Dinners lately have been lazy sauce. Usually roasted veggies with some sort of lentil or chickpea curry, protein pasta or stuffed sweet potatoes. Yummy, but growing stale in this home. I need as few dishes as possible and want to spend as little time as possible. Mainly b/c I am spending a ton of creative time in the kitchen whipping up ice cream recipes for a fun project aka my life as well as meal prepping for a few clients. And not to mention this week has been hot as yo’ mama. And after experimenting with 4-5 recipes in half as many hours, I am beatsauce, or shall I say, beetsauce? (I really love using “sauce” at the end of my adjectives) in the kitchen and have little desire to whip out the food processor or 4 pots for cooking. And I know many of you feel the same way.
I have been a huge advocate for meal prep since…well, since I started focusing on eating more foods with whole and nutritious ingredients close to 10 years ago. It always keeps me choosing well even on my laziest of days.
Constants in my fridge are lentils, garbanzos, black beans, rice, sweet potato, eggs, spinach/arugula, and cut up veggies for snacking. Not to mention heaps of hummus, salsa, hot sauce, curry sauce and duh, avocados for all the foods. I tend to leave the things I cook unseasoned so I can adapt them throughout the week based on what we feel like eating. I usually throw some beans into a smoothie (sounds weird, but you’d never know!) so definitely don’t want them tasting like garlic or onions. No, thank you. I also love that one night I can season them for tacos, the next olive oil & vinegar with herbs, and the next curry. Meal prep for me isn’t about cooking 4 lbs. of chicken (duh I don’t eat chicken) for the week with 5 lbs. of steamed broccoli, rather giving myself easy options to whip up a variety of delicious & nutritious dishes quickly. You should be excited for when mealtime comes around! Crispy cauliflower nuggets…they hardly make it into my containers!
I have never been one to follow anything very strictly. I need wiggle room within guidelines to make me think that I’m making all the decisions. This is why I like to have a bunch of ingredients on hand for quick meals when I don’t have time to cook.
A few weeks ago I gave a talk called “Creative Meal Prep” at Beyond Macros’ Nutrition class at my Cross Fit gym. Attendees were CrossFit athletes of varying levels from beginner to competitive. Eating healthy, whole foods is big in the CrossFit world, but with busy schedules and eating habits that didn’t necessarily reflect their new dietary needs, I put together a guide (with wiggle room, of course) for making 4 meals out of 5 ingredients. This guide is intended to give readers easy meal ideas with a short ingredient list that can be prepped at one time in under 90 minutes.
It’s also intended for homes that have meat & non-meat eaters, as was mine up until this fall when Mr. Craving Nature went vegetarian. It can be a pain to try and accommodate everyone’s allergies or dietary restrictions, so this guide gives you ideas to play around with.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Nachos
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. purple cabbage, shredded
1 roasted Anaheim pepper &/or jalapeño, sliced
1/4 c. black beans, rinsed
2-3 oz. jalapeño goat cheese or cotija cheese
1 tbsp. olive oil
S & P to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
2. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly slice the sweet potatoes. Place on an oven-safe wire rack or directly on a greased baking sheet. Bake on center oven rack for 20 minutes, turning over halfway through baking time. Keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t burn.
3. Heat olive oil over medium in a skillet. Add the eggs into the pan. Once the opaque begins to turn white, cover the eggs and reduce heat to medium low.
4. Cook eggs 4-5 minutes. Turn off heat, remove eggs from skillet and set aside.
5. Place sweet potato chips in the skillet. Add 2-3 oz. of cheese crumbles to the sweet potato chips & cover 1 minute. The remaining heat will help melt the cheese.
6. Add remaining toppings & eggs to the skillet. Serve immediately with salsa verde! (recipe below)
8oz. tomatillos, husks removed
1-2 jalapeño peppers, depending on spice preference
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. cilantro
1 tsp. sea salt
Turn broiler on high and place tomatillos, pepper and garlic in a oven safe dish and place on the highest rack until darkly roasted, about 4-5 minutes. Turn over to roast the other side for another 4-5 minutes. Place contents in a blender or food processor with remaining ingredients and blend.
Check out the following dishes that take no time at all if you have a few staples already prepped & on hand.