CSA Pickup and Meal Prep Week of 1/20/17

This is my first basket pickup since returning to work and it was significantly more difficult to fit in. Pickup is Friday night and thanks to my meal prep from the previous weekend dinner was just a reheat from frozen in the oven (Burger Balls and Fries). But then my oven failed and dinner took longer than expected like 90 minutes instead of 20 since we had to fiddle and wiggle with the stupid wire boxes… That’s a story for another post. The point is, my CSA pickup is so close to my home that I’ve always packed up the boys and walked. It’s a routine I love so much that I wasn’t going to let a wonky oven and late dinner steal from me! It didn’t. I made the end of the window with 10 minutes to spare and was rewarded with another beautiful basket of produce.

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I made a couple adjustments with this basket and added on a few items as well. We got purple potatoes, butternut squash, yams, orange bell peppers, garlic, romaine, spinach, green onion, Brussels sprouts, mini sweet peppers, and pears.

We also ran to our local grocer and picked up cauliflower to replenish our frozen cauli rice stash, cabbage for slaw, and fruit (cuties, grapes, apples, bananas) for snacking. I wanted to try something new this week so Meal Prep was super intensive. Plus at this point our oven was 100% dead and I had to travel to borrow someone else’s oven. Such a mess!

regardless, I pulled through and managed to make 3 dozen eggs worth of adult sized and mini sized spinach-ham-egg muffins for myself, my husband and my toddler. I skipped breakfast TWICE my first week back at work and knew I didn’t want to do it again. I always come home in a binge-y mood if I don’t eat enough during the day. We also riced and froze three heads of cauliflower, shredded the cabbage, and spiralized the zucchini. I made a pound of mini chicken teriyaki meatballs and white rice for the toddler’s lunches, plus Thai meatballs and chicken basil meatballs for dinners this week. I halved and roasted our Brussels sprouts (before the oven died) and washed and sliced all the grapes.

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My salads this week were quick and easy. 8 diced ALL the orange bell peppers and layered them with ranch, avocado, and rotisserie chicken that I drenched in Frank’a Redhot. Thanks to the bell peppers my jars were so full I had to bag the lettuce separately for the first time ever.

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And for the first time my husband asked me to pack him lunches instead of just leftovers… except he HATES salad. I had to get creative and we decided that a “noodle” jar (like the noodle bowls we’ve been having for dinner) would work well. So I whipped up a Teriyaki sauce, grilled some chicken, grated some carrots and topped it with a generous handful of zucchini noodles and two scoops of white rice. We’ll see if they’re successful…

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What did you prep this week? Next time I’d like to time my meal prepping so I can work on efficiency and time value.

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What’s For Lunch?

My husband is a stay-at-home dad to our two boys, but he also watches a cousin who is the same age as our oldest. Since I’m working full time as a teacher (with a 30 minute lunch period!) it’s important for both of us to have lunches ready to go that need very little preparation time… like 5 minutes or less. I love salads, but my husband does not (he hates dressing and without dressing salad is just a big pile of cold raw vegetables) so he gets the dinner leftovers and whatever I prepare for the toddlers.

My lunches this month are incredibly easy:

(pictures will be updated as I go)

1. Honey Mustard Chicken and Bacon Salad

2. Roasted Veggie Salad

3. Spinach Salad

4. Taco Salad

That leaves the toddlers and the husband. Transitioning myself to a cleaner more paleo/primal diet is easy especially since I ate this way before I became a parent and my husband eats what I make. But transitioning my toddler? That takes more effort. Thankfully he’s got a wide diet that includes lots of fruits, veggies, eggs, some dairy and some grains. When it comes to proteins he’s incredibly picky. He’ll eat shredded chicken in a burrito, but not a pan of enchiladas. He’ll eat a cheeseburger, but not a burger meatball. He’ll eat a chicken nugget, but not a chicken tender/popcorn chicken. He’ll try almost everything we make but if he doesn’t like it he won’t eat it. Typically at lunch he would eat leftover dinner if he liked it, pita bread pizzas (homemade), chicken nuggets (store bought), uncrustables (store bought), quesadillas (homemade), and ramen noodles. So here’s my plan:

1. Establish a weekend prep of SAD foods that are easy to reheat and serve, but are 100% homemade

2. Continue to find dinners and veggie sides he enjoys and then find ways to make them quick-prep or freezer friendly for lunches. For example, he loves spicy mung bean salad or butternut noodles with satay sauce. Can I make these ahead of time and make a jar of sauce to be quickly thrown together for lunch or snack?

3. Replace wheat products (buns/tortillas) with gluten-free alternatives such as bunless burgers, meat skewers, corn tortillas, cauliflower pizza crust, almond crust on nuggets, etc. We can’t afford gluten free bread products which are crazy pricey so I’d rather look for ways of just not including the typical bread item.

With the game plan in mind this past weekend I prepped 12 slider cheeseburgers and 10 chicken-rice burritos because he’s an independent kid who likes to feed himself sans fork and therefore needs handhelds:

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Next month I’ll have experimented with a wider variety of dinners and hopefully be ready to make some healthy adjustments.