Tutorial: Meal Prep with Protein Bowls!

We don’t eat a lot of meat. Partially because our fridge/freezer is still broken, and it’s getting really expensive. So we’ve been eating more non-meat proteins lately.

This tutorial is more like a choose your own adventure. Depending on your dietary restrictions, food likes and dislikes, and what you have in your pantry and refrigerator will greatly influence how your protein bowls turn out.

The base of your bowl is going to be a grain. We used red and white quinoa, but you can use brown rice, bulgur, Right Rice (which isn’t actually rice), you could use high protein pasta like the kind made with lentils, or if you don’t like any of those you could just use regular pasta, noodles, or white rice. It won’t be as high in protein. We prepared 8-ish cups of quinoa cooked per package directions with vegetable broth.

Your next step is to prep your vegetables. The vegetables will take up the bulk of this dish. Because we get a variety of veggies each week with our Yasukochi Farms CSA box, it was easy to select our veggies. We used onions, carrots, celery, peppers (bell peppers), zucchini, mushrooms, and bok choy. We added cherry tomatoes uncooked directly to the bowls while packing. 

Cut your veggies into bite-size pieces (you want to end up with about 8-10 cups of veggies, and sauté them in about a tablespoon of oil (I love avocado oil, but it’s up to you).

Because you will be re-heating these veggies before serving, cook them until they are al dente, or still slightly crisp. Otherwise, they can get mushy.

I started with the onions, cooking them until translucent, then adding the mushrooms, and cooking the moisture out. After that, add the remaining veggies and cook for 5-10 minutes.

While your veggies are cooking, in a separate pan you’re going to heat 2 tablespoons of oil, your choice. This is where we’re going to cook our protein and sauce. We cooked salmon. The salmon was cut into bite-size pieces and then lightly sautéed in oil until it was about 3/4 of the way cooked.

Then we added a jar of Private Selection tikka masala curry sauce (it’s available at Kroger brand stores). I’m usually not a big fan of premade sauces, but in the case of Indian food, the sauces are so much more financially savvy. I believe the sauce was three dollars or less for the jar, and it tastes delicious. Like restaurant quality mild tikka masala sauce. If you wanna add heat, you can add some chili oil or red pepper flakes. But I don’t recommend doing it while you’re cooking, because it will just infuse it with so much heat.

We cooked the sauce with the salmon pieces for about 10 minutes added bok choy and allow that to cook down for another five minutes.

And now the assembly!

We set out eight of the Rubbermaid storage containers (these are the ones that we use).

 

 

Each container contains:

  • one cup of cooked red and white quinoa
  • one and a half cups of vegetables
  • 2 6-oz ladles full of salmon and sauce

Once the containers had cooled to room temperature lids were put on, and they were stored in the refrigerator. When it is time to eat, we will then to the lids and reheat them in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Here are some other options if Salmon Tikka Masala isn’t your bag:

Meat/non-meats (you need 1- 1 1/2 lbs of meat/non-meats for this recipe)

  • ground beef/chicken/turkey
  • lamb chops
  • boneless chicken breasts/boneless thighs
  • beef (cut of your choice)
  • veggie crumbles/other faux meat
  • pollack/tilapia/fish of your choice

Sauce- All of these sauces are pre-made. Feel free to use your own recipe for your favorite sauce.

Kevin’s Sauces has a wide variety of sauces that would be GREAT!

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about your protein bowls- What combination of sauce and veggies would you use?

 

October Sprouts Farmers Market Monthly Freebies!

Sprouts is hooking us up and helping us stay healthy! Every month on the Sprouts app in the Digital Coupon section, there are between 4-6 free items (they are marked “SAMPLING PROGRAM”).

Quantities are limited on the app, so if you are interested in any of these, I recommend that you add these coupons (by opening the Sprouts app, click on digital coupons, and click on each coupon in the lower corner where the little green circle is) to your app ASAP.

Not all Sprouts locations will have these freebies, so I suggest trying larger Sprouts location in your area.

These are full-sized freebies- not small sample sized products. they are located in the store with the other products of the same type.

Not all accounts will receive all the same products.

