How To Plan & Prep A Week Of Meals Like A Pro, part 2
Now We Need To Cook This Shit
Cooking wise I like to make it as easy as possible on myself. I also like slow cooked, tender meats because they’re delicious and nutrient dense
There’s two weapons I use most in the kitchen – my slow cooker and my pressure cooker
The pressure cooker I’ve had for years, the slow cooker was loaned to my by one of our awesome tribe members. In any case, I’ll throw a protein source into the slow cooker with some other bits and pieces on a Sunday, either to cook through the day or overnight. I’ll set it to 8 hours and let it do the magic
That same evening I’ll throw the other protein source into the pressure cooker with some similar bits and pieces and let it do its magic. The pressure cooker will have your food done in around 30mins, so I am always around while that’s on (mine is a stovetop model). The slow cooker is electric and I’m happy to leave the house while that’s on
What other bits and pieces do it put in the pot?
Here are two of my favorite go-to flavor combos –
Combo 1: onion, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, white wine
Combo 2: onion, capsicum, garlic, paprika, cumin, bay leaves, salt, lemon juice and a little rind, dash of apple cider vinegar
*add a cup of water to each also
It’s pretty hard for things not to taste great when you add some simple, timeless flavour combos like those. Got herbs in the garden? Throw them in. Got some wine left over from dinner with friends? Throw some of that in. Got some spices you need to get rid of? Try googling “what goes well with ‘(insert spice here)’” and use it up. Getting creative with this shit isn’t hard at all, and the more you practice the better you get at it (funny, that…)
Next I’ll prepare my veggies
This happens straight after i have thrown the protein on to cook
For these I’ll cut off a minimal amount of the bottom of the stalk if it looks a bit funky from sitting on the shelf, retaining as much as possible. I’ll put all the leaves together, chop them roughly, then I’ll put them into a sink full of cold water with a dash of apple cider vinegar to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. This gives them a good clean. I’ll give them a good swish around make sure they’re washed well. Then I’ll pull them out, sit them in a couple of strainers to drip dry for 20mins or so and lastly put them into a large plastic lunch box that I keep in fridge so that i have them on hand for the week, ready to go
This alone is a golden tip. Having veg prepped and ready to go when you need it saves so much time through the week
I’ll then cook the carbs straight after…
Assuming i am going for white rice and sweet potato, I’ll just cook up a pot of rice on the stove (i like the absorption method). For sweet potato I’ll usually bake them in the oven at around 160 for an hour to an hour and a half until they get really soft. While the oven’s preheating i’ll wash and scrub them (skin stays ON), then I’ll dry them off and poke a bunch of holes in the skin all around the potato. I’ll put a piece of foil or a tray in the bottom of the oven to catch the sweet goo that they’re going to drip out, then sit the sweet potatoes on the rack in the oven. After an hour or so i will turn the oven off and let them stay in there another 45mins or so to get real soft and delicious
After that i will pull them out, chuck them into a big steel bowl with some pepper, salt and a hunk of butter, then mash them up with a potato masher. Delicious sweet potato mash right there
To Cook Or Not To Cook?
When it comes to veg, I will lightly cook anything that’s fairly robust (brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrot etc.)
I’ll simply throw the chopped, washed veg into a pot with a little fat (butter or ghee) and salt, put the lid on, and let it steam/fry for only a couple of minutes. Important to make sure there’s moisture in there. I cook until it’s a little softened, but still quite crunchy. Better under than over in my opinion. Never mashy, i hate the texture and the nutrients are basically gone by that point
For leafy veg like Kale, Spinach, Silverbeet etc, i throw them into my lunch container raw. They’ll cook adequately when i heat my food up before i eat (i use a food warmer at work which heats the meal up gently in a sealed container over 2 hours, or if at home i heat up in a pot with the lid on)
I’ll pull out 5 glass lunch containers to make up my individual meals. I will put a scoop or two of my carb source in there, and scoop or two of my protein source, and then a couple of handfuls of green veg. These lunches all look exactly the same, and i’ll keep them in the fridge ready to go to work with me and be heated up at lunch time. If the slow cooker is going overnight i will just do this step in the morning once its ready
P + C + V = 6 things!
I find this formula simplifies a task that often blows up out of proportion, and ends up becoming a bit of a nightmare. You can take it as far as you like in terms of spices, ideas, different sources and the like, but if you stick to the basic 6 items it’s pretty hard to go wrong. Every now and again you can open a recipe book or google something new to keep your repertoire of meal ideas evolving
I can also say, after a week of eating clean, healthy meals, i feel much more deserving of splurging on a weekend breakfast, or a Friday night Uber Eats delivery!
Hope that helps. Let me know how you go! Hit me up here if you need a hand with any of this