Finding Time for Meal Prep

Meal prep is one of my new favorite things to do. The problem however, is finding time to prep during the week. I am off to work every morning by 8:15 and usually get home by 6:30 if I am lucky. When I throw in my weekly darts league, studying, and keeping the house clean, it doesn’t’ leave much time for meal prep.

I believe, the key to being successful in eating Paleo comes from having meals pre-made. It takes away all of the temptations to pick up something quick, fast and unhealthy when you have a well-stocked fridge full of healthy alternatives.

Case in point – work. We host a happy hour each month for our residents and usually have about 100 to 150 in attendance. I get all kinds of cravings when I am at Sam’s Club purchasing food and dessert for this event. Last night, our Happy Hour was a ‘stay inside and hibernate’ kind of event as a result of the snow we just got slammed with. What easier way to host than to order 30 pizzas then add in 12 cinnapies and 12 chocolate chip cookie pies for dessert? It worked out well and the pizza was a hit. The problem was, it took every bone in my body not to eat it. I also caught my hand instinctively reaching for chocolate chip cookie pie a couple times. This time, I forgot to plan ahead and bring food to eat right before the event started. Instead, I went home hungry and wishing I could have scarfed down that pizza like everyone else did.

So when I got home, my first matter of business was to make dinner. The trick to having pre-prepared meals is to find meals that you can make with minimal ingredients and minimal time. An hour or less is ideal when prepping meals during the week because that is about all the time I can spare. When you don’t have to wait 4 hours for the spaghetti squash to cook in the crockpot, it is a lot easier. (Spaghetti squash is strictly a Saturday or Sunday meal item.) Sometimes I just look at everything in my fridge, google what will taste good together (yes, I really do that!) and throw it together.

One of my favorite go-to meals:

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Chicken Apple Sausage with Sautéed Zucchini, Squash, Mushrooms and Onions with a side of Sweet Potatoes.

It is so tasty and so easy to make. I usually start with the sweet potatoes because I like them a little crispy so I leave them in the oven about 40 minutes. I am my mother’s child so naturally I sit on the couch and catch up on my shows while I peel the potatoes. When I was a kid, my mom would peel potatoes or shuck corn in the living room with a bowl on her lap while hearing how my dad’s day was at work. She had the right idea – why stand in the kitchen when you could be comfortably sitting on the couch and getting the same amount of preparation done?

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I peel and cut four sweet potatoes as thin as I can then toss them in olive oil and garlic with a touch of rosemary before putting them in the oven at 350◦.

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 Once the potatoes are in the oven, I turn on the iTunes and start to prep the vegetables! After chopping and slicing, I sauté the veggies in one pan and the chicken sausage in a separate pan. My go-to for chicken apple sausage is Aidells, all natural chicken sausage – no gluten, no nitrates and no added hormones. Oh, and it is unbelievably flavorful.

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Once the sausage is almost done, throw it in with the vegetables and let it finish cooking. Dish it out with a side of sweet potatoes and you have yourself a meal in under 60 minutes! Even better, with just one zucchini, one squash, some mushrooms and a package of chicken sausages, you have lunch for the next day!

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Stay full, stay happy!

– M

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