Your Guide for Meal Prepping Lunch
Words Heather Ramsdell
Weekday lunches have to be filling to get you through the rest of the day and easy to transport or put together if you’re not eating it at home.
With the start of the New Year, we’re embracing meal prep with our Weekday Meal Prep Guide. We want to use the weekend to prep everything (breakfast & lunch) so it’s smooth sailing with healthy options waiting in the fridge for us. Each of the components is adaptable, so after four weeks, by the time you’re bored, the habit of planning and prepping may have already taken root! At that point, expand, play, and adapt. Head here for 5 Weekday Breakfasts to Meal Prep
Poaching is an easy way to get tasty results. Here we use the same ingredients for poaching chicken, salmon and shrimp. Gently poached chicken breasts are mild and sweet tasting, juicy and tender. They make some of the nicest chicken salad around, but you can shred them for chicken tacos, slice or chop for salad, or even toss into a stir-fry.
Poaching salmon is easy and requires very little cleanup. The result is tender and mild.
Shrimp takes just a minute in the poaching liquid and yields great results for any salad or grain bowl.
Poached Chicken, Shrimp or Salmon
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 ½ lbs), 1 ½ lbs salmon filet, pin bones removed, skin off or 1 pound large shrimp
¼ tsp peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 crushed garlic clove
Handful of celery leaves
Lemon rind, optional
1 ½ tsp salt
- Put a silicone steamer into a medium pot and nestle the chicken, salmon domed-side-up or shrimp on the sling. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic clove, celery, and two five-finger pinches of salt. Add water to cover the chicken by about half an inch.
- Add the peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic clove, celery, and two five-finger pinches of salt. Add water to cover the protein by about half an inch.
- Bring the water just to a boil over high heat. Turn it down to a simmer so the bubbles slow down but the water will still move.
- For chicken: Cover and simmer until the center of the chicken breasts reach 160 degrees when a thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 15 minutes.
- For salmon: Simmer until the salmon is firm to the touch and just cooked through to the center of the thickest part, about 5 minutes, or about 130 degrees on a digital thermometer.
- For shrimp: Simmer until the shrimp turn pink and curl and are just cooked through to the center of their thickest part about 1 minute. Pull the shrimp from the water and lower the steamer into the ice water to stop the cooking.
- Transfer all proteins to a sealable container and store refrigerated until ready to eat.
Black Pepper Dill Yogurt DressingMakes 1 cup:
1 cup greek yogurt
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons fresh dill finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice and zest from half lemon
- Put all ingredients into a dressing shaker. Shake vigorously until all ingredients are smooth and combined. Divide into 5 small containers. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Shake before use.
This quinoa is ready to eat. Bring it as a salad, make it into the bed for a veggie bowl or stir fry. Optional flavorings such as a pinch of curry, smashed garlic clove, ginger slices, red chili flakes, olive oil, or a parmesan rind can bring interest and fun to this simple and nutritious dish.
Big Batch QuinoaMakes 4 cups:
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Rinse the quinoa in water. Bring 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium pot to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the grains plump and cook through and the white thread becomes visible around each grain, 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork, replace the lid and let rest another 5 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
4 Soups-in-OneMakes 4 quarts soup:
8 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions very finely minced
2 cloves garlic minced
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until they are soft and just turning golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, continue to stir, cooking until the garlic is fragrant, another minute. Remove from the heat and divide into four equal portions.
for the Butternut Squash Soup
- 3 cups cubed butternut, steamed until soft
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- Toasted pepitas, aka pumpkin seeds, for garnish
Put 2 cups of the stock, ¼ of the cooked onions, butternut, and curry powder into a blender. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. To serve, heat the soup and garnish with toasted pepitas
for the Beet Dill Soup
- 3 medium cooked beets with skins
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped dill, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Generous grindings black pepper
- Sour cream for garnish
Put ½ cup of stock, the beets, dill, vinegar, and black pepper pepper into a food processor and pulse to chop beets into uneven pieces no larger than peas. They should still have some texture. Transfer to a container with 1 1/2 cups of the broth and ¼ of the onions. Taste and season with salt. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. To serve, heat the soup or serve chilled, garnished with a dollop of sour cream and sprig of dill.
for the Black Bean Soup
- 3 cups drained cooked black beans
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro stems
- Juice from ½ lime
- Cilantro, jalapeno slices and yogurt, for garnish
Pulse some of the beans in a food processor to break them, up and release their starch. Add the rest of the beans, chili powder, cilantro, and lime juice to the food processor with the broth and the onions. Pulse to combine. Taste and season with salt. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. To serve heat in a medium saucepan over high heat until steaming, and add cilantro leaves, jalapeno and a dollop of yogurt for garnish.
for the Tomato Soup
- 1 15.5 ounce can tomatoes
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- Croutons for serving
Put 2 cups of the stock, the tomatoes, parmesan, and olive oil with the onions into a food processor. Pulse to puree. Transfer to a container. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. To serve, heat in a medium saucepan over high heat until steaming, top with croutons.
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