This month the following items are available:

  • Zack’s Mighty Organic Tortilla Chips
  • Toby’s Dressing and Dip Products
  • Free Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Butter with Avocado Oil
  • Wicked Foods Meal Pot

 

9/26/2021 Weekly Meal Plan & Life Update

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgSo, we are still without a Fridge/freezer, so no real meal plan for this week at this point. After the fridge repair guy comes on Tuesday, we’ll know if/when the warranty is going to cover a replacement, or if Sears is going to continue to throw even more money at this lemon. At this point, they have paid over $1500 in lost food reimbursement and repairs for a refrigerator that cost $1100. So.. yeah.

We’ve been eating a lot of shelf-stable stuff (beans and rice, crockpot chili), and I’ve been hitting the store solo to pick up salad kits, and bananas, and apples. Last week we ended up having the share a lot of our CSA box as I wouldn’t store some of the items in the cooler without freezing/damaging the more delicate items.

The CSA box will be here tomorrow morning. I’ll do the prepping after I get home from work Monday afternoon.

Veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

Oh yeah, I got a job out of the house. It’s working on-site at a local elementary school. I’m not going to go much more into it than that. I’ll still be blogging, and the kids and I will be having adventures, I’m working while they are in school.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year, but so far, there is nothing on the menu that appeals to the kids.

Dinner: We’ve got a pretty good schedule down for dinners. We have nuggets (vegetarian for the boy child, chicken for the rest) on the nights that we have respite. It’s quick to prepare and clean up, and I can serve it on our cafeteria trays with other fingers foods (we have trays like these) like cut-up fruit, crackers, and cheese. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Shakshuka, Rice We didn’t have this last week, and we have a lot of eggs in the cooler to eat.
  • Monday: Roasted Veggies, Salad, Quesadillas
  • Tuesday: unknown
  • Wednesday: unknown
  • Thursday:  unknown
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers (if we have any)

Please stay safe you guys!

Easy Hummus Recipe!

Yesterday in my tabouli recipe, I mentioned I’d be sharing a hummus recipe soon. Here we are!

This recipe is super easy, and you can pick up all the ingredients in any grocery store, on Amazon, or even at Target.

Ingredients:

  • 2 15.5 oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tahini (I like Tumeric Tahini from Havens Kitchen)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (or you can use 1 teaspoon chopped jarred garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • salt to taste
  • Garnishes (optional): additional olive oil, everything but the bagel seasoning, toasted sesame seeds, a sprinkle of cumin, sumac, chopped parsley)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor/blender, blend all of the ingredients (except the garnishes)
  2. If the hummus is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water and blend again. repeat as needed, adding up to 3 teaspoons of water.
  3. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld.
  4. Pour into a bowl, top with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and any other additional garnishes as needed.
  5. Serve with veggies, pita, or chips/crackers.

This recipe is vegan, and gluten-free.

 

Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgTomorrow marks the first FULL WEEK of school. WOO HOO! I’ve got a busy week full of tie-dying, appointments, and some fun content coming up on the blog (and probably Instagram).

I hit up Vons on Saturday to redeem some coupons, and pick up freebies. I spent $40 on fruit and a few other things I needed. I submitted my receipt to Ibotta to redeem a few rebates, and poof $7.50 back- woo hoo!

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

Getting the fam to eat more fruits and veggies has been my personal mission this year, and thankfully, Yasukochi Family Farms has my back.

Veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I meal prepped a bunch of fruit and veggies yesterday. I also cleaned out the fridge and re-arranged the freezer. We are all set for the week. I chose easy-to-cook meals that don’t require the oven. We are in for another week of high temps. UGH- I need cooler temps. I want to make cookies!

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’ve been packing lunch for the kids, but they have both expressed interest in getting lunch at school, so we’ll see.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Roasted Tomato and Caramelized Onion Bisque, Sourdough bread, fruit
  • Monday: Salad, Cheese Toast, Fruit
  • Tuesday: Nugget night: Nuggets, crackers, cheese, fruit
  • Wednesday:  Pasta, Veggies, Salad
  • Thursday: Turkey Tetrazini, Veggies, Salad
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Family Recipe: DIY Salad Bar

The post is dedicated to Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes… RIP.

