Food Prep Basics for Healthy Cooking
Many of you know Sundays are food prep days at the Pfiesters. I love to cook! I also love to eat! But, since I don’t LOVE to workout, that means I need manage what I eat very closely so I don’t have to workout any more than I have to! ha!
If I want to eat healthy, I have to plan well. That starts with shopping and ends with food prep, including measuring everything out and tallying calories so I know exactly how much I can have without packing on the pounds. This is probably the last week of fun cooking for the Pfiesters. After this week, we’ll be cooking even cleaner, plainer and more strict as Steve prepares for his next bodybuilding show. So, this is our last healthy hurrah.
Yesterday, I posted everything I cooked on my facebook and people asked for more details – so here they are!
First up is storage. When I tell people what I cook for the week, often times people’s first response is “won’t it go bad?” If you don’t have a husband that eats your weight in meat, then you may want to divide your cook days up, freeze some of it, or trim down the food prep a bit. Below are some recommended storage times from Food Safety so you can determine how much you should cook at once.
Poultry: 3-4 days (4 months in freezer)
Poultry in broth or gravy: 1-2 days
Ham: 7 days for whole ham, 3-5 days for 1/2, 3-4 sliced
Fish: 3-4 days (4-6 months in freezer)
Smoked Fish: 14 days
Gravy or broth: 1-2 days
Left Over (carry out) 3-4 days if refrigerated within 2 hours of serving
Pasta: 4 days
Beans: Up to a week
Casseroles: 3-4 days
Rice: 3-5 days
Hard Boiled Eggs: 7 days
Ok, say this with me: “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail”. I know, I say this all the time, but it’s SO TRUE! If I want to eat healthy during the week, I have to shop and cook healthy on the weekend. Here’s what I prepared, along with what I plan to serve it with. You’ll notice we eat most of our higher carb meals during the day, when we need the most energy, and save our meat and green veggie meals for dinner since you don’t need a lot of carbs to sleep.
My Meal Plans:
LUNCHES: Turkey Taco Meat for soft tacos using low-carb tortillas or served over a baked potato
LUNCH: Salmon to eat with sweet potato pie
LUNCHES: Turkey Joes to eat alone, on sandwich thins or on top of half a potato
LUNCH OR DINNER: Caribbean Chicken to eat alone, as a burrito or served over rice
DINNER: Turkey Taco Salad
DINNER: Grilled Chicken to eat with asparagus or broccoli or putting on salads
DINNER: Tilapia to eat with a green veggie
SIDES: Steamed Jasmine Rice
SIDES: Sweet Potato Energy Pie
FREEZER: Marinated Orange Chicken (to cook later)
FREEZER: Marinated General Tso’s Chicken (to cook later)
Here are the fresh ingredients I will need later:
Arugula, Spring Mix & Kale
Ingredients for Soft Tacos or Burritos (light Sour Cream, salsa, onion, etc)
Some of you asked how I could cook everything in less than 2 hours, so here you go! If you don’t care about the process, the short story is I multi-task. I am cooking several things at once and making the most of my time. I had the grill, stove, crockpot and rice steamer all going at once. That’s the short story if you want to skip the next 3 paragraphs and get to the recipes. 🙂
First, I started browning the turkey for the taco meat. Then I started filleting half the chicken for the grill and dicing the other half of the chicken for the Caribbean Chicken dish. I divided up the filleted chicken and threw them in ziplock bags with marinade and through it in the freezer, which I’ll cook later in the week. Then I threw the diced chicken in the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients. By this time, the turkey was done and I put it in a tupperware container to cool. (Let food cool before you place in your refrigerator to prevent your refrigerator from working overtime)
One round of turkey done. Now it was time for the second round. While I had the chicken marinading and the grill heating up, I diced up the onion and threw it in the pan with a little olive oil. While the onion was cooking, I put rice and water in my steamer and the quinoa on the stove. Once the onion was sautéed to my liking, I added the ground turkey and put the chicken on the grill. Then I threw a bag of sweet potatoes in a big pot to boil while I finished the turkey up. By the time the turkey and chicken were done, so was the quinoa. I then added the quinoa, and the rest of the ingredients, to the ground turkey and put everything in containers.
By this time I had the taco meat, Turkey Joes, grilled chicken, rice and quinoa all done. All I had left is the sweet potato and fish. I slapped the tilapia on my grilling pan with some lime juice, olive oil and seasonings and left it on the grill while I cleaned up the kitchen and finished boiling the potatoes. Finally, Steve cooked the salmon while I mixed the sweet potatoes together and my work was done! Later that night the Caribbean chicken was done and ready for storage too. Time for bed!
