my top 10 recipes for a quick and easy meal prep!

Love the idea of meal prep but don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen? With the holidays upon us this is even more true! Well, here are my top 10 recipes to make your meal prep go more quickly and easily to help you get started!

I love meal prep, but you don't always want to spend all day in the kitchen doing it! So here are my top 10 recipes for when I want a quick and easy meal prep!

Slow-Cooker-Mongolian-Chicken
Recipe and photo by Carlsbad Cravings

Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken

Chicken-Vindaloo
Recipe and photo by Kitchen Dreaming

Chicken Vindaloo

kung-pow
Recipe and photo by Fit Foodie Finds

Clean Eating Kung Pao Chicken

chicken-potatoes-green-beans
Recipe and photo by The Magical Slowcooker

Seasoned Chicken, Potatoes and Green Beans

Healthy-unstuffed-cabbage-rolls
Recipe and photo by I Save A2Z

Healthy Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Chickpea-Potato-Curry
Recipe and photo from RecipeTin Eats

Easy Chickpea and Potato Curry

garlic-parmesan-pasta
Recipe and photo by Damn Delicious

One Pot Garlic and Parmesan Pasta

chicken-lo-mein-3
Recipe and photo by Andie Mitchell

Easy Healthy Chicken Lo Mein

Crockpot-Chicken-Potatoes-Carrots-Savory

Crockpot-Chicken-Potatoes-Carrots-Savory
Easy & Yummy Slowcooker Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 10-15 min
Cook Time
7-9 hours
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 10-15 min
Cook Time
7-9 hours
Crockpot-Chicken-Potatoes-Carrots-Savory
Easy & Yummy Slowcooker Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 10-15 min
Cook Time
7-9 hours
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 10-15 min
Cook Time
7-9 hours
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Place chicken into slowcooker. In a bowl, mix soup, onion mix and milk; stir and add into slowcooker. Add cut vegetables into the slowcooker and mix.
  2. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours. When done, mix well before serving.
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Crockpot-Meatballs-and-pasta

Crockpot-Meatballs-and-pasta
Slow Cooker Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce
Print Recipe
An easy meal to throw into the slow cooker, this dish is delicious with minimal work!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5-10 min
Cook Time
10 hrs
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5-10 min
Cook Time
10 hrs
Crockpot-Meatballs-and-pasta
Slow Cooker Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce
Print Recipe
An easy meal to throw into the slow cooker, this dish is delicious with minimal work!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5-10 min
Cook Time
10 hrs
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5-10 min
Cook Time
10 hrs
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients (except noodles, cornstarch and 2 tbsp water) in slow cooker. Stir to blend. Cook on low for 10 hrs or high for 5 hrs.
  2. If desired, thicken sauce when cooked: Remove 3-4 cups of sauce from slow cooker. Mix cornstarch with 2 tbsp cold water. Then add mixture to sauce and simmer on medium-low heat until sauce is thickened. Return to slow cooker and mix well.
  3. Serve with noodles.
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If you want to make your meal prep go a bit quicker, put a couple of these recipes on your menu!

What are your favorite recipes to make your meal prep go easier? I would love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below!

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sunday meal prep 11/20/16

Hey everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Here, well, the weekend has been okay. But each week is a new start, so hopefully this next one can go better! One upside: This meal prep turned out pretty delicious! So let’s get right into it!

Enjoy!

Meal prep can help make your week easier and healthier! Check out my weekly meal prep and a free downloadable grocery list to get you started!

Our snacks were pretty basic this week: Our regular Cookie Dough Protein Balls and my grapes with cheese. Our salads were close to the same as normal, with one exception. I made some extra wild rice blend and added that to my salads. It turned out to be a great addition!

Some healthy snacks and mason jar salads to make your week easier!Mason jar salads with shredded buffalo chicken and wild rice!

We were running low on cinnamon bread and out of breakfast burritos, so those got made as well. They really make our breakfasts filling and a great start to the day!

Breakfast burritos and healthier cinnamon bread to make your mornings easier!

Now on to the main dishes! As I said in last week’s meal prep post, Draz really liked the General Tso’s Chicken, so he requested that I make more of that. I made a bit of a misstep through….I thought it needed a side and we had some extra green beans. So I found anΒ Asian green bean dish to make with it! Great right? Well…the green bean dish by itself was great. But I packaged it with the General Tso’s….not so great.

spinach-mushroom-lasagna-general-tso-chicken

Lesson learned! Next time if I want to make a side dish for it I will package it separately. The sauce for each mixed together and it was not a great addition. I will be making the green bean dish again though, because it was tasty!

