Everyone is busy these days. So busy, in fact, that a number of recent articles have asked people to “stop complaining about how busy you are” or proclaimed that “being busy isn’t cool” – and you guys, I agree. Except for the fact that my current attempt at balancing grad school + a job that I love + being a good wife/family member/friend has left me in tears more times than I’d like to admit. And poor Aaron has been having to subsist on frozen meals (yuck – minus these, omg) also more often than I’d like to admit. That is, until PrepDish entered (and saved) my life.
Being a dietitian definitely has its perks, one being that I get to meet a lot of really cool people. One of those people is Allison Stevens who happens to be both a chef and a dietitian (does it get much cooler than that?). She smartly packaged up her culinary (read: tastes great) and nutrition (read: figure-friendly) knowledge to create seasonal meal plans that are naturally gluten-free with an option to modify for dairy-free. But the coolest part is how each “plan” is set up – a week’s worth of meals that are prepped one day and then finished/served during the week. GENIUS. Allison let me sample a complimentary meal plan of my choice, and the hardest part was deciding which one to try! I ended up going with the February plan which included:
- Shrimp, Mushrooms & Feta in Tomato Sauce w/ Rice
- Sausage, White Bean, Potato & Chard Soup
- Chicken, Peanut Dipping Sauce, Sesame Broccoli & Rice
- Classic Turkey & Zucchini Lasagna
- Grapefruit & Avocado Salad
- Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ PB & Bananas
- Bell Pepper Slices w/ Peanut Dipping Sauce
- PB-Cocoa Oatmeal Cookies
Each plan includes four savory meals, a salad, breakfast option, snack and dessert. This time around, I didn’t prep the breakfast (I’m on a smoothie kick) or the dessert. I rarely eat dessert during the week, though Allison’s cookie recipe is packed with good nutrition. On shopping day, I took my neatly organized grocery list, which is included in the package, and went to town at my local Sprouts. P.S. Kansas City friends, I hear you’re getting one in January! Allison does a great job of re-using ingredients in multiple dishes so my bill was actually less than normal – bonus!
On Sunday, I used the handy prep sheet, organized by activity like “chop” so you’re not moving all over the place, to prep all of the dishes. Including clean-up it took me 3.5 hours in total, but I was also moving at a leisurely pace because, believe it or not, I was actually enjoying it! Allison says the prep for most plans should take around 2 hours – which is nothing when it comes to having chef and RD-created meals ready all week. It was so relieving to have lunches ready every day so I didn’t have to spend extra money (or calories) going out to eat. I even took the meals with me to night class instead of using my meal plan in the cafeteria! And Aaron? I think he benefited the most. We couldn’t even wait to eat the lasagna so I heated it right up on Sunday, and it was so delicious. Definitely my favorite dish from the plan, made lighter by only using one layer of brown rice lasagna noodles and another layer of thinly sliced zucchini. But also? THIS PEANUT SAUCE. I kid you not that the entire time I was eating my meal, I kept saying “oh my god. this is so good. Aaron don’t you think is amazing?” between mouthfuls. Luckily I had enough sauce leftover to freeze for future meals. And you guys are getting the best gift ever, because Allison is letting me post the recipe for you!
PrepDish Thai Peanut Sauce
Combine and blend in blender:
3/4c lite coconut milk
1/2c peanut butter
1” fresh ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
2t red chili paste (adjust according to desired heat)
2t lime juice (~juice of 1 lime)
1t low-sodium tamari (I used soy sauce because I had it on hand, but that is not gluten-free)
Overall, I was extremely satisfied with my PrepDish meal plan. The plans are $25 each, but it’s a worthwhile investment because 1) These aren’t just any meal plans – they are created by a chef and registered dietitian and modified for special diets 2) The time you will save during the week is mind-blowing and 3) you get to keep the plan forever. Plus, I told you that I saved money on groceries. I’m already eyeing the January and October meal plans for my next purchase. PrepDish also offers a special Thanksgiving meal plan, that I would highly recommend, even if you don’t use all the recipes. You can get $10 off by using the code thankyou.
Now I’m totally hooked on Sunday meal prep. It makes cooking so much more enjoyable, instead of scrambling to throw something together on a weeknight in between trying to hit the gym after work and studying for a quiz. I prepped the following recipes last week:
Parmesan Polenta and Spicy Sausage. I accidentally purchased fully cooked polenta, but for this recipe you need quick cooking polenta that is ground, not in a tube. I bought the most amazing sausage from a butcher in the new urban market concept in Denver, The Source.
Five Ingredient Easy White Chicken Chili. I love cooking up a big batch of soup for the week, which freezes well if you don’t eat it all.
Taco Pie. I just made this one up, because casseroles work really well in our house. Layer organic corn tortillas on the bottom of the pan, top with cooked ground beef and your choice of veggies/seasoning, then top with another layer of tortillas and cheese and bake 20 minutes.
Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf. I made this in one larger loaf pan instead, and added chopped carrots for an extra dose of veggies.
Chocolate PB Freezer Cups. I was so excited about these that my recipe only yielded 6 cups instead of 12. I don’t care much for dried fruit, so my mix-ins were sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds (you can’t taste them) and Enjoy Life chocolate chips.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post and tell me how PrepDish will make your life easier, and one random entry will win a free PrepDish 1-week meal plan of your choice! Comments must be left by 5 p.m. MT on Friday 11/22.