Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sunday Preparation

On Sunday I try to spend some time in the kitchen getting meal plans ready for the week.  This past Sunday I incorporated dinner items into the preparation as I mentioned was the plan in my So Many Things, So Little Time post.  I try to get enough things ready where my husband and I have choices when we are making our lunches.  We like to take our lunches with us to the office since it is healthier and less expensive.  Here are some things I prepped this Sunday that are pretty easy, reheat well, freeze well and are great to have on hand.

I typically always have vegetables cut and ready for salads or for snacks with ranch dip.  I make our ranch dip with Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt.  I can't tell a difference and it is so much better than using sour cream.  If you haven't tried this combination, I recommend it!  You can also take a little bit of it and mix it with a little water and red wine vinegar to make a tasty salad dressing.  My favorite veggies for dipping are carrots, celery, mushrooms and cucumber.  A great afternoon snack!

I also made some pork tender pieces that I marinated in Allegro marinade.  It is a GREAT fat free marinade.  The spicy kind is a little too spicy for me, but my husband loves it!  I mix the regular with the spicy to make a tangy marinade.  Perfect for me.

I made a pot of beans and greens soup.  This soup is very tasty and is SO easy to make.  The ingredients are:
  • cooking spray
  • chopped onion
  • minced garlic
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • whole wheat pasta (generous handful)
  • 2 cans great northern beans
  • 1 package frozen turnip greens
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
You can also add any other vegetables you like.  I added two sliced zucchini this time.  This soup is so easy to make you really can't mess it up.  I sauteed the onion, garlic, zucchini and bay leaves until the onions were translucent then added the chicken stock and turnip greens.  I simmer the soup for a few minutes before adding the whole wheat pasta and beans.  Then I let the soup simmer while I worked on everything else.  I added salt and pepper to taste.  Couldn't be easier!

I made some super simple pinto beans.  I sauteed a couple of chopped pieces of turkey bacon and onion, then add a can of pinto beans, a bay leaf, some salsa and some Adobo seasoning; then simmer until everything tastes great.  If you live in Houston and you like to cook and you have not been to Penzey's Spices in the Heights, you must check it out.  That is where I got this fabulous Adobo seasoning.  They have other locations, but that is the only one I know of in Houston.

To go with the beans, I also made some rice.  I make my rice in the microwave (I learned that trick from my husband) and it is so easy...easier than making it on the stove.  Put your rice and liquid in a corning ware, one that is slightly deep so nothing boils out, and cook white rice 5 minutes on high then 15 minutes on medium and cook brown rice 7 minutes on high and 20 minutes on medium.  Perfect every time!

I made squash (zucchini and summer squash) with onion to have for a vegetable side.  I sliced the squash and onion and put it in a pot with a little bit of water at the bottom, added some salt and pepper and cooked it over a low heat until it was done.  Yum!

I also cut up some watermelon.  Nothing says summer is almost here to me besides a sweet watermelon.

It took me about an hour of actual work time to get everything prepped and going.  I marinated the pork first and started the soup.  Once I had everything in the soup, I put the pork in the oven.  Then everything else I did while the soup and the pork was cooking.  I let everything cool some before I packaged it up and put it in the fridge.

It makes choices and grab and go meals so easy during the week that it is SO worth it.  Monday for lunch I had a salad and today I had soup.  Tonight we will have pork and squash for dinner.  Do you do things on the weekends to prep for the week too?

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