well for me as it did the Barefoot Contessa. This recipe is definitely high on the easy meter because the prep really only consisted of zesting a lemon, and chopping up garlic and thyme!

 

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My kitchen smelled delightful and the taste of the marinade alone was enough to make me yip with surprised glee! The first time I tried the recipe I poured the marinade straight into my baking dish and continued as directed, the second time I marinated the chicken for four hours before throwing the chicken in the dish to bake.

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I paired the chicken with broccoli the first time and asparagus the second time, no grains necessary for such a large piece of chicken. Let’s just say, my taste buds died and went to heaven! I was so very surprised at how delightful this recipe turned out. I really do not enjoy seriously lemony tasting chicken, and I have tried lemon chicken recipes that leave me disappointed. The marinade has such a wonderful balance of flavors that I saved it and poured it over Quinoa the next day! If you are looking for something new to try, give this recipe a whirl!

Tip: The second time I prepared this recipe I poured a drizzle of honey in the baking dish before placing the chicken on top. That addition to the recipe earned it a permanent place in my personal recipe book.

Be sure to leave a link to your favorite recipes below!!!!!

Mason Jar Salads | My Favorites

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photo 2-1This summer, up until September I have been eating salads that I take to work in Mason Jars for lunch. I was able to eat a different salad each week, which kept me from getting bored and happy to try this again next summer. I thought I would just share some of my favorite ingredients for those who want to get into Mason Jar Salads.

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Protein:
Chicken
Roast Beef
Quinoa
Black Beans

Veggie’s:
Heirloom Tomatoes
Green Onion
Yellow, Red, Orange Bell Pepper
Cucumber
Avocado

Fruit:
Strawberries
Grapes
Dried Cranberries

Nuts:
Slivered Almonds
Pecans

Cheeses:
Gorgonzola
Blu Cheese
Herbed Feta

Lettuce:
Spinach
Organic Girl Power Green
Romaine

I tried other ingredients, but the above are my favorites. My salad ingredient ratio combo is usually:
Protein
2 Veggies
Optional Fruit
Tablespoon Nuts
Tablespoon Cheese
Serving of Greens

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I never put my salad dressing in the jar, so I will do a separate post about my favorite salad dressings. Plus I always use quinoa and beans together for a great dose of protein. I kept a box of plastic forks and paper plates at work all summer, and was asked just about every day what salad and dressing I was eating that week.  These salads are quite high in good, healthy, sustainable calories. They are multi-vitamins in a jar, they are filling, they look gorgeous and are very easy to take to work.  Give it a try! What are your favorite’s?photo 3-4

Healthy Eats | Roasted Chicken & Vegetables

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I love roasted chicken and veggies, its easy, quick and a great meal. I will add one caveat, if you are going to roast chicken, it must be on the bone. The bone and skin add flavor, you can do without the skin, but you will have flavorless chicken without the bone. I like to use drumsticks or thighs in this meal because chicken breast tends to be more wishy washy concerning doneness.

Roasted Chicken & Vegetables

1 lb Chicken
3 Carrots
6 Baby Potatoes or 2 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 Onion
1/5 Cup and 1 tblsp Olive Oil
4 Rosemary Stems
1 Tablespon Mrs Dash Grilling Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Mrs Dash Garlic Seasoning
1 Lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. In a bowl or ziploc bag, combine lemon juice, 1/5 cup olive oil, 2 rosemary stems, salt, pepper and mrs. dash seasonings
2. Cover chicken with marinade
3. Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight (2 hours minimum)
4. Preheat oven to 425
5. Slice potatoes and place in a bowl
6. Season potatoes with salt, pepper, 1 rosemary stem and remaining olive oil
7. Place chicken and potatoes in oven safe dish and cook for 25 minutes
8. After 25 minutes, add remaining vegetables around and over chicken and return to oven for another 30-40 minutes
9. Chicken is done when juices run clear
10. Let cool and serve!

*30 Minutes for firmer vegetables, 40 Minutes for less firm vegetables

Freezer Staples | Making Healthy Eating Easy and Cheaper

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I have come to realize that the most practical way to purchase healthy food on a budget is by purchasing items that will be held in my freezer. This also makes cooking for one easy as well.

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In my last post I spoke about my soup files, which have really made lunch easy. With the remainder of my freezer staples I kept that same meal portions concept in mind.

First up, Chicken Breast. I eat chicken every week in soups, curries, wraps, etc, so I wanted to find a good economical frozen bag of breast fillets. However, I still wanted hormone free, organic chicken packaged with as few preservatives as possible. I went to my three favorite stores for purchasing meat, perused their selection, and chose the best option.
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Of the options, Trader Joe’s won, hands down. This 2lb bag of frozen breast meat is hormone free , there are no preservatives, and is individually frozen (meaning I don’t have to pry stuck pieces of chicken apart. Each breast is 4oz., which for me is a perfect portion. Continuing with meat, seafood and beef.

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I live in Florida with easily accessible, cheap seafood, so it’s a must in my life. I go to the market, buy a few large fillets, cut them into the portions I need and freeze them in water (keeps frost bite away). For example, I bought one sizeable Salmon fillet and cut it into 4 portions ($6.99/lb), a good size Mahi Mahi fillet (9.99/lb, cost $7 that day) and cut it into two portions, and a pound of Bay Scallops (5.99/pound) portioned into 4 clumps. I froze each portion separately and ended up with about a months worth of seafood. I also purchased a pound of lean ground beef from Trader Joe’s (5.99/lb), seasoned and froze it in two separate portions (spaghetti and stuffed peppers).

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Last of the seafood is frozen shrimp. I almost bought shrimp from the same seafood market, but my sister pointed out that the bag from the Publix Frozen food section is peeled and deveined, which will make those tired nights easier, so I splurged and purchased the one pound bag for $18.99. Seems expensive, but when you do the portion math, it’s not so bad, none the less it’s a splurge. Next up was Smoothie fruit:

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My sister kindly pointed out to me that I could purchase a 5 lb bag of mixed fruit from Sam’s Club for $10.98, and that was that. I make a green smoothie daily and this bag of frozen fruit is by far more economical than anything else I was purchasing. I still add a piece of fresh fruit to my smoothie (banana, mango, avocado or pear), and save lots of money. Last but not least is veggies:

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I was hesitant to purchase frozen veggies because they do not have as much flavor as the fresh variety, but the nutritional value is higher, so I decided to give it a try. Economically, Walmart wins with these three pound bags of Bird’s Eye veggies are $2.99 a piece. As you can see I am almost done with one of the bags. These are so easy to steam, throw in a stir fry, noodles or curry dish. They have cut down on cooking and prep time tremendously.

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I have to admit that while economical, they do not have as much flavor as their never frozen counterparts. Plus, pesticides and preservatives, well you decide. None the less, these freezer staples have made life sooooooo much easier. My weekly grocery spending is sooooo much cheaper and meal planning now starts with the freezer!