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(Thrillist)   How to meal prep like a normal person, not an influencer   (thrillist.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, Cooking, Food, Meal prep, Dinner, huge batch of healthy foods, meal prepping, Nutrition, Meal  
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575 clicks; posted to Food » on 22 Jun 2021 at 10:56 PM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



18 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-06-22 11:05:40 PM  
Quit looking at your phone like its a mirror?
Don't get dressed up to cook by yourself?
Not be a narcissistic POS?
 
2021-06-22 11:27:22 PM  

Pinner: Quit looking at your phone like its a mirror?
Don't get dressed up to cook by yourself?
Not be a narcissistic POS?


Stop publishing fluff ads-as-content articles?
Learn how to actually plan meals, instead of merely prep for them?
 
2021-06-22 11:34:06 PM  
Buy shiat from the grocery or order online if you're still on lockdown then cook it. I had a ribeye, some potatoes, and veg delivered from Amazon. Put the potatoes in for an hour. Seer the steak. Let it broil with the potatoes so the skin on the latter crisps.
 
2021-06-22 11:50:10 PM  
Yeah, I know people want to make fun.  But meal prepping has changed my life.  Every Sunday I make 10 meals for weekday lunches and dinners, usually at least 4 things.  I plan based on what's in the fridge/freezer, what's coming out of the garden that week, and what's on sale.  Every week there's a variation of vegetable stir-fry and Taco Tuesday.  All meals are easy to do and tasty to eat, and I use My Fitness Pal to plan ahead exactly how much of what goes into each, with the right calories, protein, fat, carbs and sodium.  I arrange my calories so that lunch and dinner have the same number, and so any meal I grab will be fine, no matter what I ate earlier or what I eat later.  As I plan each meal, I save it in My Fitness Pal, so I can log it with just a couple clicks and I don't have to remember every single ingredient.

I like to cook, so spending Sunday afternoon cooking off and on, and knowing I have good meals that I don't have to worry about, has been a real game-changer both in my weight loss and in the amount of time I spend thinking about food.  It's been instrumental in losing 65 pounds.  There's absolutely no reason for me to eat off plan, and I'm not nearly as tempted to just grab something.  Plus I have SO much more time to do other things for the rest of the week.  Dinner takes literally 3 minutes to get on the table.
 
2021-06-22 11:50:27 PM  
Yup. Plan meals and use what you have. For example, this week:

Wife adamantly requested burgers, but really awesome looking shrimp was on sale too when I went to the store. So I got 2 lbs ground beef (with a 'best by' that gave me several days' leeway) AND the shrimp. And a giant package of crimini mushrooms.

Did shrimp and mushroom risotto early on in the weekend--used the shells to make my own stock for that. Then used 1 lb of the beef to do mushroom & Swiss burgers for dinner both yesterday and Sunday. Tonight, I used the last of my shrimp stock to rehydrate some Thai rice sticks and made ground beef pad Thai with my last lb of beef. Also, I'm using the last of hamburger buns I made for breakfast or lunch egg sandwiches that finish off the remaining burger fixins, and will start to incorporate any leftover pad Thai fixins. The sandwiches are helped along by the fact that I keep various quick pickled veggies on hand.
 
2021-06-23 12:12:21 AM  
I'm the cook of the house and I've always loved cooking, but I've just had a stroke so things have been really weird around here ever since (unsurprisingly).

For one thing, hubby had been gradually over the years steering me towards NOT cooking because as I became more disabled (already happening even before the stroke) it was more and more exhausting for both of us. So by the time I became acutely ill, we were mostly eating microwave meals - the WORST possible thing we could have been eating, literally.

Now that I'm home and on a very restrictive diet, I HAVE to cook whether it exhausts us or not. We cannot eat fast food or frozen meals. We just have to deal with that fact. I changed us to a 90% Asian food diet, which is perfect for me as long as I replace any sugar with Splenda and use mung bean noodles and brown rice/veggie "rice" to avoid carbs as much as possible. We had Gyudon tonight, Beef and Broccoli last night, and I have Sweet and Sour Pork, Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, and a new, lighter Kung Pow Chicken coming up this week.

