Meal Prep 101

Well meal prep, I’m not the biggest fan unless its done really well with tones of effort and flavor poured into every lunchbox because really its just not that desirable to eat the same thing day after day! If your going down the meal prep road, first of all- fair play! It’s a great way to stay on track and a certain way to succeed in your 2016 food goals. To keep this up long term? Needs serious creativity when it comes to spices, herbs and combining flavors! I hope this post helps when getting creative for the next prepping session. So if you want to be really excited about cracking open your next tuber ware meal check out these easy recipes to stop your taste buds from going dormant! I have started this initial post concentrating on lunch/dinner options and predominately on burgers, spice mixes and one dish wonders for vegans, fish lovers and carnivores! I know there needs to be a lot of help with the vegetable portions in meal prep and tasty ways to dress up greens but don’t worry that post is in the process! All of these options are suitable for freezing or keep refrigerated in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

BURGERS

Hot Turkey Burgers

Makes 4 burgers

  • 600g ground turkey breast mince
  • 4 tbsp. chopped jalapeno (jarred will work)
  • 2 small cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 brown onion finely diced
  • ½ tbsp. ground cumin or seeds.

Method

  1. Preheat oven 200°C
  2. Place all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and using your hands combine well until the spices and herbs are evenly spread. Roll into balls or burgers. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes until cooked through. (Keeping in mind balls will take a shorter amount of time).

The Proper Lamb Burger

Makes 3 burgers

  • 450g minced Lamb
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 mint leaves chopped
  • ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. chili
  • 1 large/or 2 small garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tbsp. oil (olive, rapeseed or camel)

Method

  1. Preheat oven 200°C
  2. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and using your hands combine. Taking sections mold the burgers. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through.

The Veggie One

  • 50g uncooked green lentils
  • ½ medium sized butternut squash- peeled and diced.
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme leaves pulled off
  • half handful chopped chives
  • ½ courgette grated
  • 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 100g pumpkin seeds

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Start by steaming the butternut squash until tender. Drain of any excess water and Move to a food processor, blending until smooth.
  3. Cook the lentils, place in a small saucepan along with 2 cups of water- bring to boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until soft.
  4. In a large mixing bowl add the cooked lentils, squash, parsley, chives, thyme, courgette and nutritional yeast and mix well, the mix will be sticky and a little wet.
  5. Grind the pumpkin seeds for 20 seconds in a nutribullet/ food processor or use a pestle and mortar until they are milled roughly. Stir into the mix, which will become a little dryer and easier to mold into burgers. Place on a lined tray and bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges.


Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Kale Burgers
Makes 10 burgers

  • 100g quinoa
  • 280ml water
  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 220g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 large sun-dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil
  • 60g feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • 40g kale or baby spinach, chopped
  • 15g fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold running water to get rid of its bitter coating. Place the quinoa in a saucepan and pour in the water. Cover the saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the germ has separated from the seed. Tip the cooked quinoa into a colander to drain off any excess water, then set aside and allow to cool (I keep it covered while it’s cooling, which helps it to fluff up).
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  3. Boil or steam the sweet potatoes just until they are cooked through and tender. Place in a large bowl and mash until smooth, then stir in the cooked quinoa.
  4. Place the chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon this into the mashed sweet potatoes and stir until evenly combined. Add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper and combine well.
  5. Shape into 10 burgers, place on the tray and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until firm.

Salmon Burgers

  • 2 large skinless, boneless salmon fillets
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • handful of fresh dill, chopped, or snipped fresh chives
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. capers (optional)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Put all the ingredients except the coconut oil into a food processor and pulse briefly until just combined. Place in a bowl and cover with cling film, then put in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the flavours blend together. Divide into 4 portions and roll into burgers between the palms of your hands.
  3. Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Place the salmon burgers in the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes, gently tossing them around so that they get browned all over. Transfer to the lined baking tray and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the burgers are cooked through.

Dressing up a plain Jane!

Plain chicken breasts and salmon fillets without doubt get boring after a period of time, stock up those presses with some of these essential spices and herbs to dress up your chicken and salmon without sacrificing in too many extra calories or shop bought sauces and spreads.

Easy Spicy Mix – suitable for chicken/salmon
serves 2

  • Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chili
  • ¾ tsp Himalayan salt
  • tsp paprika
  • 4 tbsp. ground almond

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and rub onto chicken/salmon before baking.

Green Paste- chicken/beef/lamb marinade
serves 2 breasts

  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp. Fresh chopped Coriander
  • ½ large Red onion
  • tbsp. Cumin
  • 1” Ginger
  • 1 tsp. black Pepper

Place all the ingredients into a food processor/ nutri bullet and blend into a smooth paste. Marinade the meat and bake.

