I do most of my meal prep on Mondays. One thing about a habit is that it can get boring. If I’m not careful, boring = no meal prep = fewer options = poor in-the-moment choices = off track. So this week, I took it back to the basics.
If you are just getting into this clean eating thing, or like me, you are “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it”… you’re gonna love this post. I am going to focus on how I hit the reset button. Newsflash: It’s not by clarifying my own butter or filling my fridge with tempeh “bacon”. It’s by asking healthy, whole ingredients do the work for me.
Set your oven to 375, bust out the olive oil, and get to chopping. This week I used EVOO, salt and pepper, and garlic powder for the broccoli and brussel sprouts. I used EVOO, salt, and red pepper for the sweet potatoes. Mix everything up, bake for 15 minutes, turn over with a spatula, and bake until crispy. Eat these for breakfast under over-easy eggs or in omelets; also, you have pre-prepped sides for lunch and dinner!
Y’all, the cartons of eggs this family goes through a week is borderline embarrassing. The kids eat them for breakfast, I eat them for most meals and some snacks, and I use them to bake. A hardboiled egg is a workhorse when it comes to clean eating. Breakfast, salad topper, grab and go snack… you name it. I don’t skimp on these when it comes to meal prep.
Bring your water to a boil, slide the eggs in, and boil for 12 minutes. Remove from the stove top, drain boiling water, cover with cold water from the sink for 1-2 minutes, and remove from water to storage container. Let cool with lid off for 1/2 hour and then store in the fridge.
Fresh, No-Sugar-Added Snacks
It does not get easier than this. Slice veggies and fruit, store in ziplock bag. Or, one of my new favorites – Spicy Cucumbers! My friend Tracy brought these over to my house a few weeks ago and I have been addicted since!
Wash and slice cucumbers into medallions. Sprinkle with Trader Joe’s Chili Lime seasoning, a spray of olive oil, and top with toasted sesame seeds. They are the ultimate tangy, light, crunchy perfection of a healthy summer snack.
There is nothing worse than trying to eat healthy and suffering through bland dinners with no character. A girl (and her husband) can only eat so many grilled chicken breast salads. I wanted to share a recipe with you that I’ve made twice over the last several weeks! We love these Sundried Tomato Basil Chicken Thighs.
*Apologies for the lack of pictures and you guys know by now that I don’t cook with a recipe, so I’m just gonna narrate for you. I originally saw a slow cooker recipe for something like this and tweaked it a bit. If you have any questions, let me know! This is a great way to cook chicken thighs, no matter what sauce you decide to use at the end. You can store this in your arsenal of cooking methods and adapt the flavors as you like. In other words, when you see “cook chicken thighs” on your grandmother’s handwritten recipe and have no idea what she means, this is a solid go-to.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Rinse and pat dry 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper on both sides and under skin. In a large skillet, heat butter – I use Kerrygold. When skillet is hot, sear skin side of chicken thigh for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook non-skin-side for 3 minutes. (This crisps up with skin so you get that crunchy texture at the end.)
- Place skin-side-up in baking dish, and bake until meat thermometer reads 165F. If the skin is not crispy enough for your liking, you can broil on low for a few minutes before removing.
- In a large pan, add some chopped garlic, sliced sundried tomatoes, and chopped onion. Sautee for a few minutes over medium hot heat. When fragrant (meaning all those yummy flavors are mixing and matching), pour in about 1.5 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. In the meantime, chiffonade some fresh basil (don’t worry if you don’t know what that means – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJEQFgfv7iw), and add it to the simmering pan. When basil is slightly cooked, turn off the heat.
- This is where you have some leeway based on your dietary preferences. Basically, you need some sort of fat to thicken this sauce up to perfection. You can use about 1/2 cup of coconut milk fat, heavy cream, or an easily melted cheese. I have used coconut milk and cream – both were delicious. You want the consistency to be right in the middle of a soup and a gravy.
- Salt and pepper the sauce to taste, give one last stir, and then pour over the chicken. You can serve immediately and/or keep in the still-warm oven til you’re ready.
How’s that for a southern recipe narration? Little bit of this, little bit of that… 😉 Email me if you have questions.
Cheers to healthy choices, happy tastebuds, and full bellies! Thanks for following along!