Meal Prep 5 | Morefitme

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I kept things simple for meal prep because I want fresh ingredients for my meals this week. For breakfast I am having my favorite breakfast bowl (will do a recipe card later this week), which requires a good bit of chopping to save time in the mornings. Otherwise, the meal prep was mostly chopping to skip the prep step in the evenings. I was able to hit my freezer up for beans, rice and meaty marinara sauce, which means my beginning of the month prep is not going to waste. As you can see below, meals this week are best if prepared in the moment:Meal Plan

This time I misspoke in the video. The fajita vegetables I prepared are for burrito bowls, but the same principles apply. Fresh cooked veggies are really the most flavorful and nutritious. Like I stated, this weeks meal prep was simple and finished in under an hour due to frozen ingredients. Details can be seen in the video below:

 

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.

Lunch | Mason Jar Salads

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Its warmer outside, and for the moment, I have had enough of soup and am happy with salads. I saw the Mason Jar salad idea on Pinterest last year and thought that would be the easiest take to work route. I have plenty of pint size Mason Jars, so I cleaned them, dried them with Microfiber towels and filled them to the brim.

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I live in Florida, so I knew that I was going to head to the Farmers Market to pick all of my veggies up at the lowest price.   I purchased Romaine lettuce, baby tomatoes, cucumber, and red bell pepper; I went to Sam’s Club and picked up a pound of Organic Baby Spring Mix; then I went to Trader Joe’s and picked up a whole chicken, gorgonzola crumbles, pecan pieces and almond slivers. With all of this stocked in my fridge and internet research, I put together 5 salads for the week.

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Week 1

I put the salad dressing in a separate little container because I just wanted to be sure my salad didn’t go bad before I was ready to eat it. To cook the chicken, I woke up Saturday, put the whole chicken in my crock pot along with some onion and spices and set it to high. I went for a run, cleaned my house and once finished my chicken was done! I then shredded all of the chicken off the bone, put the bone back in the crockpot, added water and things and made broth for freezing. The next day I took the chicken out, plus the various veggies, cheeses and Voila! I must say that this is working beautifully!

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Week 2

This is my second week of Mason Jar Salads, and boy oh boy is this a winner. I simply take a plastic fork with me to work, paper plates can be found at my job, so this is easier than the soup because I do not have to microwave anything. The possibilities with salads are endless, not to mention salad dressing. I am loving these salad’s and will continue with this route until I want something else. I will share my favorite salad combos and dressing as I go.

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!

Meal Planning | Dinners

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I have written about trying out the meal planning idea on ourmindfulhome.com, by prepping my meals each week in the refrigerator. That worked ok for awhile, but it didn’t really allow for much variance. I decided to figure something else out by way of monthly meal planning.

As I have written for the last couple of weeks, I pretty much have breakfast, lunch and green smoothies down. They have a level of variance, but there are always options for those meals in my house, I simply replace ingredients as they run out. Plus, the ingredients for those meals tend to hold up well in the pantry or get used frequently in the refrigerator. That meant that I really just had to figure out dinner.

Accordingly, I decided to plan  my meals monthly, thus having a more global view of what I will need each month. For example, on April 1 I planned 15 meals, which will allow for leftovers, eating out once a week, or choosing soup for lunch. This month the list includes:

April
1. Chicken & Shrimp Stir Fry
2. Wings w/veggies
3. Stuffed Peppers
4. Stuffed sweet potato
5. Veggie Quesadilla
6. Shrimp Scampi or Scallops
7. Chicken and broccoli w/pasta
8. Spaghetti w/beef
9. Chicken Masala w/grains
10. Thai chicken w/grains
11.Mahi w/veggies and grains
12. Salmon w/veggies and grains
13. Tacos
14. Cornish Hen
15. Rosemary Chicken w/grains and veggies

Each week, on Sunday, I pick three meals for the week and begin making my grocery list from there. So far this month:

Week 1
Stuffed Peppers (MT)
Spaghetti (WR)
Thai Chicken (FSun)

Week 2
Salmon (MW)
Quesadilla, Tacos (TR)
Mahi (FSun)

This week will be:

Week 3
Mahi MW
Chicken Masala w/grains (TR)
Scallop & Shrimp Stir Fry (FSun)

I will write about my freezer later as it is stocked full, but this is working well for me. This plan allows for a lot of variety and allows me to use any leftover ingredients that may go bad that week. Plus, my weekly grocery bill has gone down quite a bit. At the end of the month, I think I will find that I have cut it in half! This means that this method is a win for me.

My Go To Lunch Options

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I take lunch to work daily, so I need something that is easy to store, holds up well for a couple of hours and doesn’t require a ton of day of prep. For me, that means that I have settled into a soup or sandwich routine.

Everyday I take either soup or a sandwich for lunch. I will do a separate post on how I do soups and maintain a variety, but with hearty soups, a bowl full is all I need, for vegetable soups I take a piece of toast to fill me up. Sandwiches are usually a veggie sandwich with cheese crumbles for fat or a meat sandwich with no cheese to lower calories. I am toying with the idea of veggie wraps, but I need to do more research into low cal, healthy and most importantly tasty wrap choices.

I do not make a plan each week to buy specific ingredients for my sandwiches, I just decide at the beginning of the week whether or not I am going to do veggie or meat sandwiches and purchase what I am missing. I keep my refrigerator stocked up with sandwich fixings:

Hummus
Red Onion
Bell Pepper
Peppadew Peppers
Alfalfa Sprouts
Cucumbers
Tomato
Avocado
Feta, Blu, or Gorganzola Cheese Crumbles
Meat (Turkey, ham, roast beef, chicken)
(when avocado’s are in season, I often use them for healthy fat instead)

I keep my freezer stocked up with several kinds of soup, portioned into single servings. This means that I can choose to have soup for a day or two, a sandwich for a couple days, and continue to switch it up. I also take leftovers because they are always a good, easy option. I do not take salad anymore because, well, it just doesn’t appeal to me at the moment.

Anyone out there take wraps? What tortillas do you use and how do they taste?