Siskiyou Cooks + Chefs: Meal prepping saves money, time and food

Lauri Sturdivant
Siskiyou Cooks + Chefs
Prepared chicken, broccoli and cauliflower, all ready for the next few meals.

Meal prep is how I make sure that I eat well, save money and waste less food. Meal prep takes some planning, but once the ingredients are ready it takes minutes to put them together. I set aside about 4 hours to shop and cook on the same day. I can get a week of lunches, a couple of dinners and a breakfast or two for my work. 

Lauri Sturdivant writes the Siskiyou Cooks + Chefs column for the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and Siskiyou Daily News.

Over the next few weeks, I will share with you some of my tips, plans and some of my favorite put together meals and recipes that I use for meal prep.

Some guidelines that I use to prep meals. 

Make a shopping list, but be flexible when you see what is in season and on sale at your market. Make sure to buy plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Shredded cabbage can be a slaw or stir fried.  Add fruit and nuts to boast the flavor and nutrition of a lettuce salad. Chop, shred, steam, roast and slice what you expect to eat during the week. 

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A food processor is a handy tool to shred and slice fruits and vegetables. Puree sauces include pesto’s, spice rubs and chimichurri can be made in minutes and will add a ton of flavor to your meals. 

Make a list of possible meals you and your family can make out of the prepped foods. It will help you to eat all you prepared and let everyone know the possible combinations. 

Preparing food without seasoning it allows you to be creative with each meal. Add seasonings when you put your meals together; Thai one day and Mexican the next. It is as easy as adding sauces and spices. 

Have a variety of prepped components to mix & match for meal like a pot of rice or quinoa, with steamed or roasted vegetables, with pan fried chicken thighs or baked tofu. Make a chicken sandwich with roasted vegetable salad or stir fry fresh vegetables and serve with baked tofu or fried chicken.  

Gather a variety of shapes and sizes of storage containers to store prepped foods. I use glass containers with lids, canning jars and If You Care paper snack and sandwich bags (available in most supermarkets.) With a little experience you will figure out what fits your needs and your lunch box. Label containers if that works better for your household.

Honey Mustard Dressing

This is a versatile dressing tasty on a fruit or vegetable salad.  Try some as a sauce for fish, tofu or chicken. This recipe makes ½ cup. I double it!  

Ingredients 

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp Dijon mustard 

2 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions 

Put all ingredients in a jar and shake until it is emulsified. It is ready to use right away. Refrigerate any leftovers.  

Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at TheBillPlate.com.