The challenge is always this: Meal Prep for the week. Amirite? The Barrel Aged Vegetarian have had a system going for quite some time: Sunday is meal prep day. We at least get something in to set us up for the week, at least somewhat. The problem is not having enough done to carry us past Wednesday. We have an intense 4-day work week, and not having enough gas in the tank come Wednesday is an un-necessary struggle!
I’m sure you can relate. Oddly enough, during the peak of my frustration, I came across a great website by suggestion of a friend called Meal Prep On Fleek, and it was love at first sight! Seeing containers filled with food that not only looked delicious, but healthy too was all I needed to embark on the journey myself. So, I had the idea to make double the recipes I would normally make, which saves us time.
Doesn’t that look pretty? This week was test week, and here’s how it went:
Three Hours of Meal Prep
I know it sounds like a lot, but in our house, meal prep means the last half of the entire afternoon, so this was an improvement! We made this dish, and three others (muesli, egg cups, and a kale salad with basil pesto rub). We also portioned out some grapes for snacks, so we could just grab-and-go. This freed up time during the week at night to do things like relax *gasp* and get to bed on time! Imagine that!
This was the cast of characters. It was different to get used to the sheer quantity of produce that went into this meal, but the payoff is totally worth it.
This is my makeshift steam basket – a large stock pot filled with 1-2 inches of water is brought to a boil. Add a colander, your broccoli, and add the stock pot lid, and you’ve got yourself a veggie steamer! I did it in batches because we were working with so much broccoli!
When there’s nothing in the fridge ready to go, what do you do? CARBS! That’s what happens in our house anyway. If there’s bread and cheese, that’s what we’re having for dinner, and enthusiastically so, though it might not be that great for our bodies. This week, we’ve had no shortage of nutritious meals, setting us up for ultimate success. We picked up all of the produce for this from our farmer’s market. As we were done shopping, I spotted this weird looking thing.
THIS is what ultra-fresh young ginger looks like! Amazing, right? I knew that I had to buy it and add it to this dish instantly. Even the skin on this ginger is tender, so I didn’t bother with getting all of it off before mincing it. The leaves are edible too, so I sliced some of them up and threw them in with everything. They’re great to add to soups too, and have a grassy, mild ginger flavor. If you can’t find fresh young ginger like this, the regular knobby ones you can find at the grocery store will suffice!
It is immensely satisfying to see all those containers in your fridge, ready for when you are. Your time during the week is instantly freed up, and you feel like you have the time to conquer all of the things you never have time for. Want to work out? You’ve got an extra 30 minutes per day to do that now, AND you’re fueling your body with the best nutrition to make your body the healthiest version of itself. I don’t know about you, but I call that winning!
Do you set aside time for your meal prep during the week? I’d love to hear your methods!
- 3 Large Broccoli Crowns (2 Cups of chopped stems, 13 Cups Broccoli Florets)
- 6 Large Peeled Carrots, shredded (5 Cups shredded)
- 16 ounces Shitake Mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced
- 10 ounces shelled Edamame (I used two 5 ounce packages of Seapoint Farms Shelled Soybeans (Edamame)
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Brown Basmati Rice, cooked according to package directions.
- 1 Heaping Tablespoon Finely Grated Fresh Ginger
- 1 Heaping Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Tamari
- ¼ Cup Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1-2 Teaspoons Hot Sauce (more or less to your liking. If you don't like spicy, omit this.)
- 2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
- 4 Teaspoons Black Sesame Seeds
- 4 Teaspoons White Sesame Seeds
- Lemon Wedge
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Steam broccoli in batches, and transfer to the largest bowl or stock pot you have. I don't own a steamer, so I put 2 inches of water in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, and added a large colander. I topped the colander with the stock pot lid (fits loosely, but enough), and steamed the broccoli in batches, about 7-10 minutes per batch, or until the broccoli is bright green, and tender-crisp.
- As the broccoli steams, and the rice cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally until browned, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic to the mushroom mixture, and cook one minute until fragrant, then add in the oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, tamari, sweet chili sauce, and hot sauce. Stir until combined.
- Add the mushrooms and sauce to the broccoli, and also add in the carrots and edamame. Toss well. If you don't have a large enough bowl, you may need to do this in batches.
- When the rice has finished cooking and is fluffy, divide among 8 containers. Divide the broccoli mixture among the 8 containers as well, and top with the sesame oil and sesame seeds.
- That's it, you've got dinners for two for 4 days of the week!