WEDNESDAY: BBQ Ranch Salad Bowl & Yogurt Parfait

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BREAKFAST: Fruit & Granola Yogurt Parfait

I’ve posted about this before, but it won’t hurt to reiterate the recipe. I make it every week because of how easy and cheap it is to put together. For this week’s,  I got some new granola at Aldi–coconut chia seed, and it is delish. Plus, it’s organic and cheap! It’s really outrageous how expensive some granola can be.

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What you need (1 serving):

  • 2 small yogurt packs (I used Dannon Activia mixed berry and black cherry, but you can use any yogurt you prefer.)
  • Small handful of berries (I used blueberries and chopped strawberries)
  • Small scoop granola

What you do:

  1. In a small airtight jar, layer the two yogurts on top of one another.
  2. Top with berries and granola.

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LUNCH: BBQ Ranch Chicken Bowl

This is a brand new recipe that I haven’t tried before. I threw it together based on some leftover ingredients I had from last week, and it turned out amazing! BBQ sauce and ranch are always a great combination, and you really can’t go wrong with it on chicken. I love ranch on a salad, but it is notoriously unhealthy, so by drizzling just a tad and mixing the salad with other ingredients such as rice and corn, you get the taste without all the calories.

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What you need (for one serving):

  • 1/2 cup pulled chicken
  • 1 tsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup canned corn
  • 1 cup greens of your choice (I used romaine spring mix)
  • 2/3 cup brown rice

What you do:

  1. Cook rice according to packaging.
  2. In an airtight container, place chicken, corn, greens, and rice in separate sections.
  3. Drizzle BBQ sauce over chicken. Repeat with ranch.

When you’re ready to eat, just mix everything all together and dig in! The chicken tastes reminiscent of BBQ wings and the vegetables and rice make it quite a bit healthier! I will certainly be adding this into my rotation of meals, as it’s one that both my husband and I loved!

TUESDAY: Apple Cinnamon Oats & Southwest Sweet Potato

Apple Cinnamon Oats

BREAKFAST: Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

This is probably one of my favorite combinations of overnight oats. And I know I say that every time I post about them, but I think I really mean it this time! The apples and cinnamon taste like apple pie–with a lot fewer calories!

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What you need (for one serving)

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 apple, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 packet stevia

What to do:

Combine everything, put in airtight container and refrigerate at least overnight!

This is so delicious when it is hot and gooey for breakfast. I made a second batch for later in the week, but I might not make it that long without eating it!

LUNCH: Southwest Sweet Potato

I am really digging the stuffed sweet potato thing. The buffalo chicken sweet potato from last prep was amazing, and this southwest sweet potato is another one of my go-tos. Directions for the southwest mixture are exactly the same as from my burrito bowls and burritos from last prep. This would be another great option if you have leftover chicken mixture from another recipe.

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What you need (for two servings):

  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1/2 can corn
  • 1/2 can Rotel tomatoes & chiles
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp water
  • Several leaves of cilantro
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cleaned

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Poke holes in your sweet potatoes all over using a fork.
  3. Place potatoes directly on center rack of oven and bake for ~50 minutes, turning halfway through.
  4. In a greased medium skillet, combine the first 6 items. Simmer on medium heat ~10 minutes.
  5. When potatoes are cooked through, slice down the center and use a fork to “fluff” the inside of your potato.
  6. Scoop a heaping portion of chicken mixture into your potato.
  7. Top with cilantro. Feel free to add hot sauce, salsas, fat free sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, etc.

 

MONDAY: Sweet Potato Scramble & Berry Salad

I try to pair my breakfasts and lunches to complement one another. When I have a salad for lunch, I try to pack something heartier for breakfast. When I eat something denser or higher in carbs, such as a sweet potato or rice, I do a yogurt or smoothie for breakfast. Today’s pairing is sausage sweet potato egg scramble for breakfast, and berry spinach salad for lunch.

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BREAKFAST: Sausage, Sweet Potato & Egg Scramble

This is one of my very favorite breakfast meals. It’s a variation on my egg scramble from my last prep. In this version, sweet potatoes and maple sausage pair well with savory eggs and red bell peppers. I was a little worried how the sausage and eggs would reheat, but no problem whatsoever. Ever had one of those Jimmy Dean Sausage Bowls? Consider this a cheaper, and much healthier version. While I love the taste of the maple sausage, I do want to try using turkey sausage next time, instead.

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What you need (4 portions):

  • 1 lb maple flavored breakfast sausage
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 eggs, scrambled (with milk, salt & pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram

What you do:

  1. Bring medium pot of water to boil. Add sweet potatoes, reduce heat to medium/high and cook ~7 minutes.
  2. In a large, greased skillet, cook sausage on medium heat until browned.
  3. Drain fat from sausage, discard.
  4. Add red pepper, cinnamon and marjoram. Cover and simmer on medium ~5 minutes.
  5. In a separate pan, cook scrambled eggs until light and fluffy.
  6. Combine eggs, sweet potatoes, and sausage mixture.