We tried cooking a bunch of meals ahead of time on the weekends, but I'm not yet able to sit upright and wield a knife for that long (have to build stamina, but I think of cooking as more therapy/rehab). So we are sticking with cooking one meal a day, but I prepared all the vegetables needed ahead of time instead, which is providing enough of a head-start time-wise for us without killing me.

If I can one day walk again on my own, it will change things again, but for now while I'm maximally disabled, this will have to do.

Good thing to know is that Splenda works perfectly in savory foods and there are a lot of alternative products to help avoid carbs nowadays thanks to the Keto/Paleo/Gluten-free diets out there. It's helpful for a lot of other folks, too.

Soon, I'm going to start baking in earnest and really try out the Splenda/Stevia products in baking. I can hardly wait.

Watching You Tube chefs, getting ideas, meal planning, veggie prep, gearing up for baking = the reason to stay alive right now.

You can't eat when you're dead.
 
2021-06-23 12:20:08 AM  

silvervial: I'm the cook of the house and I've always loved cooking, but I've just had a stroke so things have been really weird around here ever since (unsurprisingly).

For one thing, hubby had been gradually over the years steering me towards NOT cooking because as I became more disabled (already happening even before the stroke) it was more and more exhausting for both of us. So by the time I became acutely ill, we were mostly eating microwave meals - the WORST possible thing we could have been eating, literally.

Now that I'm home and on a very restrictive diet, I HAVE to cook whether it exhausts us or not. We cannot eat fast food or frozen meals. We just have to deal with that fact. I changed us to a 90% Asian food diet, which is perfect for me as long as I replace any sugar with Splenda and use mung bean noodles and brown rice/veggie "rice" to avoid carbs as much as possible. We had Gyudon tonight, Beef and Broccoli last night, and I have Sweet and Sour Pork, Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, and a new, lighter Kung Pow Chicken coming up this week.

We tried cooking a bunch of meals ahead of time on the weekends, but I'm not yet able to sit upright and wield a knife for that long (have to build stamina, but I think of cooking as more therapy/rehab). So we are sticking with cooking one meal a day, but I prepared all the vegetables needed ahead of time instead, which is providing enough of a head-start time-wise for us without killing me.

If I can one day walk again on my own, it will change things again, but for now while I'm maximally disabled, this will have to do.

Good thing to know is that Splenda works perfectly in savory foods and there are a lot of alternative products to help avoid carbs nowadays thanks to the Keto/Paleo/Gluten-free diets out there. It's helpful for a lot of other folks, too.

Soon, I'm going to start baking in earnest and really try out the Splenda/Stevia products in baking. I can hardly wait.

Watching You Tube chefs, getting ideas, meal planning, ve ...


I hope your recovery continues and that you are able to do all those things again soon.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the "One grown-up meal a day and designated snacks." In fact, if you're not doing a lot of heavy physical activity it's probably healthier than "Three squares a day." Also a lot less work.

Splenda and Stevia are just the beginning. There's a whole world of non-nutritive sweeteners from xylitol to allulose to monkfruit that can work well with savory or in place of sweet or for baking.
 
2021-06-23 12:31:16 AM  
Just slapped subby's mom with these ribs
 
2021-06-23 4:55:51 AM  
chopping veggies as you put away groceries...

Why would you chop up your vegies before you need them? It's not like it takes long to do, and you're just shortening their life span by doing so. Many vegies can be stored on the kitchen counter, but once you slice/chop them up, you have to refrigerate them. That's just stupid advice.
 
2021-06-23 5:03:42 AM  
Oh look, it's an ad.
 
2021-06-23 6:01:31 AM  

hlehmann: Oh look, it's an ad.


because when I think of meal prep, I think of wireless mobile phones!
 
2021-06-23 8:33:29 AM  

ReapTheChaos: chopping veggies as you put away groceries...

Why would you chop up your vegies before you need them? It's not like it takes long to do, and you're just shortening their life span by doing so. Many vegies can be stored on the kitchen counter, but once you slice/chop them up, you have to refrigerate them. That's just stupid advice.


For cooking meals yes.

