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?

 

Food Distributions are Back at Faith Chapel!

I got this info in my email last night and I had to share ASAP.

Faith Chapel will be having distributions every 1st & 3rd Wednesdays of the month henceforth starting at 10am!

The Address is:

Faith Chapel
9400 Campo Rd.
Spring Valley, CA 91977

This is a drive-thru style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. Tell your family and friends!

Don’t forget, Faith Chapel also has a boutique open to be shopped at during these distribution times. Everything in our boutique is FREE and available to any guests that come through. You can find everything from clothes to household furnishings, kitchenware, toys etc.

New Recipe: Loaded Roasted Cauliflower

I’ve seen this kind of recipe before and I had never made it because it’s really hard to pick decent fresh cauliflower, and honestly, frozen cauliflower is always kinda… soggy (?) when you defrost it and cook it.

We’ve been getting a lot of cauliflower in our  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box over the past 5 weeks, so I figured it was time to give it a shot.

This recipe is easy. And tasty. It does not duplicate potato skins. I don’t care what any low carb/potato hating website tells you.

Loaded Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of cauliflower, leaves and stem removed, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 T. Olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup bacon crumbles (use real bacon, not baco’s)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Sour Cream (optional, but tasty)
Served with a green salad, rotisserie chicken, and half an avocado. YUM.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place cookie sheets lined with foil into oven to heat up with the oven.
  2. While oven/pan is heating, toss cauliflower in oil, salt & pepper.
  3. Once oven is heated to 450, remove pan, spread cauliflower out in a single, well spaced layer.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes, then turn veggies to roast evenly.
  5. Return to oven and bake for another 8 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Top with cheese and bacon. Broil for 2-4 minutes, until cheese is melty and bacon is hot.
  7. After removing from broiler, top with green onions and eat up ASAP.
  8. Serve with sour cream, or salsa. Or both.

This serves 2-4 people as a side dish, or be greedy and eat the whole recipe as a main dish. I won’t tell anyone. I make this at least once a week.

This recipe is gluten free. You can make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon.

4/5/2021 Weekly Meal Plan!

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The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes on Monday, so that’s helped me be able to meal prep and write up this post.

I usually spend time over the weekend getting the meal plan and prep started. Saturday I made banana bread (recipe here), and a big box of chicken brown rice. I portioned the cooked rice out so we can have it for lunch and dinner as a side dish a few times this week.

Sunday I made chicken stock using the rotisserie chicken carcass I had tossed in the freezer a few weeks ago, along with the veggie scraps I keep in a large bag in the freezer. It’s usually celery tops, carrots bits, onion skins, and the ends and pieces from various vegetables from my weekly veggie prep. I cooked the stock most of the day, strained off the solids, and used the stock to make a yummy chicken vegetable soup. I used this recipe, substituting the chicken stock for veggie stock.

I did a grocery trip on Saturday- Milk, eggs, cheese, and butter. We are pretty well stocked on most other stuff. I went to Costco last week and did the quarterly stock-up trip- Snacks for lunches, coffee, powdered peanut butter, trash bags, laundry soap, paper towels, and toilet tissue, and a few other things fell into my cart.

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.

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: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling, lately it’s been sandwiches on croissants, and strawberry yogurt.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

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: Vegetable Soup, homemade apple sauce, sourdough toast/Banana Bread
  • Monday:  Poached Eggs with Hashbrowns, fruit salad, Protein shakes (Big kid doesn’t like eggs)
  • Tuesday:   Tamales, Salad, Rice
  • Wednesday:  Roasted Veggies, Baked Potatoes (with an array of toppings)
  • ThursdayCheesy Bacon Meatloaf, Roasted Broccoli, Noodles (or rice)
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

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

3/29/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

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I usually post this First thing on Monday morning or late Sunday night, but I was waiting for our CSA box to arrive to firm up our meal plan for the week. To learn more about Yasukochi Family Farms and our first CSA box, click here. We partnered with Yasukochi Farms for a month and we enjoyed it so much that we’ve subscribed! For $25/week, we get a box of quality produce! It keeps us out of the store, I don’t have to pick the best of the overpicked offerings, and the box is all local and farm fresh!