 

LUNCH: Berry, Walnut & Chicken Salad

This is one of my go-to mason jar salads. It uses simple ingredients that I normally always have on hand. I bought a big bag of walnuts at Costco a few weeks ago and I swear it’s going to take me 5 years to go through them all! I use measurements like “handful” for this recipe, because it’s really up to you how much of each ingredient you want to add.

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What you need (1 portion):

  • Handful walnuts
  • Handful blueberries
  • Handful strawberries, chopped
  • ~2 tbps strawberry vinaigrette dressing
  • Handful blue cheese
  • ~2 cups spinach
  • ~1/2 cup shredded chicken

What you do:

In the mason jar, layer your salad in this order:

  1. Dressing
  2. Blue cheese
  3. Walnuts
  4. Chicken
  5. Strawberries
  6. Blueberries
  7. Spinach

Just shake it up and eat straight from the jar or pour on a plate! Having the dressing at the bottom keeps the produce from getting soggy, and the mason jars keep everything fresh all week long!

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Meal Prep Week 2

IMG_8780Last week I didn’t get around to meal prepping. The weekend was crazy and my Sunday was packed with Mother’s Day events. By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was relax! Plus, last week, I had breakfast and lunch provided by my work several days, so there wasn’t a need for a full-on prep. I did still meal plan and packed breakfasts and lunches for my husband and myself, but I usually prepared them the night before, or morning of, which usually resulted in me being late for work, oops. It’s just so hard for me to force myself to wake up any earlier than absolutely necessary!

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This week, I decided to get back on the grind and do a full Sunday prep. I tried to use ingredients I already had at home, and leftovers from the previous week. I spent $25 total for 8 breakfasts and 10 lunches (one morning we will just eat cereal at home before work!) I repeated some breakfast items from the previous prep, but al of the lunches are different.

I spent about two and a half hours cooking yesterday afternoon (and after that, I still cooked dinner!) By the time I was finished, I was exhausted and my feet hurt from standing, but I’m pretty proud of my results, and know I’ll be relieved to not have to pack any more throughout this week.

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Thursday:Egg Scramble & Protein Bistro Box

DAY FOUR (THURSDAY)

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BREAKFAST: Egg Scramble

Eggs are super high in protein and low in carbs and keep surprisingly well in the refrigerator once cooked! I love making omelets for breakfast on the weekends and regularly make egg “muffins” for breakfasts-on-the-go. This week I tried making somewhat of a deconstructed omelet. Really it’s just scrambled eggs with some add-ins, but making something “deconstructed” makes me sound like I’m on Top Chef, so I’m going with that.

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What you need (for two servings):

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes (or use fresh)
  • 3 slices turkey bacon
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

What you do:

  1. Cook your turkey bacon in the microwave according to instructions on package. Crumble and set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter until melted.
  3. Add bell pepper and sauté until color lightens.
  4. Add spinach and tomatoes. Continue cooking until spinach has shrunk and cooked through.
  5. While your veggies cook, combine eggs, milk and salt & pepper. Whisk until fully scrambled.
  6. In a second skillet, add egg mixture over medium heat. Cook about 4 minutes until eggs are solid and fluffy. Constantly use spatula or fork to stir eggs, creating large scrambled pieces.
  7. Stir cooked eggs into your vegetable mixture. Add turkey bacon. Stir well.
  8. Top with shredded cheese.

I would tell you how this tasted but my husband ate mine! So I’ll be doing double oatmeal this week. But, he gave it great reviews! Hence why he’s eating it twice this week.

LUNCH: “Starbucks” Protein Bistro Box Copycat

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Starbucks has really great grab-and-go lunch food. I’m obsessed with their quinoa salads but haven’t yet perfected my own version (lemme know if you have a good recipe!) Another one of my favorites is their Protein Bistro Box. This is extremely easy to replicate at home and the only cooking it requires is boiling an egg! I make this a lot when I’m running late and don’t have time to make anything else.

What you need (for one serving)

  • 1 apple
  • 1 large stem red, seedless grapes
  • 2 triangles of cheese (slice your own or I use Laughing Cow)
  • 1 large tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1/2 pita pocket
  • 1 egg

What you do:

Literally you just hard boil your egg, slice your pita into triangles, and throw everything into a container. I put my peanut butter in a small condiment container. I also like to eat my apple sliced and dip it into the almond butter, but I don’t slice until the day I plan to eat it, or else the apple will turn brown.

I love how much protein this meal packs, and the variety of salty vs. sweet flavors. And it beats paying the $6 you’ll fork over for one at Starbucks!

Wednesday: Blueberry Overnight Oats & Asian Sesame Salad

DAY THREE (TUESDAY)

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BREAKFAST: Blueberry Overnight Oatmeal

Overnight oats is one of my favorite things to make for breakfast! They are perfect to make for meal prep, because the longer they sit, the better they turn out. You let the oats sit overnight (or longer) and then can pop them in the microwave for breakfast or eat cold. There are many variations you can make, but blueberry is one of my favorites.

