Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Meal Prep

How to not make it boring

While flying back from a food bloggers conference in Utah last week I thought I’d come up with ways to keep your meal prep not-so-boring. It’s not satisfying to prepare meals for several days simply to take it to work and stare at a bowl of mush. Simply put, if what you’re eating doesn’t look appealing, chances are your brain is now thinking of where the closest Chipotle is. So let’s take care of this little problem and help get your meals back on track.

You’ll want to read this short article if your meal prep suffers from the following:

  • dull-ness
  • non-vibrant
  • soggy
  • flavorless
  • not appealing at all

Here are 8 ways to revive your meal prep and keep look forward to eating the wholesome meals you create.

#1 Stop overcooking
One sure way to make your meal look boring is by overcooking your food. Veggies are the number one overcooked food. When sautéing veggies, keep them crisp. Do not overcook to the point of mush. They should have “bite” when you’re done cooking. This mostly applies to green beans, asparagus, squash, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, etc.

#2 Add color to your meal
This falls under the “not appealing” category. When you grab your meal from the fridge and pop the top, you want to see something that not only tastes good, but looks good too. Are you into salads? Try adding red cabbage or radicchio. Add red grape tomatoes and consider edamame’s. Made fish for your meal prep? Add a bunch of lemon or lime zest to spruce it up and add more flavor. Consider steaming your green beans and broccoli. Not only is a great way to cook these veggies but they get very vibrant green when finished.

tandoori-chicken-top-mbmk

#3 Marinate

This will take care of the flavorless part. Marinating meats adds tons of flavor. Consider using fresh citrus juice (juice from a lemon, lime or orange) to help tenderize the meats which also adds its own flavor. Marinating is part of my normal cooking process. For a great Tandoori Chicken Marinade, check out my friend Sean Peter’s recipe.

Meal Prep - How not to make it boring

#4 Use fresh herbs

Fresh herbs are one of my absolute favorite ways to add color and flavor to almost any meal. Herbs are for the most part affordable or very easy to grow in your very own home. My goal is to have my own herb garden built by yours truly, before the end of June 2016. OK so let’s do a quick breakdown of what herbs can be added to what dish. For anything Spanish, you can pretty much add cilantro, flat leaf parsley, and even oregano.  Italian dishes can get flat leaf parsley, Italian parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, and some dishes can get sage. Sage is pretty strong but delicious so add a little at a time and taste to perfect it. Mediterranean dishes are similar to Italian, thyme, oregano, sage, parsley, and they also add rosemary and saffron. Caribbean dishes tend to have fresh ginger, cilantro, and scallions. Have more to add? Comment below!

Meal Prep - How not to make it boring

#5 Add fruit

I use fruit in many of my dishes. Besides using the citrus juice in my marinades, I add an extra lime, orange, or lemon wedge into the dish itself. Adds color yes but you can also use it to add flavor to your food. Easily works with salads, taco dishes, soups, and much more. Strawberries can be added to salads, even mangos. Find out how to pair your fruit with your meal and make your meal prep interesting!

#6 Get a grill pan

This tip here is a good one. I feel it is one of the top things to do to make your meal as appetizing as possible. I’m a big griller and I use my Weber charcoal grill often but unless you’re eating the meal that day, the meat can become very dry by the next. So what is the solution? Get yourself a cast iron grill pan. This pan will give you the look of grilling without drying out your food. Your chicken, steak, pork, etc, will no longer look the same when using this pan. Grill lines are a good thing, trust me. Take a look at these Freezer Friendly Burritos I made using the grill pan to add some marks to it. An ideal tool for your kitchen and meal prep.

#7 Make sauces

Sauces can bring almost any dish back to life especially when sitting in the fridge a couple days. Sauces add creaminess, or juice to a dish and can really pack flavor in small quantities. They normally store well in the fridge when sealed in a mason jar. For an amazing 5 Minute Magic Green Sauce visit Pinch of Yum. They also have a new Romesco Sauce that includes ingredients like roasted red bell peppers, olive oil, and garlic. You’re welcome!

Meal Prep - How not to make it boring

#8 Upgrade your containers

This is a fairly easy and quick way to kick up your meal prep game a bit and it involves upgrading your containers. You know the clear bottom and see through blue top style container set you get from the supermarket or Walmart? Over time they change color, warp, and can also smell bad. It’s time to toss them (in the recycling bin BTW) and upgrade to some new containers that are fit for the job. If you live in the US, you most likely have a TJ Maxx or a Marshall’s nearby. These are awesome places to find new, hip, modern containers that have color and are quality made. They usually carry glass, quality plastics, and tin containers. I have all types and normally buy from these locations. If you want to try the famous black containers with the clear lids, head over to my friends at Fitpacker.com and check out their selection. If you live outside the US, Amazon also has a great selection.

I hope you found this information useful. It’s an accumulation of things I’ve learned along the way in the meal prep game. For a perfect example of all the tips I’ve mentioned in this article, visit my Asparagus 5 Ways post and you’ll see it in action!

 

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