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Meal Prep Inspiration/Pinspiration

   

Meal prep is my number one way to stay on track when it comes to eating better, but sometimes I need fresh and new meal ideas.  When I need meal prep inspiration I head straight to Pinterest.  There I have found hundreds of meal prep ideas, recipes and even suggestions for storage and transport.  Today I have rounded up some of my very favorite pins to share in hopes they spark your meal prep inspiration too.

       

Having meals ready that you can store in the freezer helps ensure that you have long-term options available. Building a little stock pile of individual or family sized meals that are ready to defrost and eat can get you over the hump when you may not have time to grab fresh ingredients:

On the other hand, sometimes you crave fresh veggies and greens. When the mood strikes it’s awesome to be able to pack a whole bunch of salads at once and have them last throughout the week:

Freezer pancakes are such a great idea for busy mornings. I used this pin as a jumping off point for coming up with a variety of variations for various dietary needs. Whether you’re doing Whole30, Paleo, keto or another diet, prepping and freezing pancakes in bulk is a really simple and easy way to ensure you have a solid breakfast ready each morning.

Meal prep may not always be about prepping a whole meal. Sometimes it’s nice to have meal components ready and available just to help you get food on the able faster. This cauliflower rice is one of those things you may not have time to make on a weeknight, but prepping a few bags can help ensure you have healthy side dishes ready in just a few minutes:

Sometimes I stumble upon new types of containers for prepping. You absolutely do not need fancy containers to do meal prep, but sometimes it can be handy for stacking and storing or portion control when you do use the same container for each meal. I really like these 3 section containers, though I’ll admit I have not decided whether or not to spend the money on them. Right now I’m fairly happy with my Great Value 25 oz. entree containers from Walmart.

Since coming off Whole30 I’ve been exploring keto or low carb recipes a little more. I like them because they can be fairly on track with Whole30, but allow for dairy, which I love. This recipe for pizza rolls is definitely an “eat in moderation” type of recipe, but it’s easy, stores really well and makes a fantastic meal when paired with salad or veggies so it’s perfect for meal prepping.

Whenever you need new ideas it can be so much fun to see what other people have had success with. Please stop by and check out my entire collection of Meal Prep pins for more meal prep inspiration:




About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Zoodle Pie for Meal Prep Monday

   

Meal Prep

       

Zoodle pie, my take on spaghetti pie, has become a new favorite for meal prep in our house.  The simple substitution of zoodles (zucchini noodles) for regular pasta provides a big dose of veggies in a tasty and easy dish.

Since I’m just starting to get back into meal prepping again I’ve been looking for fast and fun things to make.  I also wanted to try totally new meals that we’ve never had before.  Zoodle pie definitely fit the bill.  The prep is a little intensive, but once you get the zucchini spiralized and squeezed out the remaining steps go pretty quickly.

I’ve been making various versions of spaghetti pie for years, but for this particular recipe I took inspiration from Pioneer Woman’s Best Lasagna Ever recipe.  I made the actual recipe for Christmas dinner so I knew it was already a winner.  My favorite part about the recipe was using cottage cheese and eggs rather than ricotta because I think ricotta can be a little bland. The cottage cheese/egg mixture really helps hold the zoodles together well in this dish.
Zoodle Pie

Zoodle Pie

Serves 12

Ingredients
3 medium zucchini + 1/2 tbsp salt
32 oz. cottage cheese
3 eggs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb Italian turkey sausage
1 24 oz jar sugar free pasta sauce

Preheat over to 350 F.

Spiralize the zucchini and place into a colander. Sprinkle with 1/2 tbsp. salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse gently and squeeze excess water out of zoodles. Place zoodles on a towel and roll up, gently squeezing excess water out as you roll. Set aside.

Mix the cottage cheese, eggs, 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, garlic and onion powders, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until well combined. Set aside.

Brown Italian turkey until cooked through and crumble. Mix with entire jar of pasta sauce.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Ladle approximately one cup of meat/sauce mixture into bottom of pan and spread evenly. Top with 1/2 of the zoodles, spread evenly. Top zoodles with 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture, spread evenly. Spread another cup of meat/sauce mixture evenly over cottage cheese mixture. Spread remaining zoodles evenly and top with the remaining cottage cheese mixture, spread evenly. Spread all remaining meat/sauce over the top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 c. Parmesean cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until top is browned.

Water content in the zucchini may cause excess moisture in this dish. If dish looks a bit too wet after 45 minutes you can continue to bake for another 15 minutes, tenting the top with foil to prevent excess browning if necessary.

This zoodle pie is excellent right out of the oven, but for meal prepping I suggest refrigerating overnight and cutting it the next day. I found that it was easier to cut equal portions when it was chilled and firm.

