Meal Prep Madness

On weeks when I am completely organized and feeling on top of my game I like to reward myself with the ever conversated about meal prep time.

Yesterday while the husband was at work I spent the day making enough food to feed us for days and maybe some leftovers from the freezer.

I know some people cut their fresh veg and prep meats to make quick meals all week; that doesn’t really work for me. It turns out even if the veg and meat are ready to go after working all day I don’t want to cook anything, even if it’s easy. I like food that can be slightly altered to still be exciting; but that’s mostly already cooked. As always my extreme attention to detail makes this a taxing project; at least my love of cooking makes it interesting and usually fun.

I started my day in the kitchen by cooking a steak and topped with Boursin Cheese and toasted under the broiler to make the perfect breakfast, for me anyway. I knew the rest of the day would be busy so I wanted my first meal to be my favorite. Steak is always my favorite.

After breakfast, coffee and a rest it was off to the races. Mixing the ground beef was the first task. I had a huge 2.5kg package with a few plans. Sourdough bread crumbs, minced onion and garlic, spices, egg, a quick mix together and voila. From this I made 20 bocconcini stuffed meat balls in homemade tomato sauce, 24 small meat balls to add to the pizza casserole and 10 mini meatloaves in a muffin pan in the freezer.

I boiled 8 eggs for lunches and salads and smoked 8 eggs on the BBQ for deviled eggs. The first 8 were cooked and stashed in the fridge for later with 3 of the second, because I have more recipes to try with a smoked egg! The last five were peeled, gutted and mashed with yet more Boursin cheese before being proudly stuffed like the 70s hors d’oeurves I so fondly remember. Just with a whole new twist. Proof I actually make the Facebook recipes I’m so fond of posting.

I made tomato sauce with tomato passata, spices and the regular garlic, onion celery trifecta of taste a lot of my cooking relies on.

I boiled farfalle pasta, roasted bacon, shredded cheese, chopped pepperettes, washed and quartered mushrooms; then I added carrot shreds, more bocconcini and red peppers to the mix topped it all with half the sauce and a casserole that screams comfort food and cold weather goodness was created. Something that will reheat well and still be exciting after eating it three times. I try and make one recipe like this every week. Casseroles, soups, chili and stews are just a few things that come to mind in this category.

All this heavy food screamed for something green. My favorite salad of all time is wilted bacon salad. I can hear so many people groan when they read this and that’s because they clearly haven’t tried it. I saved some of the roasted bacon from the casserole step and all of the drippings. The drippings went into a frying pan with butter, a splash of avocado oil and thin sliced onion and garlic. While the onions and garlic were caramelizing, I chopped romaine added some cheese and black pepper. Once the onions were done I added the bacon and some raspberry champagne vinegar. The vinegar almost candied the rest of the vinaigrette, and it all had the most amazing flavour. I always make extra and reheat as needed. Top the salad with hot dressing just as you’re about to eat and it’s the greatest salad ever. Cold well, it’s not so great I recommend avoiding tasting it that way especially your first time.

This week Sunday dinner was a big plate of options with a lot of possibilities for the next few days. The casserole will just get eaten. I’m not a huge gluten eater so the few bites I had are enough for me I should’ve just skipped it, but after all my efforts there was no way I was passing on tasting it. My husband however will eat it until it’s gone he loves pizza and pasta, so the two together in every bite, what could be better?! The meat balls might become a sandwich or some might make it to the freezer for a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs to be eaten on another one of those days when cooking is just not on my agenda.

My few hours of efforts and organization will turn into maybe 15 or more individual meals. Meals I’ll be happy to have when the option of pushing the place order button on any food delivery app from the comfort of my sofa would be a better option that getting myself to the kitchen to prepare the carefully chopped ingredients for meals I was so sure I wanted when I started the process three days ago. Cheers to the prep people who actually do more with that dice veg and carefully cut strips of chicken breast than toss them in the trash can. I admire your dedication and organization. I can’t ever see that being me. I know shocking but check it out, that’s right I’m cheering you with the paper cup filled with coffee I bought on my way home from wherever I’ve been because even making coffee is more than I want to do at the end of the day.

Meal prep day for me is more like cook for the week day. Opening the fridge 5 days a week to raw possibilities is nothing compared to opening the fridge or freezer to a ready, homemade meal. It’s like winning a Willy Wonka golden ticket as opposed just having a chocolate bar. Both are ok, but clearly the golden ticket would be better!