Meal prepping is the key to eating healthy throughout the week. Quick, simple, and versatile recipes are a necessity, and I'll show you how to transform one recipe into 3 different meals, starting with this slow cooker sesame orange chicken.
I absolutely love my current job. God is good, and He has blessed me this year in ways I can't even begin to express. I am also learning A LOT, which is great because stagnancy is not what I desire. The clients I see day in and out come to me with several food allergies/sensitivities. "I can't eat anything," they tell me with complete frustration, confusion, and exhaustion. Instead of approaching the situation as a dead end, I try to shift their minds to the road of curiosity - "what CAN I eat?" My goal is to help simplify this huge transition in their lives and to remove any barriers so that my clients will feel empowered and optimistic.
Time is one of the biggest limitations, and the thought of not being able to simply open a package and dig in brings my clients fear. In an attempt to show them that quick & easy, delicious meals are possible despite their dietary limitations and time restraints, I've decided to put on my apron and get busy in the kitchen. This way, I can also experience firsthand what it's like to remove from recipes the top most common sensitivities amongst my clients - gluten AND dairy. It's going to be quite challenging, I must say, but not impossible!
// Meal Prep from 5.8.15
One of the keys to eating healthy throughout the week is to meal prep. You know I'm a fervent believer in that. Recently, I met up with a friend who told me that she likes the idea of meal prepping and cooking a big batch of meals on the weekends. However, when she does prep in advance, she feels like she's eating the same thing throughout the week and gets bored of her food. So that's why I'm introducing:
Cook Once, Eat Thrice
GF and DF "recipes" that you can enjoy throughout the week without boredom. I say "recipes" because you don't have to follow them to a T. Rather, feel free to make it your own by adding/omitting ingredients as necessary.
The game plan:
Over the weekend or whenever you find time:
- Make slow cooker orange sesame chicken
- Roast: broccoli and sweet potatoes
- Cook rice
- Prep vegetables: Slice red bell peppers, dice red onions, slice cucumbers thinly into vertical strips, wash and dry spinach and cilantro. Store separately in airtight containers. For spinach and cilantro, here's how I like to store my greens. Of course, you can use whatever vegetables you'd like.
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup coconut aminos or tamari, if you prefer
- Juice of 1 orange about 4 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
- Wash, pat dry, then place chicken in a single layer in the slow cooker. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour over the chicken. Flip the chicken so that both sides are coated with the liquid sauce. Cook on low for 4 hours.
- Shred the chicken inside the slow cooker in order for the meat to soak up the sauce. Remove from the sauce.
- Spoon off any fat from the top of the sauce. When ready to use, transfer to a small pan and simmer over medium heat until it thickens a little bit, 10-15 minutes. If prepping in advance, transfer the sauce to a storage container and reheat when ready to enjoy. *
Asian Sesame Orange Chicken with Broccoli
Serve chicken and broccoli over a bed of rice. Spoon the sauce over the top. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and chopped green onions for extra freshness.
Mexi-Chicken Salad with Sweet Potatoes
This is a no-recipe recipe. Stir chicken, bell pepper, corn, red onion, cumin, chili powder, cilantro, avocado, and lime juice together. By all means, omit or add whatever vegetables and seasonings you'd like! Adjust the amount to your liking as well. Just make sure to taste as you go.
Chicken Avocado Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Spring rolls are something that I used to ALWAYS order at a Vietnamese restaurant. I still do, but after I found out how easy they are to make, rolling rice paper sheets stuffed with fresh ingredients has become one of our favorite ways to spend a lazy day together. I prepare the ingredients and the Hungryman rolls (check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to make the best pan-fried Vietnamese egg rolls). The finesse and nimbleness with which his huge-mongous hands work still baffles me.
As for the peanut dressing, you will never want to buy a bottled one again after you see how easy it is to make! I've shared the recipe before but thought it'd be good to reintroduce it in light of this month's Recipe Redux challenge - "what favorite kitchen staples do you now make from scratch?" This spicy peanut dressing is DEF a staple at my house. It's so versatile and adds so much flavor to everything it touches.
- 8 rice spring roll wrappers
- ½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper and cucumber
- 2 avocados sliced
- 2 cups shredded slow cooker sesame orange chicken
- 1 cup baby spinach
- cilantro optional but highly recommended
Spicy Peanut Dressing
- ⅓ cup smooth peanut butter
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce
- 1 large garlic clove pressed
- Additional water to thin out dressing
- Dip the rice paper in warm water. Don't soak it for too long - it will soften too much and will be impossible to roll up. Transfer to a damp cutting board and starting at the bottom third of the wrapper, add spinach first and then layer chicken, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cilantro. Do not overstuff your roll. Gently fold over once, tuck in edges, and continue rolling until it looks like a burrito. Serve with peanut dressing.
Hope you enjoyed this "Cook Once, Eat Thrice" edition of Meal Prep Friday. Now, I invite you to check out what other pantry staples you should try making at home!