But I do buy a bunch of salad vegetables and chop them up in advance. I have discovered that if I don't do this I don't eat much salad.

So green peppers sit un-chopped waiting for a meal that will use them. While the red, yellow, and orange peppers get chopped early.

As far as other forms of meal prep in TFA go. Some things have to be mise en place as the cooking is adding them in a specific sequence in quick succession. Even for meals that don't require it I tend to get everything as ready as I can before I turn on the heat. It just makes for a smoother cooking experience.

Having a stable of meals that make easily frozen and reheated leftovers is such basic common sense I question the brainpower of anyone who doesn't do it. As a rule I take the fact there is no Jambalaya or Etoufeé in the freezer as it being time to make some. Lasagna, soups, beans, sauces, chili, are all also frequent residents in my freezer.
 
2021-06-23 9:46:31 AM  

silvervial: I'm the cook of the house and I've always loved cooking, but I've just had a stroke so things have been really weird around here ever since (unsurprisingly).

For one thing, hubby had been gradually over the years steering me towards NOT cooking because as I became more disabled (already happening even before the stroke) it was more and more exhausting for both of us. So by the time I became acutely ill, we were mostly eating microwave meals - the WORST possible thing we could have been eating, literally.

Now that I'm home and on a very restrictive diet, I HAVE to cook whether it exhausts us or not. We cannot eat fast food or frozen meals. We just have to deal with that fact. I changed us to a 90% Asian food diet, which is perfect for me as long as I replace any sugar with Splenda and use mung bean noodles and brown rice/veggie "rice" to avoid carbs as much as possible. We had Gyudon tonight, Beef and Broccoli last night, and I have Sweet and Sour Pork, Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, and a new, lighter Kung Pow Chicken coming up this week.

We tried cooking a bunch of meals ahead of time on the weekends, but I'm not yet able to sit upright and wield a knife for that long (have to build stamina, but I think of cooking as more therapy/rehab). So we are sticking with cooking one meal a day, but I prepared all the vegetables needed ahead of time instead, which is providing enough of a head-start time-wise for us without killing me.

If I can one day walk again on my own, it will change things again, but for now while I'm maximally disabled, this will have to do.

Good thing to know is that Splenda works perfectly in savory foods and there are a lot of alternative products to help avoid carbs nowadays thanks to the Keto/Paleo/Gluten-free diets out there. It's helpful for a lot of other folks, too.

Soon, I'm going to start baking in earnest and really try out the Splenda/Stevia products in baking. I can hardly wait.

Watching You Tube chefs, getting ideas, meal planning, veggie prep, gearing up for baking = the reason to stay alive right now.

You can't eat when you're dead.


I don't know what all of your issues might be, but two possible suggestions:

A 'v slicer' (or more expensive mandoline with a julienne cutting blade) might help you prep more quickly, so you're not standing so long.  But get a cut-resistant glove to use, as bandaging fingers can really slow you down. The only issue is you have to work around what sizes they cut, which means adjusting your stir fry timing

Standing while cooking / prep is more a restaurant thing, and most of what we see on TV, but growing up many tasks were done sitting at a kitchen table, in hand with a paring knife, rather than a chef's knife and a cutting board.   One of the Louisiana chefs on TV in the 80s/90s used to sit in a stool while cooking. (Paul Prudome?  Justin Wilson?)
 
2021-06-23 1:55:17 PM  

Boudyro: ReapTheChaos: chopping veggies as you put away groceries...

Why would you chop up your vegies before you need them? It's not like it takes long to do, and you're just shortening their life span by doing so. Many vegies can be stored on the kitchen counter, but once you slice/chop them up, you have to refrigerate them. That's just stupid advice.

For cooking meals yes.

But I do buy a bunch of salad vegetables and chop them up in advance. I have discovered that if I don't do this I don't eat much salad.


