You probably hear about food prepping everywhere, but it’s all so overwhelming because you don’t really know what it is or how to do it?
Here is a quick guide for you to help understand why organizing your pantry, fridge and meal schedule truly is a magic tool to make your life easier.
Even after a super crazy day, eating a cozy homemade dinner will help you relax, get grounded and will provide you and your baby with essential nutrients.
I promise it will make you feel like you got this whole life/pregnancy thing together!
What to buy?
Find my winter/spring grocery/farmers market guide here.
Food prep 101
The easiest way to keep your kitchen in order and make quick, versatile dishes is to prep your food as soon as you get home from the market or grocery store. In the next 7 days I’ll teach you how to prepare all kinds of food groups to have it handy throughout the week. For storage, I use jars and glass containers to avoid exposure to toxic material such as BPA. For greens, I use ziploc bags because I found that if I can seal it airtight they last longer. I wash and reuse these bags in between. Proteins
Day 2- Proteins
You can cook eggs (soft and hard) a few days ahead to be used for breakfast, salads and toppings.
Soft boiled eggs: bring water to boil, add up to 5 eggs. Set your timer for 6 minutes. When eggs are done run them under cold water and peel them right away. This way they stop cooking further and will stay runny.
Hard boiled eggs: bring water to boil, add up to 7-10 eggs. Set your timer for 10 minutes. When eggs are done, drain and add cold water to the pot. Let them cool for a few minutes then peel them or refrigerate them with the shell intact.
Make a frittata! It’s freezer friendly and super versatile. You can add meat, cheese, veggies, herbs and spices to it.
Bake it in muffin tin to make individual portions or use a cast iron pan and slice the frittata into pieces before freezing it.
Place frozen frittata onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake it for 15-20 minutes on 350 F.
Roast chicken, chicken soup are all great ways to make chicken and have yummy leftovers for days.
For roasting use a whole chicken, chicken legs or bone in skin on breast. For soup you can use any parts.
Chicken breast is best if sliced, cubed and marinated to be quickly seared in a pan right before eating. Marinades are awesome to tenderize the meat and let it soak up the flavors. Marinated meat can be frigerated for up to 3-4 days.
Basic marinade rules! You need:
Acid- it breaks down proteins in meat to make it more tender and let other flavors penetrate. Use lime, lemon, other citrus or vinegar.
Salt- don’t be shy, make a marinade that is very intensely in flavored to make sure some of that will get inside the meat.
Flavors- use your favorite chopped or dried herbs, crushed peppers, mustard, add spice such as grated ginger, garlic, lemongrass, or chilis to make it hot.
Good marinade combos: salt-pepper-lemon juice-garlic, chili-lime, mediterranean (oregano- basil or rosemary- lemon, garlic, olive oil), indian (ginger, turmeric, garlic, curry powder or garam masala), dijon mustard- black pepper, asian (soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, brown sugar, chili), lemongrass-lime- cilantro.
-whole roast chicken, roasted chicken legs, roasted chicken breast & Caesar salad-
Beef and other red meats
They can also be sliced or cut into smaller pieces and marinated.
The ground version can be used as meatballs, burger or meatloaf. If you don't want to cook these you can mix, shape and refrigerate them for up to 3 days before cooking.
-steak cuts, plums & pork chop, sautéed beef liver-
Fish is more sensitive than other meats and it doesn't require as much prep as other meats.
If you're not sure when you will eat it I recommend buying fresh fish instead of previously frozen. This way you can use it or freeze it yourself.
If possible, buy wild and fresh fish and cook it right away or next day.
Fish can be marinated but only for about 15-20 depending on the thickness of the fillet. If it's left in the marinade for too long the proteins might break down and the filet will fall apart or become rubbery, while cooking.
Whole fish can be seasoned and kept in the fridge wrapped tightly for a day or two before cooking.
If frozen, thaw fish in the fridge overnight or keep it out on the counter in a bowl. It will thaw in a few hours.
I like the asian, dijon, chili-lime, or mustard marinade on salmon. The rest of the fish I only season with salt, pepper, lemon or lime and maybe chilis. The simpler the better.
Salmon can be poached and its ah-ma-zing. Use a well seasoned poaching liquid and simmer the fish in it until the middle reaches 145 F.
Great poaching flavors: honey- mustard, asian marinade, or smoky spices. Let it cool in the liquid before draining and refrigerating it for up to 4 days. Use it as canned fish: salad topping, salmon salad and in sandwiches or bowls.
-roasted salmon & chimichurri, chili-lime shrimp, poached salmon & egg sandwich-
Every week I prep some kind of legume to be used in salads, soups, stews, bowls, taco, burrito, bean spread, hummus etc.
ALWAYS soak your beans and chickpeas!!! These amazing “seeds” are very protected by their shells and certain phytochemicals from sprouting and growing a new plant when it's not the right time and place (aka in the bag in your cupboard). They also contain high amounts of oligosaccharides (complex carbohydrates) that many people find hard to digest. Therefore it's best to soak them to get rid of these phytochemicals and break down the outer shells that are very hard to digest.
Soak beans and chickpeas overnight in a bowl of water with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar and a piece of seaweed (a palm-size kombu, it helps eliminate the chemicals mentioned above). Add 3-4 times more water because they will expand. No need to cover it.
Next day drain the soaking water, keep the kombu piece and cook the legumes in fresh water according to the cooking instructions using an instant pot or a large pot. To the cooking water add salt, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, the piece of kombu used while soaking and a tablespoon of fat (ghee, butter, olive oil).
When the beans are done, drain and refrigerate them in containers up to 7-10 days.
At this stage they can also be freezed in tuppovers or bags.
Note: lentils and split peas don't have to be soaked. Canned legumes are also excellent, just make sure the can lining is BPA free and there are no additives or too much salt in them.
-hummus, cooked giant beans, black bean tacos-
Soy is a great plant protein if it's eaten in moderation. Aim to buy only non-gmo, fermented soy products and eat edamame in small amounts. Fermentation will make soy beans easier to digest. Fermented soy products: tempeh, miso, natto and a good quality tofu should also be fermented.
I use tempeh and miso more often than others.
Slice or crumble tempeh and marinate it in any of the above mentioned sauces for a minimum of 15 minutes or overnight. Pan fry it until it turns nice golden brown.
Miso adds umami flavor to everything. It can be used in soups, marinades or in salad dressings.
-indian feast: tofu tikka masala, dal makhani, tamarind rice & carrot halva-
Love & melons,