I also made Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Skillet, Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna, and Clean Eating Balsamic Pork Chops with Balsamic Brown Butter Asparagus! The pork chop and asparagus dish is a repeat and one that we always enjoy.

balsamic-pork-chops-creamy-chicken-wild-rice

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce
Print Recipe
This is one of my favorite side dishes to make! Quick and easy, yet fancy enough for a special dinner!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce
Print Recipe
This is one of my favorite side dishes to make! Quick and easy, yet fancy enough for a special dinner!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet; toss to coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for 12 minutes.
  2. Just before asparagus is done, melt butter in a small skillet over med heat. Cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over asparagus, tossing well to coat
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The other two recipes were new. I really liked both of them! That being said, Draz and I both think that the lasagna rolls we made before were a bit better, so we will probably be sticking with that one instead. The Chicken and Wild Rice Skillet was delicious and very filling! I think we will be repeating this one at some point!

If you want to follow along with this for your own meal prep, download your grocery list here!

What are you making this week for your meal prep? Have you ever made a side dish that didn’t go well with your main dish? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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how to support your fitness goals with meal prep!

You all know how much I love meal prep. It saves me time and money, and it makes my life so much easier! But one of the reasons I truly love meal prep is what it does for my fitness goals. As many of you, I have a lot going on in my life. It can be hard to juggle all the different tasks and priorities some days! So I depend on meal prep to help me hit my fitness goals without having to put extra thought into it on a daily basis!

Working on your fitness goals? Meal prep can help get you there! I've put together some tools and resources I love to help me do just that!

When I get home from work with a growing to-do list the last thing I want to be worrying about is “what’s for dinner?”. I don’t want to have to spend 30-45 minutes cooking a healthy meal for Draz and myself when I could be working on the next blog post or a new piece of jewelry! And I especially don’t want to cook after a hard workout session at the gym! Instead, I want to be able to get home from the gym, pull out healthy, already cooked meal, heat it up and get to work. And that is where meal prep comes in.

With meal prep, I am able to plan out healthy, filling meals for Draz and I and get the cooking done in one session. Then there is no stress or easy excuses for bad food decisions for the rest of the week πŸ™‚ Sounds great, doesn’t it?! So here are a few tools to help you plan out your own healthy meal prep so you can work towards your fitness goals with a little less stress.

MyFitnessPal

Probably at the top of my list is MyFitnessPal. Available on your computer and your phone, this calorie tracker is super helpful in planning meals that meet your goals! While I don’t track calories or macros on a regular basis, I use MFP semi-regularly to make sure I’m on track. I also use it to calculate calories and macros for a new recipe, especially if it is one I’m unsure about. This tool is great for building up a list of healthy recipes to choose from as well. Put in a bunch of your favorite healthy recipes as you meal prep and after a month or two you could just plan your meal prep from your recipe list if you wanted to!

Healthy Food Blogs to Help you Reach Your Fitness Goals

There are so many great options out there for finding healthy recipes, but my favorite way is healthy food blogs. Once you find a few favorite ones, it’s easy to find new recipes to try and you know that you are going to be able to find ones that fit your fitness goals! Here are a few of my favorites:

  • The Lean Green BeanΒ –Β Lindsay is a registered dietitian and has an amazing blog filled with healthy recipes, meal prep tips and guides, and much more! Her blog is actually what got me started originally on meal prep! Along with that, quite a few of our staple recipes are from her blog, my favorite being the Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins.
  • Eat Yourself SkinnyΒ –Β Kelly has so many delicious recipes on here! Our favorite Chicken Enchilada recipe is from here!
  • Organize Yourself SkinnyΒ –Β I love Tammy’s focus on healthy food with meal prep and fitness! Her site focuses on so many things that are important to me, plus has delicious recipes! While I could list 10+ recipes of her’s I make on a regular basis, her Shredded Buffalo Chicken is eaten almost daily in our house! It is the chicken I use in our mason jar salads and is wonderful πŸ™‚

Meal Plans

Don’t want to deal with planning out your meal prep? While I do prefer to plan out my own menus, there is something to be said for not even having to plan out your prep! There are many other healthy meal plans out there. So if this is your preference, do some shopping around to find one that fits your tastes and give it a try!

What tools do you use to plan your meals? Have you tried to plan out your meals to help you meet your fitness goals? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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sunday meal prep 11/13/16

Hey all! I am super excited to bring you this week’s meal prep! I tried a couple new recipes that turned out delicious and altered one of my own with….interesting results. The other surprise of the week: Other than my grapes and cheese, no snacks or treats this week! We have actually been building up a bit of a surplus here, so this week was finishing off the treats and snacks we already have. I’m thinking next week will include a new treat. Any recommendations?!

Use this meal prep and grocery list to help you prepare for eating healthy all week and have more time for the things you love!