What are you including in your meal prep this week?

Follow my Meal Prep Pinterest board for prep ideas, planning and tips:


About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Meal Prep Monday

   

Meal Prep Monday Banner

       

It’s Meal Prep Monday!  Today I am sharing some of the meal prep items I’ve made over the past week.  I’ve continued to enjoy a little more leeway with the ingredients I can use in meal prep.  Even though I have opted to reincorporate things like rice in our post-Whole30 meals the portion sizes are significantly smaller than average which makes them more sensible.  This weeks meal include:

meal prepDeconstructed Cabbage Rolls
White Rice

I sauteed ground pork, onions and cabbage with the addition of salt and pepper only.  It seems like that may be kinda boring, but this is the way Grandma did it and she was one hell of a cook so I’ll stick with her on that one.  I mixed a cup of tomato sauce with a dash of coconut sugar, apple cider and white vinegars and some Worcestershire sauce to make a classic cabbage roll-type sauce.  Everyone seems to have their own take on how this should taste, but I was going for a hint of sweet and a lot of zip with the two types of vinegar.

Meal prep
Grilled Chicken Breast
Wild rice blend

I have discovered that brining makes nearly any meat more delicious, especially chicken breasts that can easily get dried out when overcooked or reheated.  I’ve tried this simple brine recipe twice now, tweaking slightly for anything I didn’t have on hand and both times it’s come out wonderfully.   I paired these grilled chicken breasts with a brown and wild rice blend that was seasoned with a bay leaf and a half tablespoon barbecue rub mix.

Meal prep

Scrambled Egg Cups with Quinoa

Sometimes leftovers cause you to get creative so when I had leftover quinoa and a whole bunch of eggs I decided to mix them up into scrambled egg cups.  Six eggs and about a cup of cooked quinoa yielded 10 standard muffins cups filled about 3/4 of the way full.  I baked these for 20 minutes at 350 until almost set.  I was careful not to overcook them since we would reheat them during the week and I didn’t want to chew on little hockey pucks.

What are you including in your meal prep this week?

Follow my Meal Prep Pinterest board for prep ideas, planning and tips:

Follow Former Fitness Flunky’s board Fit Food Finds – Meal Prep on Pinterest.
 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Meal Prep Monday

   

Meal Prep Monday Banner

       

It’s Meal Prep Monday!  Today I am sharing some of the meal prep items I’ve made over the past week.  I was so excited to be able to cook some different things like beans, rice and other grains that I started  prepping  on the last day of our Whole30 just to be ready.

Meal Prep

Cheddar Jalapeño  Sausage 
Quinoa with sautéed kale and onions

I’ve used Miller chicken sausages in past preps, but they don’t get old for us. It’s an easy and fairly nutritious choice, though I sometimes find them a bit salty. To counter that I made simple quinoa with sautéed onions and frozen chopped kale. I didn’t use any salt to counterbalance the sausage seasoning.

Meal Prep
Kalua Shredded Pork
Speckled butter beans
White rice with jalapeño cream

Kalua pork has become one of my favorite go-to recipes for meal prepping. It’s so easy and hands-off and yields a huge batch of incredibly versatile meat. This week I paired the shredded pork with plain rice and boiled speckled butter beans. Simple sounded good, but to add a twist I charred 4 cloves of garlic and 8 jalapeños under the broiler and then peeled and pureed them once cool with coconut milk, a little salt and some lemon juice. Zing! The sauce was a bit more spicy than anticipated, but when you mixed everything together the heat leveled out. I think you could sub any pepper into this mix, even bell, depending on your spice preference.

I am so excited to be able to expand my repertoire with grains and beans again. While it can be nice to take a break and explore other options I personally feel like beans, rice, quinoa, lentils, etc. are a healthy part of our diet and I am glad to have them back. One part of the Whole30 I really struggle with is cutting out things I feel are solid nutritional choices (especially beans).

I need to get back in the kitchen and finish cooking for the week. Next up is a recipe I found on Pinterest for blender muffins. I really like having prepped breakfast options available so I am hoping they come out well.

What are you including in your meal prep this week?

Follow my Meal Prep Pinterest board for prep ideas, planning and tips:

Follow Former Fitness Flunky’s board Fit Food Finds – Meal Prep on Pinterest.
 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Meal Prep Monday

   

Meal Prep Monday Banner

       

Happy Monday!  Today I am sharing some of the meal prep items I’ve made over the past couple of weeks.  Whole30 really changes the way I do meal prep.  I just don’t have that much luck pre-planning full meals like I usually prepare.  Instead I like to have lots of options and more fresh (rather than frozen) choices available since eating can get very boring for me when on the program.  Meal prep has been more about making parts of meals so that I can quickly throw stuff together at meal time.  This method still works really well, but it gives me much more of a chance to branch out on choices.