One of our family favorite restaurants pre-pandemic was Souplantation. So many great veggie and salad options all in one place. This summer I’m trying to find easy, simple lunch options for the family, so this week I’m making a salad bar.

It might sound like a lot of work, but I spend about an hour a week prepping veggies as soon as the CSA box arrives, so it’s just a slightly different prep this week.

First I got out our Rubbermaid reusable containers and lids, and I chopped the various ingredients. At lunchtime, I’ll set all of the containers out, and put the salad greens in a large bowl that is nestled in a baking dish full of ice to keep the greens crisp.

If you are having a salad bar for your July Fourth celebration, consider using a cold ingredient caddy like this one.

It keeps the components cold and at their preferred temperature for an extended period of time.

Here are just a few of the ingredients that we’ll be featuring in our DIY salad bar:

  • Salad greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, butter bibb lettuce, mixed greens, kale)
  • Radishes
  • Brocolli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Red onions
  • Green apples
  • Strawberries
  • Beets (raw or pickled)
  • Bell pepper or other sweet peppers
  • Pickled veggies
  • Capers
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cheese cubes (or crumbled feta or goat cheese)
  • Diced ham or diced turkey breast lunchmeat
  • Croutons
  • Salad Dressing- I like this vinagrette, and this one, and this ranch.

What do you like on your salads?

6/27/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgThis week have some fun afternoon plans: Swimming, hanging out with friends, a trip to get fro yo, and our weekly library trip. We’re working our way across the county libraries.

The kids have been digging the free school lunches- It’s a great way to encourage them to try new foods. That’s great because the price of groceries has gone up exponentially over the past few weeks, so I’m leaning more on stores that have good deals like Grocery Outlet, and using my cashback apps like Fetch Rewards. I’ve been cashing out Fetch rewards for Target Gift Cards. I’ve been combining the Target Gift Cards with grocery sales and deals in the Target app, and picking up via curbside pick up. It’s a great option if you’ve got kids and you’ve got a busy summer.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

The CSA Box comes tomorrow AM, but they send out a preview email over the weekend. It is very helpful for menu planning.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I’m doing some meal prep today: A batch of cookies, roasting zucchini, defrosting and marinating chicken, and defrosting ground beef so tomorrow I can make a big batch of red sauce.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: We pick up free school lunches during the summer for the kids, I also have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Pulled BBQ chicken, rice, salad.
  • Monday: Spaghetti with red sauce (I am making some without meat for my vegetarian kiddo).
  • Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner (pancakes, bacon, and fruit-probably melon)
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night: Nuggets, crackers, cheese, fruit
  • Thursday: Italian Herb and Lemon chicken, rice, salad, roasted corn
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit, salad

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Recipe: Easy Spanish Tortilla

I know y’all want the recipe first and more info and tips afterward, so here ya go:

Spanish Tortilla (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, color of your choice (I used green)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 T butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 c half and half
  • 1/2 c shredded cheese, your choice
  • 1/2 c Cooked bacon crumbles
  • Salt, pepper
  • Chopped green onion for garnish

Directions:

  1. Using half of the butter, sauté onion and pepper until softened and onions are clear, about five minutes on medium.
  2. Add remaining butter, allow to melt, coat pan, and add potatoes so they are separated and evenly dispersed throughout the pan.
  3. Cook on low until potatoes are translucent, about five to 10 minutes on medium.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, in a mixing bowl crack eggs, add half-and-half. Add salt and pepper, beat vigorously until well blended.
  5. Remove pan from heat, pour egg mixture over top of vegetables make sure egg mixture is evenly distributed throughout the pan, covering veggies.
  6. Top with bacon crumbles and shredded cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 for between 12 and 18 minutes, until eggs are set and cooked through.
  8. Allow to cool to room temp, slice, and top with chopped green onion for garnish.
  9. Serve with avocado and corn salsa, recipe be found here. This makes a great dinner or breakfast or whenever. It’s relatively inexpensive, it’s very tasty, and it is a good use of veggies.