I did also make our regular mason jar salads of course πŸ™‚ I’m getting a little bored with them though and might be changing those up soon too!

Healthy mason jar salads and snacks

So on to the main dishes! Our two new recipes were both for the slow cooker and turned out wonderful! Ham & Potato Soup and General Tso’s Chicken. The soup was inexpensive, filling, and made a rather large amount of servings. Plus it was pretty quick to get going! This one is definitely going to be made again. I did make a change to the recipe: I used unsweetened almond milk instead of half-and-half. There weren’t any issues doing this and since we never really buy half-and-half I think that is going to be how I make this from now on! I also used plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Ham-potato-soup-cheeseburger-mac-skillet-general-tso-potato-hash

The General Tso’s was Draz’s favorite and super quick and easy! I think the only thing that keeps it from being a new favorite of mine is the lack of veggies. This one is definitely going to be a regular at our house. In fact, it’s already been requested for next week! I might try looking around for a hoisin sauce with a little lower sodium content though…the sauce for this one was a little salty for my preferences.

Ham-potato-soup-cheeseburger-mac-skillet-general-tso-potato-hash

Now, I’m sure you noticed the black blob-looking dish in the pictures. I promise, it’s much more tasty than it looks! That is actually my Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet with one change: I used black bean noodles instead of regular elbow noodles. Overall, I think it was a good first attempt at using them. The dish turned out tasty, but next time I am going to add the noodles partway through the simmering instead of at the beginning. They ended up a little mushy and overcooked. But I am very happy to have a possible healthier replacement for regular noodles, at least in some recipes!

Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet
Print Recipe
The perfect combination of mac n cheese and a cheeseburger!
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet
Print Recipe
The perfect combination of mac n cheese and a cheeseburger!
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat 6-8 min or until no longer pink; drain.
  2. Stir in macaroni, broth, milk, ketchup, steak seasoning, mustard and onion powder; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 10-15 min or until macaroni is tender. Stir in cheese and let melt. If desired, serve sprinkled with chives.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional Information (4 servings): Calories 441 Total Fat 24.8 g Cholesterol 99.3 mg Sodium 1,076 mg Potassium 445.9 mg Total Carbs 19.5 g Dietary Fiber .5 g Sugars 6.6 g Protein 30.5 g

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My favorite of the week was this Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion & Potato Hash! I love frying up a couple eggs to serve with it. It has kinda become one of my go to comfort dishes and I love it! I use smoked turkey sausage instead of kielbasa, but it ends up flavorful enough anyways πŸ™‚

If you want to try out this meal prep for yourself, get your grocery list here!

Any new dishes in your meal prep today? Have you tried out different noodle replacements? Do you have ones you have found that you like? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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sunday meal prep 11/6/16

Hey everyone! Welcome to this Sunday’s meal prep! I have been trying to focus on keeping things relatively inexpensive and quick to prepare lately and this week is no exception. So no new recipes from me this week, but a few of our quick favorites!

Now, this week I did things a little different. (For everyone new: My meal prep posts are staggered, so this is LAST week’s meal prep) My Saturday after we did our grocery shopping was really busy. I participated in my local Trunk or Treat event, which is put on by a church here in town. Local businesses and organizations come, decorate their vehicles and hand out candy to the kids! It’s a great time for the community to meet local businesses and its a fun, safe festival! There was even a bouncy house with these fun jousting batons and free food!

Halloween-trunk-or-treat

So I went to represent my jewelry business and to get my name out there more in the local community. It was so much fun! But…it meant for a busy day. So instead of doing my meal prep all at once, I did the snack prep when we got home before the Trunk or Treat and then did the rest of our meal prep after I woke up! It worked out great, except for my dad eating 2 of my muffins! Just kidding Dad, I’m glad you like them πŸ™‚

Ok, enough of my rambling….on to the meal prep! Enjoy!

Get your week started right with meal prep and have healthy tasty food all week! Use my free downloadable grocery list to get you started!

 

For the snacks I went with our top 3 favorites, all of which can be found over in my Meal Prep Staples! Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins, Protein Balls and Sweet Potato Banana Bites πŸ™‚ Outside of the fact that they are all delicious, I love that they have so many overlapping ingredients. I’m able to get them put together pretty much all at the same time, which cuts down on time and dirty measuring spoons! I also made some more Maple Vanilla Nut Latte Protein Bites, just because I like them so much!

