Hi readers! In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been posting full post very consistently because I am currently away from my studio for the summer. However, I am very active on Instagram, and you can follow my shenanigans there if you must. Recently, every weekend I’ve been posting photos of my mealprep for my brother, who works the graveyard shift at the hospital as a dialysis assistant. He’s a paleo enthusiast who literally has no time to cook. He works at night time and sleeps during the day time… kind of like a vampire, I guess.
Above is one of the most recent meal preps, starting from the top:
1. Carrot, onion and sausage stir fry
2. Chicken and broccoli
3. Chorizo mushroom tomato sauce over cabbage
Here are the biggest things I’m focusing on to make this as quick, easy and convenient but as wholesome as possible:
1. Using only one type of meat for each meal
my favorites: bacon, pork belly, chicken wings, and sausages
2. Pick hardy vegetables to compliment the meat
my favorites: broccoli, celery, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, daikon radish
3. Simple seasoning/flavoring
my favorites: caramelized onion, garlic, fish sauce, sea salt, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, honey mustard
4. Stir-fry it to save time
Stir-frying is my favorite not because I’m Chinese, but because it’s the most time-saving technique when meal-prepping a bunch of different meals. You get a hot wok or large pan, and you’re able to do things in a linear matter, one after one. I also never wash my pans with soap between each dish because they’re all similar and none of them have overwhelming tastes: a good rinse under tap water is sufficient and you’re ready to cook the next set of ingredients
All of these ingredients are optimized for being able to keep their form in the fridge and/or freezer. Which brings me to my next point: If I’m making 8 meals, we’ll freeze half and leave half in the fridge. All of these meals are able to keep for at least 3 days in the fridge and longer in the freezer. Once you’ve finished all the meals in the fridge, take them down from the freezer one by one the night before to defrost in the fridge, then reheat in a pan like you would any leftovers. I don’t recommend nuking or microwaving, but in this time and age, most workplace breakrooms will only have microwaves, so you gotta do what you gotta do to at least have a hot meal. No judging here.
Here’s a mustardy chicken wing and carrot meal and a cauliflower and bacon meal. (sorry ’bout the feet)
Okay, I’m sure now you’re asking me “Well? Where are the recipes??”, instead of recipes, I’ll gonna leave you with a method… a procedure, a protocol, if you will. So that you’ll be able to take any combination of meat/veggie/seasoning and apply it to. I follow this method mindset out of necessity, because more often times than not I’ll come home and my mom will surprise me with a bunch of different veggies that was on sale at the Chinese supermarket, and I just have to make do even though I haven’t chose them myself.
Make sure you have all your ingredients ready, so defrost your meatsies, and choose your hardy veggies. What’s a hardy vegetable, you ask? Anything that’ll hold their form after heat. So… no zucchinis, cucumbers, eggplants and leafy greens… I hope you weren’t looking for salad ideas, although those could be wholesome too, but not in this post. (Imagine heating up a salad… and then re-heating up a salad. Yuck, nope. Have I sold you on hardy vegetables yet?) Onions are a soft vegetable but they’re okay here because they make only a small percentage of each final dish up, so their softness won’t be too much of an issue in the re-heating process.
2. Chop, mince, dice and slice!
For your vegetables, you’re going to want them to be in bite sizes, so around the size of your thumb. Broccoli and cauliflower should be in a forkable size so as to compliment the size of the meats. For your root veggies such as carrots, parsnips and daikon, slice them into 1/4″ inch coins. Shred your cabbage into short strips. For your meat, slice things like sausages but leave chicken wings whole. Thinly slice your onion or mince it Depending on what you’re making with it.
3. Heat your wok and/or large frying pan
My set up goes like this, one large wok on the right and one large frying pan on the left. While I caramelize onions and brown meat in the fry pan, I’m fry-steaming veggies in the wok. Fry-steaming is greasing your wok on high heat, throwing your veggies in along with a small bit of water (1/4 cup) and covering it for about 5 minutes to steam. Then uncover, toss and toss until your vegetables are done however you like, whether just done for stuff like broccoli or slightly browned for stuff like carrots.
Beef mushroom meatsauce over cabbage, japanese style coconut milk curry over cauliflower, sesame-hoisin chicken wings over broccoli.. these boxes have 1/2 cup of white rice under each for an optional higher-carb option.
4. Divide and conquer!
Sometimes you wanna give your meat and vegetables (which are still separate at this point between two pans) a whirl together before you divide them into their final homes (glass containers for me) Such is the case with something like cauliflower and bacon. After a good amount of delicious pork grease has extracted from the bacon, you’re gonna wanna toss the cauliflower in a bit of that before you call it a day. So keep the heat on medium on the wok, and toss the two together. Then, contain! Let cool completely before covering and placing in the fridge and/or freezer.
Here are some examples..
1. Cauliflower and pork belly
2. Daikon hash and ground pork
3. Garlicky chicken wings and celery
Here are some more examples..
1. Sweet and sour tomato pork chops with pan-fried potato slices
2. Curried chicken wings and cabbage
3. Balsamic flank steak mushroom and beet stir-fry with broccoli
Well, this is the end of my guide, hope it can help some of you out a bit, it’s certainly for people who already know what they like to eat (for me its simple flavoring/being able to taste the main components clearly). Go forth and experiment! Please let me know in the comments below what some of your favorite combinations are… Or tag my handle (@studiosnacks) on your post on Instagram. Good luck and enjoy!