We'll have to agree to disagree on that. I love salads, but being single I can never use the stuff up in time. I've even bought those premade salads in a bag. They're good on the first day, the next day they're ok, but after that they're wilted and limp. Things like tomatoes and onions can be kept at room temp for a while, but once you chop/cut them up you have 2-3 days before there's a noticeable decline in taste and freshness. It's similar with a head of lettuce. As long as it's on the head, you can peal off the outer layer and what's underneath is still crisp and fresh. If you chop up the whole head, you got maybe 2 days to eat it before it's all limp and wilted.
 
2021-06-23 5:32:28 PM  
Just cook in large batches...it doesn't take *that* much more time to cook eight portions of a meal than it does one...
 
2021-06-23 8:05:19 PM  
Cook what you'll actually eat


Its tips like this that make it all worthwhile
 
2021-06-23 8:45:24 PM  
Since the pandemic started, I've been working from home. A lot of the time, I was actually busier at home than I was at the office. My wife went back to her office after the original six week lockdown, so that left me in charge of meals.
I would like to extol the virtues of the mighty sous-vide. Most nights, dinner takes me 10-15 minutes. Granted, there is a fair amount of time prepping everything and getting it into vacuum seal bags the day after bulk shopping at Costco, but that's only like an hour or two every two or three weeks.
I'll buy steak, or chicken or pork chops (or all three if necessary). The next day, I'll break them down into individual meals, and add the sauce, spices, whatever is necessary. Then I vacuum seal each of the meals. Monday afternoon rolls around, usually around 2:00 or 3:00 PM, I start thinking about what I want for dinner. If I decide I want steak, I pull the steak out of the freezer and toss it in the sous-vide. It takes all of 30 seconds to pull dinner out and set the time and temperature.
At 6:00 PM when the wife is done with work, I pull the steak out of the water bath. When she gets home at 6:15 or 6:20 I turn the grill on. I'll either throw some veggies in a pan or on the grill with the steak. Steak takes less than 2 minutes per side to sear. Most nights, the actual cooking part of dinner is 10-15 minutes. Burgers, pork chops, chicken breast, etc. All are done sous-vide, all finished on the grill.
If I'm doing a sauce type food (stir fry, spaghetti, soups, Mexican meat, etc) I'll make a triple batch. It's roughly the same amount of time for me anyway. But then I freeze the extra two meals. Once they're frozen, I vacuum seal them. Next time we want Mexican food for dinner, I throw the bag in the sous vide.

It's saved me so much time.
 
2021-06-23 8:47:32 PM  

ReapTheChaos: Boudyro: ReapTheChaos: chopping veggies as you put away groceries...

Why would you chop up your vegies before you need them? It's not like it takes long to do, and you're just shortening their life span by doing so. Many vegies can be stored on the kitchen counter, but once you slice/chop them up, you have to refrigerate them. That's just stupid advice.

For cooking meals yes.

But I do buy a bunch of salad vegetables and chop them up in advance. I have discovered that if I don't do this I don't eat much salad.

We'll have to agree to disagree on that. I love salads, but being single I can never use the stuff up in time. I've even bought those premade salads in a bag. They're good on the first day, the next day they're ok, but after that they're wilted and limp. Things like tomatoes and onions can be kept at room temp for a while, but once you chop/cut them up you have 2-3 days before there's a noticeable decline in taste and freshness. It's similar with a head of lettuce. As long as it's on the head, you can peal off the outer layer and what's underneath is still crisp and fresh. If you chop up the whole head, you got maybe 2 days to eat it before it's all limp and wilted.


There's at lest part of the problem. Use Napa cabbage and spinach in your salads. Both keep longer than lettuce, and have a better nutrient/flavor profile. Can't guarantee you won't still have some waste, I still end up tossing some cabbage from time to time unless I commit to really going to town on it, but a head also costs like $1.50 tops. Cucumbers and peppers can keep for at least a week. Same for chopped onions. If they aren't I'd recommend reevaluating how you're keeping them. Air is the enemy so smaller containers or switch to bags you can push the air out of.

Tomatoes are easy, but yeah they shouldn't be cut ahead of time.. For salads buy cherry tomatoes, or smaller ones like vine-ripe or Romas, you can keep them out of the fridge. Tomatoes come in all sizes so if you don't want to deal with small ones (or have multiple uses) get the medium-sized ones and cut those as needed.
 
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