Coriander Crumble- Salmon Topping

serves 4

  • 4 tbsp. Fresh coriander chopped
  • tbsp. Cumin
  • tbsp. Mustard seed
  • tsp black Pepper
  • 20g raw Pistachio

Place all the ingredients into a pestle and mortar and grind into a fine bread crumb like texture.

Asian Crunch- Chicken/Salmon topping
serves 2 chicken breast or 4 salmon fillets.

  • 20g unsalted Peanut
  • 15g whole Almonds
  • tsp. Coriander
  • tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tbsp. chili
  • 2 tbsp. Sesame seeds
  • tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp. cardamom

Place all the ingredients into a pestle and mortar and grind into a fine bread crumb like texture

Easy Salmon dressing – one fillet

  • 1 tbsp. Tamari
  • 1 tsp. Honey
  • 1 tbsp. Sesame oil
  • ½ tbsp. Sesame seeds

Combine all the ingredients (omit the sesame seeds) in a glass or mug and drizzle over the salmon before sprinkling over the sesame seeds- grill or baking. Shop bought spice mixes? Some can be quiet high in sodium or have added bulking agents or flours so read the label with care!


ONE POT WONDERS

Sweet potato & turkey shepherds pie

Serves 6 portions.

This one is great for meal prep, I actually buy small aluminum dishes (you know the ones you get from take always? Well you can buy them in 2 euro stores and larger supermarkets) perfect when making one portion servings and the dishes are ideal for cooking in too!

  • 1 parsnip, cut into small cubes
  • coconut oil, for frying
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5kg minced turkey breast
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 200g frozen petit pois
  • 3 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée (opt for one that’s 100% tomato)

Sweet potato mash

  • 800g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add the parsnip cubes, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until they’ve softened a little but are still holding their shape and don’t break easily. Drain and set aside.
  3. Melt a little coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3–4 minutes, until the onion is starting to brown a little. Add the minced turkey and cook, stirring to break the mince into smaller pieces, for about 10 minutes, until the meat is completely browned.
  4. Strip the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and toss them in with the turkey and onion. Stir in the cumin and paprika and cook for 2 minutes. Add the frozen peas along with the cooked parsnip, tamari and tomato purée. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then transfer to a medium-sized baking dish.
  5. While the turkey is cooking, you can prepare the mash. Steam the chopped sweet potatoes and carrots for 12 minutes, until soft. Place in a blender and add the coconut oil, sea salt and a little black pepper. Blitz until the mash is smooth and creamy.
  6. Add big dollops of the mash on top of the minced turkey in the baking dish. Spread it out smoothly and evenly with the back of a spoon. Drag the tines of a fork across the top if you want to rough it up to make it extra crispy.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, until the shepherd’s pie is bubbling and the mash is golden brown

Easy Chilli

Serves 4

  • coconut or rapeseed oil, for frying
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 450g minced beef or turkey
  • 450ml tomato passata
  • 200g tinned chickpeas or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Heat a little oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Sauté the onion, chilli, garlic and spices for 5–6 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Add the minced meat and stir to break it up. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for about 20 minutes, stirring now and then so the meat doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pot and burn. Add the passata and bring to the boil for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Add the chickpeas or beans and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Recommended with; Quinoa , Bulgur, Brown rice or Cauliflower rice.

The Tastiest Veggie Stew

Great idea to prep this as your vegetable portion for meals or simply prepped on a bed of quinoa.

Serves 4 large portions

  • Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 red onions chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic diced finely
  • 2 large sticks of celery sliced
  • 1 large butternut squash cut into 2cm pieces
  • tbsp. cumin seeds or ground
  • 1 courgette sliced and quartered
  • 500ml vegetable stock (opt for low sodium)
  • 5 large tomatoes (on the vine if possible)
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 10g parsley leaves to garnish

Method

  1. First prep the tomatoes, dice two into 1” chunks, with the other 3 tomatoes place them in a food processor or nutribullet and puree into a smooth liquid (it may turn pinkish in color- that’s ok).
  2. Place the coconut oil into a large pot over medium heat, once melted add in the onion giving a quick stir, place the lid on and sweat the onion for 6 minutes until almost tender.
  3. Toss in the garlic, cumin, celery and cook for a moment or two.
  4. Next add the butternut, cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour in the stock, adding the courgette, chopped tomato and tomato puree.
  6. Turning the heat up and bring to boil for 4-5 minutes before turning the heat low and allowing the stew to simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  7. Finally, Season with some freshly chopped parsley.

Recommend serving with; Quinoa.