I know it is already Monday and this particular ship has sailed, but hoping that this can be of help as the weekend approaches. Batch-cooking is a crazy crazy world and although I’ve never been a fan of the massive amounts of work that live beneath hashtag-batchcooking, I have come to incorporate a bit of this mentality into my weekend meal prep.
I cook up largish portions of legumes and grains over the weekend and try to get ahead of veggie prep to make meal “assembly” a little faster during the week.
So on the regular, my weekend meal prep looks a lot like the list below:
- Pot of black beans
- Batch of brown rice
- Sheet-pan roasted veggies (okra, eggplant, zucchini)
- Pre-wash and chop batch of greens
- Cilantro pesto
I put Francie* to work on cooking the batches of beans (full pound of dried) and brown rice (1 cup uncooked makes about 4 cups cooked) so I can focus on the other veggies. Seasoning simply with a neutral oil, salt, and pepper makes the veggies versatile during the week and also cuts down on having to separate into different sheet pans. Have also gotten used to making a sauce of some sort to have on hand.
What you have at the end of your afternoon of prep is a solid batch of ready-made ingredients to use with your pantry during the week. This helps in a couple of ways. One, a quick meal is really just a bowl away. Two, it ends the pre-dinner paralysis that we are all familiar with, “What should I make for dinner?” Options narrowed significantly
- Rice and bean bowls (duh) with cilantro pesto and fresh cut veggies (tomatoes, cukes, avocado)
- Buddha bowl (Spinach, 1-2 ounces of grains, eggplant, okra, raw carrots, pumpkin seeds)
- Refried black beans for tacos/tostadas + roasted zucchini & jalapeños + store-bought salsa
- Greens salad with roasted eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, nuts & pesto vinaigrette
- Veggie stir-fry over brown rice or greens
- Veggie curry over brown rice or greens
- Pasta with roasted zucchini, ricotta, and walnuts
- Grains and green scramble or veggie scrambles (for dinner)
- Brown rice makes a great base for a veggie burger patty
Sunday’s pesto can turn into a spread for a wrap, a vinaigrette with addition of a little lemon juice and oil, or can be dolloped onto a buddha-bowl style lunch. Can even combine a bit of black beans, pesto, and fresh tomatoes to make a sauce for simmering eggs in.
This can get you through a whole week of dinners for two pretty easily. But if you need it to stretch for more like 14 meals (lunch and dinner) for a family of three (ahem, like me) you might run out by mid-week.
I’ll post more on how to connect this weekend prep to meal planning. It really is a great way to baby-step into a meal-planning if you’ve been overwhelmed by it all before.
* My electric pressure cooker