The kids and I hit up the grocery store this morning and picked up some snacks and some pantry staples that we had gotten low on (brown sugar- I’ve been making a lot of cookies).

This week is our second week of spring break. It’s warm, so we’ve pulled out our kiddie pool, and we’re visiting the Platypus at the San Diego Safari Park on Wednesday. We’re spending a lot of time playing with the neighbor kids in our bubble. In fact, water balloons have been requested, so we may have a water balloon battle later in the week.

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: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling (I’ve been prepping bean and rice bowls on Sundays for us to have during week) so we can get back to our adventures.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

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: Soup, Roasted Veg, garlic flatbread
  • Monday: Quiche, Fruit Salad, blueberry muffins (blueberries from our CSA Box)
  • Tuesday:  Veggie Burgers, Nuggets, Potato Faces (these things), Salad/fruit
  • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes, Fruit
  • Thursday : Pollo Asada Taco Salad with Beans and Rice
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night!
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

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

Recipe Round-up: Fruit and Veggie Extravaganza!

Spring is upon us, and that means that there will be all sorts of fruits and veggies coming into season.

Here are some of our family’s favorite recipes featuring fruits and veggies! These are all easy to make and will satisfy everyone in the family- even the pickiest eaters.

Fruit:

 

Veggies:

3/23/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

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I posted on Instagram on Sunday that our meal plan was going to be late this week, and I was right. Our CSA Box arrived yesterday and there are all sorts of goodies in our Jumbo box. You can see a picture here.  I made cookies and soup for this week on Sunday.

This week we’ve got a family friend in town, so lunches will be a lot of snacks/picnic style food. Dinners are going to be quick/easy to prepare as we’ll be on the go most of the week.

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: This week and next it’s spring break, so the kids and I will be out having socially distanced adventures. I’m filling the backpack with snacks and our reusable water bottles each morning. This will help keep us on budget and keep us out of the drive thru- although we will still stop at Starbucks a few times. I’ve been saving my stars for some freebies.

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: Soup, Sourdough toast/avocado toast
  • Monday: It was going to be dinner out, but we had a late lunch and had snacks for dinner
  • Tuesday:  Spinach Salad (recipe this week), Roast Veg, Garlic flat bread
  • Wednesday: Nuggets/veggie burgers, Salad, noodles
  • Thursday: Tamales, beans and rice, Roasted Veg
  • Friday:  Pizza Night/Takeout
  • Saturday: Leftovers (probably soup)

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

Roasting Veggies: Simple and Tasty!

Over the past six months, I’ve been trying to get us to eat more veggies. But honestly, you can only eat so much mixed green salads and steamed broccoli. My prior attempts at oven roasted veggies were basically a hot pile of steamed veggies that lacked any of the qualities of oven roasted veggies I knew- none of them were sweet, with crispy edges, tender but not soggy. Thankfully with our CSA box coming straight to our door weekly, were getting tons of tasty new veg to try!

I did some reading in a few cookbooks, websites, and asked some of my friends who are chefs/professional cooks. The secret to perfect oven roasted veg? Space. Room. The veggies need space for the heat of the oven to circulate and heat them evenly.

Second tip: place the pans in the oven and allow them to pre-heat. Once the oven has pre-heated, pull your pan(s) out and place your veggies on the pans, then back in the oven.

Third tip: Half way through roasting, turn over/flip your veggies to ensure they are getting equal roasting time in that hot pan. I say pan, but I use a baking sheet lined in foil, like this one.

It’s all about high temp and short cooking time- 450 degrees! Your veggies will be done in less than 45 minutes and you’ll be feasting away! And anyone can make roasted veggies- as long as you have the following:

  • Cooking pans (like these)
  • Aluminum Foil (I like it because it makes clean up easy)
  • 1-2 lbs of your favorite vegetables, chopped up into evenly sized pieces (the secret to having them come out perfect)
  • 3 Tablespoons oil (I like canola, avocado, or grapeseed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more, depending on how seasoned you like your veg) fresh cracked pepper

With the CSA boxes we’ve been receiving weekly, making roasted veggies is a snap. Here are cooking times for a few in season veggies. These times presuppose that you have cleaned/peeled as needed, and cut them into 1-inch pieces as needed. Cooking time is for 1 lb.

