No time to cook? How about 30 minutes for 3 lunches, 3 dinners and 3 days of effortless meal prep? The formula is simple: steam 3 vegetables and cook 3 proteins then store them in the fridge and combine in different ways over the next 3 days.
The first rule of efficient cooking is "mise en place" or everything in it's place. So decide which vegetables you will use, clean them and chop them up. I used broccoli, cabbage, celery and carrots. (I know, that's 4 but celery and carrots are practically married.)
Set up a pot of water with a steamer basket and bring it to a boil. You will add the vegetables one type at a time and steam them just until tender, 3 minutes or less. I did the celery first, then broccoli, next the carrots, and finally the purple cabbage. No need to wash the pot in between. Remove the veg to a glass storage dish to cool. You've given up plastic right?
These Pyrex dishes go in the oven or microwave too for easy re-heating.
THE PROTEINS: SAUSAGES, GROUND BEEF AND SALMON FILLETS
Heat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Roast the sausage links first. This only takes 15-20 minutes. That gives you time to make the hamburger patties and keep steaming the vegetables. Divide 1 pound of grass-fed beef into 3 equal parts (there's the magic number again) for 2 hamburger patties and a third part to cook in a saucepan with a chopped onion. Add a handful of each cooked veg, some dried herbs and bone broth to make a small soup (3 servings - I had to go there... sorry).
When the sausages are done, remove them to a storage dish and place the burgers on the same baking sheet. Turn your broiler on now and broil the burgers: medium rare to medium is probably a good idea since you may pack these for lunch. Put these in a storage dish.
Change out the foil, place salmon skin side up (you can eat the skin), drizzle with olive oil salt & pepper and broil 3-5 minutes.
You should be looking at 6 containers of healthy, not-overcooked real food, something like this.
You'll notice that I also made a salad dressing and washed some red leaf lettuce while I was at it. That's just because I'm a kitchen ninja and hate waiting around doing nothing while things cook. It was a whole 30 minutes, don't forget. And there weren't any dishes to wash.
Oh, there's my retro-Dansk steamer pot posing to the left. See it? Don't be jealous. You can buy an ordinary one like this that fits into any old pot.
Ok, moving on... this post is taking a lifetime to write. I should have shot a video. With a professional film crew, no less. Where were we? Ahh. The proteins and veg are cooked. You made a quick soup. Once you wash the steamer pot and the baking sheet, you're done.
Unless you want to devote the rest of the hour to making these 3 quick additions.
1. Cook 1 cup of white rice. Make more if you like, add some to the soup. Save some for the salmon stir fry.
2. Make a salad dressing with 1 tsp dijon, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice and 1 cup olive oil in a jar with sea salt & ground pepper. Shake with all you've got.
3. Grate 1 cup smoked gouda or sharp cheddar cheese or crumble some gorgonzola. You can add this to your hamburger salad or buttered vegetables.
Here's how it plays out...
3 Packable Lunches :
1. Hamburger Salad. Added gorgonzola and half an avocado.
2. Salmon Salad. Add vinaigrette dressing and the other half of the avocado.
3. Sausage Salad. Salad greens as before with vinaigrette but this time added cut up sausage and the rest of the steamed vegetables. A dollop of hot mustard for dipping and this might be the best lunch yet.
3 Quick Dinners:
Dinner #1. Salmon Stir Fry with Rice.
Add 2 peeled garlic cloves to 1 tbsp coconut oil in a hot wok. Mine is electric and very easy to clean by just wiping it out with a rag. You can't submerge it but who wants to? If you don't have one like this, you need one. Yes, I am pushing 3 products in this post too. I admit it. Your welcome.
Back to the stir fry. I think you know this part: add cooked rice to the hot oil/garlic in the wok, then a handful of each veg and finally break up 1 of the salmon fillets and lay it on top. Cover and cook a minute or two and serve topped with scallions, sesame seeds, etc. The whole thing takes less than 10 minutes and you can set the plates and utensils up in the meantime. Multi-tasking in the kitchen is what it's all about.
Dinner #2 Roasted Sausages with Buttered Vegetables and a Salad.
Cut the sausages in half lengthwise and heat through in a pan, the microwave or the oven. (Remember those great Pyrex dishes you didn't buy yet?) Do the same for the vegetables and bathe them in pastured butter and maybe a little cheese. Toss a salad with your vinaigrette and another effortless meal.
Dinner #3 Vegetable Beef Soup
Because some nights you just want to warm something up and be done.
Here's what it looked like here at my house, in that order. But it's a free country, mix it up in any way you want. The possibilities are endless.
The concept is to invest an hour of cooking for three days of easy meal prep. What I didn't tell you is that 3 days worth of organic produce, pastured meat (pork and beef) and wild caught salmon cost me less than $35. So there's that. Not bad. By the way, there are only two of us here so adjust the quantities to fit your needs.