First, I need to tell ya – I love to cook, but I’m not a chef. I just want to eat health AND enjoy my food. I am a very creative cook who rarely follows a recipe. I make stuff up as I go along and enjoy the creation process (which admittedly makes it hard for me to share what I make because I’m adding a dash of this and that as I go). I’m working to improve that! I cook as simply as possible to limit ingredients and calories. I LOVE seasonings and I love trying new things. I also know if I make something taste TOO good, we have a hard time eating the correct portion. So, I try to cook smart and I avoid cooking my favorite dishes too often. My goal is to cook food for fuel and not just always for entertainment. Here is what I cooked yesterday.
2.5lbs ground turkey
2 Cups Quinoa
1 Cup Anna Mae’s Smokey Sweet Sauce
1 T Stevia
1 Tsp Salt (or more to taste)
2 Slightly Firm Avocado (diced)
This is a 1st-time creation and Steve LOVED it! Steve liked to add avocado to his meals to add quality fat for energy. This is great served over 1/2 a baked regular OR sweet potato!
Made approximately 7 Cups, 14 1/2 cups servings.
206 calories, 22g protein, 19 carbs, 5gm fat.
Turkey Taco Meat:
2.5lbs ground turkey
1/4 cup lime juice
2 packets of taco seasoning
Makes great taco salads, burritos, low-carb tacos and toppings for a Mexican baked potato with light sour cream. YUM!
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken:
Fileted Chicken Breast
1 Cup Kikkoman Triple Ginger Marinade
1/8 -1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Always a staple in our house! Last night I put a breast over a bed of arugula with slivered pear, onion, turkey bacon bits and honey roasted sliced almonds with plain balsamic vinegar on top.
1.5lb Diced Chicken
1 Small Can Diced Pineapples with juice
1 or 2 Cans Black Beans drained
1 Can Cilantro & Lime RoTel Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Lawry’s Caribbean Marinade
1 T Stevia
1 tsp salt (to taste)
Serve over your preference of rice or quinoa.
2 Cans of beans – 240 Calories, 23g p, 30g c, 3g f
1 Can of beans – 187 Calories, 19g p, 20g c, 3g f
(2 cans if eating alone, 1 can if you plan on putting it over rice, or putting it in a wrap)
Sweet Potato Energy Pie:
This is Steve’s preferred carbohydrate source – especially before his workouts. We purposely add nuts to add healthy fat to slow digestion so that it lasts longer (stays with you longer, which helps you feel fuller longer and give you a longer lasting energy). This is NOT going to be like the high-calorie ooey gooey pie grandma makes. It tastes great, and is much tastier than just a plain sweet potato, but this recipe is about making a yummy fuel source that is easy, tasty & healthy.
Mash the following ingredients together
8 Sweet Potatoes, boiled and peeled
1/3-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1-2 T of light butter
2 T Light Maple Syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 T Sugar Twin Brown Sugar (0 calories)
1-2 tsp Salt (to taste)
After the potatoes cool, I peel them and mix everything in a big tupperware container. I don’t bake it or top it with anything. I eat it as is! 🙂
12 servings: 116 calories
Note: I determine serving size based on # of potatoes used. I don’t want to eat the equivalent of 1 potato, but prefer portions to be 1/2-3/4 a potato.
More About Safe Storage
I enjoyed reading some of the recipes in your article. They are quite interesting and very good. I am putting a site together http://cookingforfitness.ciajusa.com and would like to know what your thoughts might be regarding healthy proteins concerning how much should a person consume.
personal chef service in Austin
Healthy foods really make your life long.The recipe is very easy to cook.I would also prepare this at home.Many thanks for placing in the time to examine this, I look highly regarding information and love uncovering much more on this. Preferably, as you get knowledge, it is really valuable for me. Would definitely you mind upgrading your blog in addition to even more specifics?
I am so glad I found your blog; it has so many great tips for preparing food and fantastic workouts. Thanks!
We pretty much plan our week of eats here too, roasted chicken is a staple, you can mex, italian, it up, and use it in so many ways….what is funny is the HUSBAND is getting into it ! We got a Big Green Egg (smoker/grill) and he loves cooking on it. And, today I was ‘under a goal’ which was a cool thing 🙂 NFR (non food reward) is a new pair of shoes, which will keep me motivatin’ on down the road !