  • Beets: 20-25 minutes
  • Carrots: 20-25 minutes
  • Brussels Sprouts (Cut off the bottom, and cut in half): 15-20 minutes
  • Onions (I usually quarter and slice them): 15-20 minutes
  • Garlic (peel each clove- if they are large, cut in half) 15-20 minutes
  • Green Beans: 15-20 minutes
  • Potatoes/sweet potatoes: 20-30 minutes
  • Zucchini/summer squash: 15-20 minutes
  • Bell Peppers: 15-20 minutes
  • Asparagus: 10-15 minutes
Brussels Sprouts and Purple Onions

If you’ve got something that isn’t on this list that you want to roast, I suggest starting with 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then flip the veggies over and see how they are doing. If they are brown and caramelized on one side, give it another 10 minutes for the other side to cook, then test for doneness with a fork. If they need longer, give them another 5 minutes and test again.

3/14/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

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Our third CSA Box is being delivered tomorrow, and I know that we’ll have all sorts of tasty fruits and veggies to add to our meals this week. To learn more about Yasukochi Family Farms and our first box, click here. A lot of our meals this week are going to be veggie-heavy. We eat a lot of produce anyway, but now we’re eating more local produce! I’m going to try and get a batch of cookies made later in the week, or possibly over next weekend.

I visited the grocery store on Saturday morning when I went to get the last few ingredients for the big kids birthday cake. There are pictures of it on Instagram. We are pretty stocked up for the week, and possibly into next week, depending on how much milk and butter we demolish.

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: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling (I’ve been prepping bean and rice bowls on Sundays for us to have during week) so we can get back to our adventures.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

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: Chicken Chili, Salad, Roasted Veg
  • Monday: Salad, Nuggets, chips
  • Tuesday:  Ravioli/pasta (I’m not sure which yet) with sauce, Garlic Flatbread, Salad/Fruit
  • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes, yogurt, fruit
  • Thursday: Chicken Tetrazzini, roasted broccoli, rolls
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

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

Fresh Fruit and Veg Delivered to Your Door with Yasukochi Family Farms CSA!

A bunch of you saw my unboxing pics on Instagram yesterday of my  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box, and the incredible large bouquet of flowers.

The box was bursting! I’m so excited. Here is what we received in our box:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • Fuji Apples
  • Navel oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Slicing Cucumbers
  • Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Salad Mix
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Celery
  • Mountain Meadow Mushrooms
  • Tangerines
  • Pears
  • Russet Potatoes

 

 

And the incredible Large Bouquet of Flowers! I divided the bouquet into two vases, and they are in Little Bit’s Room and on the mantle. There are a variety of add-ons berries, honey, eggs, jams, etc available each week.

Each Monday in March, we’ll be receiving a CSA box from Yasukochi Family Farms full of locally grown and sourced produce. I love Yasukochi Farms because everything in the box is all grown using organic farming methods while possible and using local, responsible and sustainable farming. The other thing that is incredible is the convenience of having these farm-fresh items delivered straight to your doorstep (with no additional delivery fee). It saves me a trip to the store where all the produce has been transported, touched, and picked over. My CSA Box is packed just for me!

No matter if you have a small or large household, Yasukochi Family Farms has you hooked up! There are two box sizes: Regular (feeds 1-3 people), or Jumbo (feeds 4-6 people).

If you don’t live in the delivery area, you can check out Yasukochi Family Farms at many of the local Farmers Markets in Southern California. A complete list can be seen here.

What am I making with all of these tasty veggies:

  • Last night we had roasted asparagus.
  • I made up a big salad for the week with the spring mix, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and bell pepper.
  • I also chopped up the bok choy, celery, carrots, snap peas, and onion and made a stir fry kit to have later in the week for lunch (with rice and Thai stir fry sauce)
  • I made a Marinated Salad
  • Tomorrow I’ll make a big fruit salad for a few upcoming meals
  • I’m planning on making a big baking sheet of roasted veggies for lunch- I’ll be posting pics on Instagram!

The strawberries got gobbled up last night at dinner.

I’ll be posting more pictures on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month will kinds of recipes and ideas. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

For more information on Yasukochi Family FarmYasukochi Family Farms, check out their website, Instagram, or Facebook.