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What you need (for two servings)

  • 2/3 cup old fashioned oats (avoid instant–less nutritious and defeats the purpose of letting them sit overnight)
  • 2/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup milk (or almond or soy milk)
  • Handful blueberries
  • 2 packets stevia
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

What you do:

  1. Mix everything together, reserving several blueberries.
  2. Spoon out into airtight containers (again, I use small mason jars.)
  3. Top with remaining blueberries and sprinkle with extra cinnamon, if desired.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, your oats will be soaked through, and, essentially, “cooked.” I eat this a lot at work and my boss always comments on how delicious it smells when I heat it up. The oatmeal is extremely filling, especially when adding chia seeds, or flax seed to the mix.

LUNCH: Asian Sesame Chicken Salad

This is one of my absolute favorite mason jar salads, and I think the dressing is the key. I tried to make my own sesame ginger dressing and it was horrendous. I’ll stick with the pre-made version for this one.

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What you need: *Note, this is for one serving. However, I really don’t measure out ingredients for my salad, I just throw them together based on what looks good and fits in the jar!

  • Spinach
  • Pulled chicken (rotisserie, again)
  • 1-2 carrots
  • Handful sugar snap peas
  • Handful peanuts or cashews
  • Handful chow mein noodles
  • Asian sesame ginger dressing (I used Ken’s Steakhouse)
  • 1 clementine or mandarin orange

What you do:

  1. Peel outside skin off your carrot and discard. Continue to peel with peeler, making long, thin carrot shreddings. Or, spiralize with a “zoodler” or spiralizer.
  2. Peel your clementine and pull wedges apart.
  3. Pour desired amount of dressing into bottom of mason jar.
  4. Next, add in this order: cashews/peanuts, chow mein, snap peas, carrots, chicken.
  5. Finally, stuff the rest of your mason jar with spinach.

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When you’re ready to eat, give it a good shake and pour onto a plate.

Tuesday: Yogurt Parfait & Chicken Burrito Bowl

DAY TWO (TUESDAY)

Day two of meal prepping. Yesterday it was SO nice to come home from work, head to the gym, come back to a leftover bowl of potato soup, and spend the rest of the evening with my husband. Normally I’m spending half of my night prepping our meals for the next day, so I really appreciated already having everything ready to go for Tuesday!

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I’ve made it a point to make different meals every day. I see a lot of meal preps where people eat chicken, broccoli and brown rice every day of the week. That’s great; I’m sure it’s healthy and cuts down on cost and waste, but I cannot make myself eat the same thing every day. Well, actually I probably could (I love routine) but my husband would be taking his lunch break at Subway. So, I’ve tried to have something different for each of our meals, while not needing 10000 ingredients to purchase.

I’ve posted about both of these meals before, but it’s been a while and I’ve made some variations, so you’re getting the refreshed, better-this-time-around versions.

BREAKFAST: Fruit, Yogurt and Granola Parfait

If you love the ones from McDonalds (for only a dollar, so admittedly, you probably can’t beat their price) you’ll love these!

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What you need (for one serving):

  • 2 packs yogurt (I use Activia, but you could also use a few scoops from a larger tub of yogurt. I’ve made this with one Activia, one vanilla Greek yogurt as well)
  • Small handful of berries
  • 1-2 tbsp granola

What you do:

  1. In a small bowl or container, pour in one packet of yogurt.
  2. Pour the second pack on top.
  3. Layer some berries on the yogurt.
  4. Sprinkle with granola.

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So simple and a great breakfast option or afternoon snack!

LUNCH: Chicken Burrito Bowl

This is one of my regular go-to’s for lunch. The ingredients are super cheap and this recipe makes enough of your burrito mixture to use for a second meal. Later this week, I’ll show you how I used my leftovers to make actual burritos (hint, you just stuff it in a tortilla.)

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What you need (for ~4 servings)

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 small can tomatoes & green chiles blend (Rotel)
  • 1 can yellow corn
  • ~1 1/2 cups pulled chicken (again, I used rotisserie)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • Several stalks cilantro
  • Optional: salsa or Mexican hot sauce for topping

What you do:

  1. Cook your rice according to the package.
  2. In a large skillet, combine the first six ingredients.
  3. On medium heat, simmer ~10-15 minutes until mixture has started to heat up.
  4. In your container, spoon out as much rice as desired.
  5. Top your mixture with some fresh cilantro.
  6. Add your optional salsa or sauce if desired.

Just stick this in the microwave for several minutes when you are ready to eat. It keeps great in the refrigerator so this is a good option to eat toward the end of your week, but I went wild and had mine on Tuesday. Keep in mind that you’ll only use about half of your chicken mixture, but be sure to save that and check back on Friday to see how you can use it for another meal!