Meal Prep for Professionals # 2

As a busy shift worker, I am a fan of making and freezing meals in bulk, particularly when I know I have a hectic week or two of work ahead. Following on from my original Meal Prep for Professionals post, here is another collection of make-ahead ideas!


Healthy Fish and Chips – Salmon with Sweet Potato and Pretty Tahini Slaw 

Ingredients (makes 4 servings) 

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 300g dry coleslaw salad mix
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 200g spinach
  • 4 x salmon fillets, skin off

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Roughly chop the sweet potato into wedges, spray with olive oil and bake until just soft (15 minutes). Add the salmon onto the same tray and return to the oven until the salmon is baked through (12 minutes).
  2. Place the coleslaw mix, tahini, salt and mustard in the food processor and blend until finely chopped and mixed through.
  3. Serve the slaw with the spinach, salmon and sweet potato.

Broccoli, beetroot and balsamic salad 

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 1 large head broccoli
  • 200g fat-reduced feta cheese
  • 200g tin beetroot slices, drained and rinsed thoroughly (or alternatively, roast and slice 2 large beetroots yourself)
  • 200g can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 200g spinach
  • balsamic vinegar (I used Pukka Estate fig balsamic for this recipe)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Chop the broccoli into florets and bake until soft and slightly charred around the edges.
  2. To assemble the salad, place the spinach on the bottom, followed by the beetroot, broccoli, chickpeas and feta. Drizzle with balsamic and add the almonds just prior to serving to ensure they stay crunchy!

Chicken with Teriyaki Quinoa and Greens 

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 1 bunch pak choi
  • 1 bunch bok choi
  • 4 large kale leaves
  • 1 glove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup tricolour quinoa
  • 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 4 chicken breasts (skin off)
  • Nori seaweed to serve

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Place the chicken breasts on a tray, season with salt / pepper to your liking, and roast until cooked through (~ 15 minutes). Set aside.
  2. Roughly chop the vegetables and sautee in a fry pan over medium heat with a small amount of olive oil and garlic until just wilted. Set aside.
  3. Place the quinoa and 1 cup of water in a microwave proof dish and cook for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa is soft.
  4. To serve, place the vegetables on the bottom, top with the quinoa, drizzle with teriyaki sauce, then add the chicken (sliced) and top with crushed nori seaweed or bonito flakes.

Spiced Potato and Pumpkin Salad 

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 1 large potato, skin on
  • 1/4 large pumpkin
  • 300g can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly torn apart with stems removed
  • 200g feta or goat cheese
  • Moroccan style seasoning (I used Sahara by Mingle Seasoning)
  • Dukkha to serve (choose something earthy and ideally sesame / tomato based here)

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Slice the potato and pumpkin into small chunks, coat in a spray of olive oil and seasoning, and bake until soft and golden (~ 20 minutes).
  2. To assemble the salad, place the kale on the bottom, then layer the corn, pumpkin and potato on top. Add the cheese and sprinkle with the dukkha.

 

Meal Prep For Professionals

The meal preppers. We’ve all seen one. Those mystical people on Instagram who manage to make a month’s worth of meals in one go, leaving themselves organised and thus carefree to do whatever they like instead of wasting time on cooking. If you’re a fan of eating chicken, broccoli and brown rice every day for the next month, this may seem like a fantastic idea. But for many of us, this seems both daunting and tiresome.

I am one of those people who enjoys ‘meal-prep’ but within reason – I have figured out a method that works for me. I love cooking, it’s my way to unwind and de-stress after work. However, I hate the morning rush to work (which starts before 5am for me on a day shift) so if I have any chance of a healthy lunch at the hospital, I need to be prepared.

Enter the Frozen Salad. Yes you heard me correctly.

These are salads that you can easily make ahead, with little cooking, that can be customised to any dietary requirements, that freeze well and just require some reheating when ready to be consumed. Now obviously there will be no lettuce featured here, but if you replace the foliage with various vegetables that are able to be eaten heated,  then you’ll open your mind to a whole different world of salad creativity!

Constructing The Frozen Salad 

  1. Choose your base: I cook quinoa in the microwave and then mixing it with Dijon mustard and tomato paste, and I’m also a huge fan of those 2 minute brown or black rice packets from the supermarket (the Ancient Grains from Coles is particularly good). Easy!
  2. Choose your foliage: I tend to stick with spinach, rocket or kale because they withstand the freezer well and taste reasonably palatable when reheated.
  3. Choose your protein: Chickpeas, red kidney beans, lentils, black eyed beans, salmon and tofu are all firm favourites of mine here! But you could also throw in your leftover chicken or beef from the night before, whatever takes your fancy!
  4. Choose your vegetables: I know you’ve already got foliage but trust me, once you realise the many different options available, you’ll want to experiment! Roast whatever vegetables you have with some olive oil, salt and a sprinkle of herbs or seasoning of your choice and add them to the mix – think sweet potato, pumpkin, broccoli, broccolini, cauliflower, turnips and carrots. It’s also a great way to use up the vegetables that are edging slowly closer to their used by date but won’t all be eaten in time. Don’t forget your canned vegetables if you’re short on time as well, particularly corn and beetroot.
  5. Choose your miscellaneous flavoursome toppings: Cherry or semi-dried tomatoes, roasted or finely sliced raw capsicum, pickles, dukkha or a sprinkle of strong cheese all work magnificently as your finishing touches!

You will quickly get the hang of this as you discover which flavours you like (and I’ve attached a few ideas below!). When an hour of meal prep can save you a week’s worth of stale cafeteria sandwiches or deep fried junk, then why not give it a go?!


Black beans, chick peas, roasted sweet potato, leafy greens, grana padano cheese.


5 Ancient Grains mixed with mustard and tomato paste, with red kidney beans, sundried tomatoes, leafy greens and capsicum.


Panfried salmon with crunchy Asian slaw and wilted greens


Sauteed silverbeet and kale with celery, dukka and grana adano cheese (eaten with eggs on the side).


Pearly barley cooking with crushed tomatoes, with kidney beans, corn, celery and kale.


Roasted vegetables with sage and thyme, with Mayver’s Super Spread (a blended mixture of nuts and chia seeds).


Pearl barley and lentils with kale, asparagus, capsicum and tahini.