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Meal Prep Week 1

10/16/16-10/22/16

Chicken, Veggies, and Taters... Oh My!

Eating healthy is an important aspect of not only progress in weight loss, but also performance, feeling good, and improving your overall health. The benefits and importance of a healthy, well rounded diet are not facts that people dispute. However, many people may argue "it's too hard", "it's too expensive", "I'm too busy or tired after work to cook".... and the list goes on. So why not try meal prepping?

It's not like prepping for an apocalypse or trying to prepare a meal for twenty people. You can simply spend a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday, and cook a few meals that will get you through the week. Now, when you come home from work or the gym exhausted, and all you want to do is sit down and watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show, you can just simply heat up a healthy meal that you've already created, sit back, and enjoy! No guilt, no additional money spent on take out, and little clean up!

I want to take you through one of my typical meal prep days. First, we start with researching our recipes. Pinterest has been a great resource! We look for healthy recipes that include a lot of ingredients that we may already have, or recipes that may only have a few ingredients. We also look at prep time. We try not to choose recipes that will take up our entire day. The weekends are precious and short-lived as it is! Then, we write out our shopping list and hit the store... usually bright and early. This allows us to avoid the crowds and have the best choice in produce. Keeping a manageable budget has been very important to us. We've shopped in many different stores ranging from Whole Foods to Trader Joe's to Farmer's market. However, we have been absolutely loving Aldi's recently!

So why Aldi's? First of all, the prices rock! I'll include a picture of our receipt for this weeks worth of groceries to show you what I'm talking about. Before Aldi's we were spending between $75 and $100 (or more) a week. We've managed to get it down to between $50 and $70 a week with Aldi's. The quality of food is great, we've never had a problem, and they have a "double guarantee"! What is a double guarentee? "If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with any product, we will gladly replace the product AND refund your money." They cut out certain costs like grocery bags and people to retrieve carts. They also have smaller energy-saving stores in order to pass along the savings. Simply put, we love Aldi's and their products.

So whats on the menu for this week? We're serving up Chicken Fajita Lunch Bowls, One Pan Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies, Skinny Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, and Easy Grilled Chicken. Below are all the recipes, the links to the recipes, our pictures of the finished results, our shopping list, and our shopping receipts.

Chicken Fajita Lunch Bowls

http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2016/04/chicken-fajita-lunch-bowls.html

INGREDIENTS

Chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Salad

  • ¾ cup basmati rice (uncooked)
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS

Chicken

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a small baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Turn to coat.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the chicken, then bake for another 10-15 minutes (depends on the size of your chicken breasts), until cooked through.
  4. Allow to rest for 10 more minutes before slicing.

Lunch Bowls:

  1. Cook the rice according to package directions. Allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rice, bell peppers, red onion and corn.
  3. Shake together the vinaigrette and add to the bowl. Toss to coat everything completely.
  4. Divide amongst 4 lunch containers, topping with the chicken.
  5. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Nutritional Information:
Calories 479 // Fat 19 g // Saturated Fat 2 g // Cholesterol 0 mg // Sodium 180 mg // Carbohydrate 41 g // Fiber 2 g // Sugars 5 g // Protein 30 g

One Pan Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies

http://damndelicious.net/2015/06/27/one-pan-honey-garlic-chicken-and-veggies/

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces baby red potatoes, halved
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 24 ounces broccoli florets*
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, butter, honey, brown sugar, Dijon, garlic, oregano and basil; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Place potatoes in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken in a single layer and brush each chicken breast with honey mixture.
  4. Place into oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.* Stir in broccoli during the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until caramelized and slightly charred.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

http://notenoughcinnamon.com/2016/01/20/skinny-buffalo-chicken-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/

INGREDIENTS

  • 7 medium sweet potatoes skin on
  • 30 oz / 800 g skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 7 Tbsp  Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing

Buffalo sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, place sweet potatoes on it and bake for 50 minutes or until flesh is very tender (test with a knife). Turn off the oven and keep the sweet potatoes inside to keep them warm.
  2. In the meantime, place chicken breasts in a large pot, cover with water and cook on medium-high heat for 30 minutes. Drain and transfer breasts on a cutting board or a plate. When cool enough to handle, shred using two forks or your fingers.
  3. In another large pot (you can use the same one you used for the chicken) over medium heat, combine hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder. Add butter and whisk while it's melting. When butter is incorporated, stir in cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water. Whisk until sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and add shredded chicken. Mix thoroughly to cover chicken with sauce.
  4. Take the sweet potatoes out of the oven, cut them in half lengthwise (without cutting them all the way down so that the two parts stay attached together) and stuff them with shredded buffalo chicken. Drizzle one tablespoon of blue cheese sauce on each sweet potato. Top with fresh herbs if using. Serve immediately.

Easy Grilled Chicken

http://damndelicious.net/2015/06/22/easy-grilled-chicken/

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, brown sugar, Worcestershire, garlic, thyme, oregano and rosemary; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reserve 1/4 cup and set aside.
  2. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine balsamic vinegar mixture and chicken; marinate for at least 1 hour to overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the chicken from the marinade.
  3. Preheat grill to medium high heat. Add chicken to grill and cook, flipping once and basting with reserved 1/4 cup marinade until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes on each side.

Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Shopping List (for recipes)

  • Lots of Chicken Breasts
  • Basmati Rice
  • Red Onion
  • Bell Peppers
  • Corn
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Red Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • Franks Red Hot
  • Corn Starch
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Worcestershire Sauce

Additional Shopping List (not in recipes)

  • Spinach (for smoothies and salad)
  • Veggies (for salads)
  • Bread and Lunch Meat
  • Almond Milk (for smoothies)
  • Granola
  • Fruit (for granola)
  • Eggs

Ingredients already in the Cabinet (for recipes)

  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Honey
  • Brown Sugar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Lime Juice
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