Breakfast has become a really important part of meal prep lately.  On past Whole30 rounds I’ve either cooked something quick for myself or eaten leftovers, but with hubby doing it too I’ve found it’s really helpful for him to have both breakfast and lunch ready to throw in his lunchbox each morning. I’ve experimented with lots of different breakfast options and so far everything has been great. I have to give credit to our new silicone muffin cups because without them I probably would have gone nuts trying to clean our muffin tin of egg residue for a lot of the below recipes.

Meal Prep Sausage Patties
Two pounds of chicken and one pound of pork mixed with sage, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flake, black pepper and salt yield 21 sausage patties. I took inspiration from an Alton Brown recipe on the seasoning. The flavor of these was very similar to store bought breakfast sausage, but they did turn out a bit dry. I think I overworked the meat a bit when mixing in the spices. I also think the leaness of the chicken played a part. I would either skip or reduce the chicken next time and be extra careful about mixing the meat. They froze and reheated very well nonetheless.

Meal Prep

Egg Cups (version one)
These were as simple as lining muffin cups with sugar free bacon and cracking an egg into egg cup. I baked at 350 for about 20 minutes and the yolks were just set. Even with the grease of the bacon the egg still managed to make it’s way to the sides of the muffin pan and stick like glue. These cups were really tasty, but a major pain in the butt.

Egg Cups (version two)
Eggs can get boring so I wanted to mix things up this time. I whizzed eggs, coconut milk and salt in pepper in the blender, then added chopped green onion and sugar free bacon crumbles. I got smart to the sticky muffin pan issue and got silicone muffin cups (which must be coated in magic because they are truly no stick). I cooked these for 20 minutes at 350, until they were just set. Since we reheat these I really tried not to overcook them, lest they be super rubbery later on.

Meal Prep

Banana “Muffins”
Is it SWYPO? I don’t even care. Sometimes you need a little sweetness in your life. I blended eggs, bananas, a scant tablespoon of tapioca flour, a scant tablespoon of coconut flour, cinnamon and a dash of baking soda to make these babies. They cooked right alongside the egg cups. Are they muffin-y? Kinda. They are really a bit more egg-y than muffin-y, but the flavor is a nice reprieve from so many eggs all the time.

Meal Prep

Brined Pork Chops 
I have discovered that brining is almost like cooking magic. A little salt, optional spice enhancements and just 30 minutes of soak time yields meat that is on a totally different level. I find that even when I try hard, my chops can still turn out dry, but this method is a real savior in preventing that. I’ve followed this method from The Kitchn twice now and both times our chops have not only been delicious the first night, but they’ve actually reheated and still been great – even in the microwave.

Meal Prep

Blueberry Balls
This was our sweet treat for Valentine’s Day. I know, this kind of stuff is frowned on, but seriously, if it fits the ingredient parameters it fits in my mind. Dried coconut whizzed into butter, then blended with freeze-dried strawberries and frozen blueberries turned into these tasty balls. They are very rich so one is really all you need. I also made a version without the blueberries, but I found them to be way too dense. The addition of fruit helps lighten the texture of the coconut butter dramatically. When I have some time I am going to reprocess the strawberry ones with additional fruit to make them more tasty.

Meal Prep

Chicken Soup
Soup is a great meal for prepping. Soup can be as easy as one pot and you can get meals for days. My chicken soup involves a couple stages which makes it a bit more intensive, but it’s so good it’s definitely worth the extra effort. First I simmer a whole chicken, a pound of carrots (chopped), a head of celery (chopped), two onions (chopped), a half head of smashed garlic cloves, a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, a couple bay leaves and salt and pepper for 90 minute to two hours in enough water to cover everything (usually about 2 quarts), then I strain the broth to remove all the solids, setting aside the chicken and discarding all the veggies. I return the broth to the pot and simmer that by itself to reduce down for about an hour. Next I return all the chicken meat (picked off the bone, skin removed and shredded), 1+ cups each of carrot, celery and onion chunks, two more bay leaves, two more tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Another 30-45 minute simmer and it’s all done. If you’re feeling saucy and aren’t doing Whole30 some noodles are a great addition. We’ve even had good luck making noodles from Chebe mix.

What are you including in your meal prep this week?

Follow my Meal Prep Pinterest board for prep ideas, planning and tips:

Follow Former Fitness Flunky’s board Fit Food Finds – Meal Prep on Pinterest.
 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.