Other good veggies to include are zucchini (saute in butter with onions), or tomatoes (place thin slices on the very top after all of the ingredients are in the pan). Regarding the potatoes, I used a knife and thinly sliced the potatoes into circles, but you can use a mandoline if you have one.

You need to use a pan that is oven-safe. If you don’t have one, you can cook your tortilla on the stove. Instead of turning off the stove in step 5, turn down the heat to low, add egg mixture. Once the eggs have set around the edges, using a spatula, loosen the edges, and wiggle your spatula under the tortilla, and gently flip it over. Cook until both sides of the tortilla are set and cooked throughout.

Spanish Tortillas are not bread-based, in fact, there is zero bread involved. Spanish Tortillas are more like frittatas or a crustless quiche- the only constant ingredients are eggs and potatoes. The rest of the ingredients are up to you. It’s a great way to use veggies and cheese hanging around your fridge.

They are great for any meal. Add a side of fruit for breakfast, or a bright salad with a tangy vinaigrette for lunch or dinner.

If you are a vegetarian, omit the bacon.

A lovely patio in Spain. Makes you want tapas, right?

Recipe: Roasted Onion and Caramelized Onion Bisque

I saw a video online someplace (I want to say Facebook, but it could have been on Reddit too), and it showed how to make tomato bisque using freshly roasted tomatoes.

I was excited to try it since we’ve been getting tons of big tomatoes in our CSA box over the past two weeks and I had them sitting on the counter.

This recipe is simple, but it does involve a few steps and does take some time.

It’s worth it in my opinion.

Roasted Onion and Caramelized Onion Bisque

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 8-10 Tomatoes, tops cut off. If the tomatoes are not a uniform size, cut them in half /into large uniform hunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can (approx 16 oz) chicken or veggie stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon each: Basil, Rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup half and half
  • dash red pepper flakes (optional)
caramelized onions…. mmmmm

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees. Place tomatoes/tomato hunks on an oiled-up baking sheet. Brush tomatoes with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  2. Roast tomatoes for 35-45 minutes.
  3. While tomatoes are roasting, melt butter in a stockpot, and over medium/low heat saute onions. in the last 10 minutes of cooking the onions, add the garlic and stir frequently to keep from burning. You will need to stir frequently.
  4. Place tomatoes in with onions, and add stock, and all herbs/seasonings, EXCEPT the bay leaf and red pepper.
  5. Using an emersion blender, blend soup until it’s smooth.
  6. Now that soup is smooth, add bay leaf and simmer for 30-45 minutes on low.
  7. Add half and half, stir well, add red pepper if desired.
  8. Serve topped with croutons.
This is what roasted tomatoes look like in a lonely stockpot.

Note: If you don’t have an emersion blender, pour tomatoes and onions into a blender and pulse until smooth.

This recipe does not make a ton of soup, as most of my soup recipes do. This recipe takes time, but it’s so good. It’s worth the time and effort for sure.

I recommend my 4-way grilled cheese to go with this soup too!

Dream Dinners: Coupon Code $99 off Your First Order!

Dream Dinners is hooking new clients up with an incredible offer! If you’ve never heard of Dream Dinners, check out my post here.

Right now, you can save $99 off your first month’s order when you use coupon Code “REFER99“.  When you check out, use Coupon Refer99 at check out and enter my name  (Abby Hewes) and email (akeen02037@gmail.com) in the how did you hear about us when creating your new profile.

This offer is only valid for new guests. This offer is good for a Standard order and can only be used one time per customer, per household.

A standard order is at least 12 small meals (feeds 2-3 people) or 6 large meals (feeds 4-6 people).

I love Dream Dinners because it’s a great way to save time and still serve the fam a tasty healthy meal. We order 12 small meals each month and serve 2-3 a week. Between Dream Dinners, and our CSA box, our grocery budget is under control, and we aren’t eating out multiple times per week. Because we’ve been home 24/7 for the past year, our grocery budget has gone up, but we are not eating out often. Whenever we get the urge to eat out, I grab a Dream Dinner meal from the freezer, and in less than an hour, we are eating gooood.

There are Dream Dinners locations in 22 states, find your closest location here.