Cookie-dough-protein-balls-vanilla-latte-energy-balls-PB-Banana-Oat-Muffins-Sweet-Potato-Banana-Bites

I did also of course make our regular salads and grapes with cheese!

mason-jar-salads-grapes-with-cheese

Our main dishes of the week: Chicken Vindaloo, Thai Peanut Chicken Pasta, and Healthy Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls. All of them turned out as tasty as ever, but the Chicken Vindaloo was definitely my favorite of the week, which Draz favored the Thai Peanut Chicken Pasta.

chicken-vindaloo-thai-chicken-pasta-unstuffed-cabbage-rolls

I did end up having to make one slight adjustment out of necessity. While I was making the Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls, I realized that I forgot to pick up a second can of fire roasted tomatoes. I can say with certainty that, while you can make it without it, it tastes much better with the second can!

Want to make these for your own meal prep? Get started here, with your free downloadable grocery list!

That’s it for this week! What are you making for your meal prep this week? What events did your community have for Halloween? I would love to hear about it, so please leave a comment below!

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turning fitness into a habit

Can you believe it’s November already!? The year seems to have flown by! And as the year is coming to close, many people will start thinking about how 2016 went and how they want 2017 to go. For many, this process usually includes declarations of “I’m going to eat healthier, work out more!” and so on. Fitness is one of the most common things that people think of when setting their annual goals. But sadly many of those same people won’t make it past the one month mark. Why is that?

Well, a lot of it comes down to habit. Too many people depend on motivation to get them to their goals, which is simply not enough. Motivation is great for the first week or even the first month! But eventually motivation dissipates and the goals that seemed so important suddenly don’t rank so high on the to-do list. So how do we change this and go from depending on motivation to creating a habit? This is a question I have struggled with myself.

I’ve had many starts and stops when it comes to my fitness journey. I can look back 10+ years and see different points where I tried to include fitness into my life more, but it never lasted. I would lose motivation or hit a roadblock and I would give up. I tried obsessive calorie-counting, programs at gyms that made big promises, and many other things. And most of them probably would have worked! Except the obsessive calorie-counting…that one was terrible. The problem was I didn’t know how to turn fitness into a habit and so I was never able to keep it up.

Fast forward to 3 years ago. I had lost a decent amount of weight already through some lifestyle changes and a highly physical job and was feeling pretty good! But I knew I wanted to make a bigger change and put more focus on my health and my fitness. So I started trying to work out more. There were some more start and stops, but there was less time between them.

And finally to last year. I started getting more consistent and even started a great program! If you were with me back then, you know that my attempts at Kayla Itsines’ BBG didn’t go smoothly and there were a lot of obstacles! But I did finally complete it and the community around BBG really helped me to make fitness into a habit!

And now? I am at the gym 5-6 days a week, I am active outside of the gym and I do a few workouts at home too! Are there are days I don’t really want to work out? Of course! But most of them I do anyways and I always feel better afterwards!

Working out has become a habit in my life and I know it can in yours too! These 5 methods helped me make the transition from depending on motivation for my workouts to having a steady fitness habit!

To succeed in your fitness journey you need more than motivation...fitness needs to be a habit! These 5 tips can help you build that habit and succeed at your fitness goals!

5 Things that Can Help You Turn Fitness Into a Habit

Schedule your workouts

Just like any other appointment, you need to make appointments with yourself. Write down when you are going to exercise and what you are going to do. At the beginning of each week I sit down and write out my schedule for the week, including my workouts!

Find something you enjoy

Don’t like walking on the treadmill? So don’t! Especially at the beginning of your fitness journey, finding things you enjoy is so important. There are so many activities out there that will improve your fitness, so try some out! Take a kickboxing class, go hiking, try out a climbing wall! There are even groups in many cities that you can join that are centered around fitness. If you aren’t sure what you want to try (and you have the budget for it) you can join a gym that has a variety of classes and try them out! I recently joined the YMCA and have been loving the classes available, especially kickboxing!

Find your “why”

Now, I understand that finding your “why” might sound a little silly, but it works! Knowing your reason or reasons for wanting to work out. Really give this one some thought and preferably find a “why” that is long term. If you goal is to look great in that dress for an upcoming event, you may have a hard time keeping your focus after the event is over!

Find other like-minded individuals

This can either be on-line or in person (I do both!) but having a community is so helpful. There are many challenges that can come with changing your lifestyle and making fitness a priority. Having others to turn to and find support from can be the difference between pushing through them and giving up, especially at the beginning! Also, it’s just a lot of fun!

Look for the small victories

It can be disappointing when you are starting to work out and you don’t see a huge change right away. It can feel like all your hard work isn’t paying off and can really kill that motivation that got you started. Instead, look for the small victories! Did 5 push-ups last week? Maybe this week you can do a few more! Maybe you can lift something that last month you wouldn’t have been able to. Or you are sleeping better and having more energy. Paying attention to those smaller things can really help you push through the difficult moments and be reminders as to why you keep going!

Have you turned your fitness practice into a habit? What techniques have helped you do it? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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