It’s probably the most beautiful Sunday in the history of Sundays outside right now. Seriously, I don’t think New England has seen weather like this since the Pilgrims landed. But what am I doing midst this wonderful weather? Writing a blog. But I wanted to write this and also I’ve been straight out the past 6 days so a little inside alone time was needed.
As we all know, I like to prepare my weekday meals in advance to avoid eating out, not eating, or binging on random snacks. I’ve amped up my meal prep game recently. I don’t know how people shove bland baked sweet potatoes, flavorless shredded meat, and plain avocado in themselves on a daily basis. I would go absolutely BANANAS. I need flavor and I need the flavors to rotate otherwise I will stick my face in the nearest bag of Pirates Booty and never come back.
This week’s meal prep is a mexican-ish theme. I tried to use the same ingredients across a the board to be cost effective. I even kept track of what I used and the price. Here are the ingredients:
1.25lb Natural/Organic Chicken Breast: $6.25
Bunch of Clinatro: $1.29
5 limes: $2.75
1 Small Red Onion: $0.98
1 1/2 Cups (1/2lb?) Cous Cous: $2.50
2 Avocados: $2
1 Can Unsweetened Coconut Milk: $1.50
1 Ear Corn: $1.00
1 Organic Zucchini: $2.30
1 Organic Cucumber: $1.99
1/4lb Organic Brussel Sprouts: $2.50
1 4Cup Box of Organic Chicken Stock: $2.00
1 Dozen Eggs: $1.99
1 Big Container Greek Yogurt: $4
1/2 Gallon Organic Milk: $3.69
6 Pack Whole Wheat English Muffins: $2.00
Total Cost: $38.74
The above ingredients will make me: 4 lunches, 5 breakfasts, and 5 smoothies. The cous cous recipe will make enough to cover 1 person for at least 2 weeks. This all comes out to about $2.76 a meal.
The items I already had on hand were:
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
So now that my brain is smoking from all that math here is what I made this week.
Couscous with Avocado Dressing, Roasted Corn and Red Onion
1 1/2 Cup Dried French Couscous (the tiny ones not the pearl size)
1 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Cup Water
Add water and chicken stock to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add couscous and removed from heat. Let sit until couscous has absorbed all the liquid.
1 Handful Cilantro
2 Avocados (peeled and cored)
Juice of 3 limes
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Clove Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and well incorporated.
Toss cooked couscous with Avocado Dressing and let sit while you grill the corn and onion.
To Grill Corn:
Peel off outer husk leaves (about 2 layers). Peel down the remain husk WITHOUT FULLY REMOVING. Remove silk / straw, that really fine annoying stuff on the top of an ear of corn, completely. Fold remaining layers back up to cover corn. Dampen lightly with water. Place on a medium-high grill until corn appears to be slightly charred. Cooking time will vary.
To Grill Onion:
Slice onion into 1 inch rings, keeping all rings of the onion together. See photo below if that’s confusing to you. Rub onion slices with olive oil. Place on medium-high grill and grill until slightly charred. Cooking time will vary.
Slice the grilled corn off the cob and chop the grilled onion. Toss with Avocado couscous and you have your completed salad. A serving of cooked couscous is about 2/3 Cup. This batch made me 2 weeks worth of lunch portions. Here is the finished product!
Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken
For the marinade:
1/2 Can Coconut Milk
Handful of Chopped Cilantro
1/4 Diced Red Onion
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and Pepper
Sprinkle of Garlic Powder
Shake can of coconut milk vigorously before opening. Stir milk before pouring out of the can to ensure it is well blended. Add all ingredients to a medium sized bowl and stir to incorporate.
Add chicken to marinade and allow to marinade at least 2 hours in the fridge.
Grilled Zucchini and Brussel Sprouts
Slice zucchini in half length wise. Coat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place on grill and cook until zucchini has nice grill marks on it. I don’t know the technical terms for this, I just grill it until it looks done. If you’ve never grilled before, consult a friend who has so you don’t end up with a bunch of ashes.
Make a tin foil boat. Again, I don’t know the technical directions for how to do this but essentially you are making a holding bin for the brussel sprouts on the grill. Cut off bottom of brussel sprouts and slice in half. Place brussels in your tin foil boat. Cover with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Make sure all sprouts are covered. Place tin foil boat on grill and cook until sprouts are tender. About 10 minutes.
When all is said and done, my lunches looked like this:
I added 1/4 of the grilled zucchini, 1/4 of the grilled sprouts, 2/3 cup cooked couscous, and 1/4 of the grilled chicken to each container. My fridge is now stocked with lunches.
1 dozen eggs
1/3 Cup Shredded Cheddar
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Cup Milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Pour mixture into an oven safe baking dish of your choice. I typically use the 13″ by 9″ or in this case I used 2 smaller pans which I believe were roughly 6″ by 4″ (ish). Bake until eggs have nearly double in size and are firm to the touch. Cool and cut into 5 even serving sizes. Wrap in plastic and store in fridge.
I will take one of these individual servings and an english muffin with me to work for breakfast after the gym. I toast the english muffin and zap the eggs in the microwave for 30 – 45 seconds. It’s quick, healthy breakfast sandwich that re-fuels me quickly after my work out and keeps me full until lunch.
Since I have switched to working out in the morning, I’m trying to have smaller dinners. I eat the bulk of my calories before 1pm. Dinner is typically a smoothie with some roasted sweet potatoes for a snack. My smoothie recipe as of late is:
2 Kale Cubes (Kale blended with OJ, lemon juice, and coconut oil frozen into ice cubes)
1 Cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Frozen Mango and Blueberries
Snack: Fresh Pickles
Normally I HATE pickles unless fried. (Wicked healthy, I know) However, I have come to like fresh pickles. These are essentially cucumbers that have not be left to sit as long in the brine or whatever pickles normally come in. Here is how I make them:
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Dried Dill
Salt and Pepper
Diced Red Onion (optional)
Slice cucumber into small slices. Whisk vinegar, sugar, dill, and salt and pepper together. Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers in a tupperware container. Put lid on container and shake to coat. Let sit in the fridge for a day before eating.
Believe it or not these actually satisfy a craving for chips. Which is weird. And it’s a low calorie snack.
There you have it! Meal prepping at $2.76 a meal. Granted I had the more expensive items on hand. I stock up on frequently used items when they go on sale, like frozen fruit. Also, I have my pantry staples that I bought when I first moved in. I still have yet to buy a new olive oil since moving in because that’s how much I ration it out. Same goes for all the vinegars and spices.