Food You Can Eat: Meal Prep Edition

I promised Elliecoo that I would try to make the vegan version of this chocolate strudel roll. So instead, I prepared a couple of instant pot recipes I had previously shared with them.

Let’s pretend that was the plan all along, shall we…

I have two instant pots that I put next to each other so I can prepare the same meal twice at once. I try to do everything while the instant pots are pressure cooking to save time, but in order to write this post, I had to go a bit out of order (or in order?) so it would come across in some kind of order for you.

Tomato and cucumber salad:

Olive oil is the key to pretty much everything – but that’s a whole other entirely different post. For this salad, which is delicious, I just chop tomato, thinly sliced cucumber, slice some Bermuda onion, celery, garlic, throw in some basil, a lot of olive oil and a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar and a tinier bit of white wine vinegar. The sizes and portions are up to your own taste. Add salt to taste (never under-salt a salad) and grind some black pepper. Put them in meal-sized containers and they will last up to five days sealed in the fridge.

This is where I should mention that I have a lot of identical meal-sized containers for doing this and the recipes feel like way less of a chore because I already have everything I need other than fresh ingredients (including frozen goods ie. cooked beans/vegetables, etc.):

One more note before we get started…I use the meal-sized containers to put the ingredients in so there is almost zero dishes to do at the end. I also put all of the ingredients that go into the pot at the same time in one container. The recipes will be be listed at the bottom of this post.

First up, Vegan Chili. This doesn’t have to be vegan, you can make this with the same amount of beef as veggie ground:

Prepared ingredients for vegan chili
I suck at taking pictures so I swear this looks better in person-finished vegan chili
Vegan chili in meal-size containers

Next up, Lentil/Spinach soup:

prepared ingredients for lentil/spinach soup
Again with the picture thing…this looks better in person-finished lentil/spinach soup
Lentil/spinach soup in meal-size containers

The soup goes really well with rice:

Rice ready to rock while you do the almost zero dishes
4 minutes later when you’re done the almost zero dishes-rice in meal-size containers

Finally, we have fruit cups. Frozen food is always cheaper (keep that in mind when you use your instant pot/pressure cooker because in some instances the fresh vs. frozen means NOTHING to your instant pot!). I get big freezer bags of fruit at the grocery store for $11 CAD which end up being about 50 fruit cups each. For the berries, I put a bit of maple syrup in the cups before I put them in the freezer and when I eat the fruit cups, I eat them like cereal with almond or cashew milk:

…and after less than two hours, I have 16 complete meals (-10 salads because they only last, as I said, up to five days-I think?) in my freezer:

Ok so I wasn’t finished putting everything in when I took this picture

All that is left to do is take whatever meal, whatever rice and whatever fruit cup you want the next day and put it all in the fridge with the salad and your meal will be thawed and ready to heat up the next day (or if you forget, then they can be warmed up from frozen as well)…just be sure to put a little bit of water in the rice bowl when you heat it up:

A complete meal

I did all of this in under two hours so, if I were to plan an entire afternoon, I’d have more recipes done and more variety for choices when selecting meals. One could also do the same thing with different recipes another day or the following week and have several different meals in the freezer to choose from…it’s frozen…it lasts a long time.

Recipes:

Chili:

1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 package veggie ground beef (170 grams)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 to 2 teaspoons chili spice (blend of cumin, chili powder, oregano, turmeric and/or whatever else)
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 can kidney beans
1/2 can black beans

Add the onion to the pressure cooker with olive oil and set to saute. Saute for one.
Add the garlic and saute one more minute.
Add the veggie ground and chili powder and chili spice and stir well.
Turn off saute and add the broth/water. Add the beans.
Lock the lid and set the pot to pressure cook for 3 minutes.
You can let it do a natural release or do a quick release. Either way the dish is fully cooked.
I like to cut 2 or 3 tomatoes to add when finished. Squirt some lime and eat with fresh avocado and add salt to taste.

Lentil and spinach soup:

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 medium yellow diced onion (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium stalk celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry brown lentils, rinsed well in cold water
4 cups vegetable broth
6 cups spinach

Press saute and add the olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery. Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
Add the lentils and pour in the broth. Stir.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the release valve is in the sealed position. Pressure cook for 12 minutes.
Quick release when finished.
Stir in the spinach. Add additional salt/spice to taste.
Keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 days and freezes well.

avataravataravataravataravataravataravatar
About myopicprophet 135 Articles
Kinja refugee. Rants often. Right sometimes.

14 Comments

  1. That looks amazing, great first Food You Can Eat post. The lentil soup is now added to the grocery list. Your photos are good. I have issues with taking attractive food photos as well. Many years ago, I was involved with a TV shoot for a restaurant. I sort of rolled my eyes at the added expense of a professional food stylist, but after a few of these posts, I get it now. Your freezer is so organized. At our house we count it as a win when nothing falls out and breaks a toe.

    • …I know someone who was involved in making a recipe book a long time ago…things might work differently but they were always quick to say you ought not to expect things to turn out like the pictures

      …to hear them tell it a picture of cereal in milk was as likely to be swimming in PVA adhesive or something as it was milk…more in fact since they’d go soggy too quick in milk…& a lot of the baked stuff & even roasts & things were half-cooked &/or sprayed with shiny but inedible things like varnish

      …maybe the rules have changed now that a bunch of society thinks taking a picture of their food is a necessary first step on the way to eating it, though?

      • I’ve invented colours for such things…none of the food is actually food in food images for example, a hamburger. The patty might be real, but nothing else is. I invented a yellow for the type of adhesive thing you mentioned as mustard with which a cake decorator type person squeezed it along the side of the fake burger to make it all look perfect as though it was mustard throughout the entire burger.

        I was more shocked by the lighting and everything that goes on in those shoots when I was invited to one. It’s pretty crazy, but I’d assume it is mostly digital these days?

      • OK – that made me LOL. Ages ago, I read book (can’t remember much about it or the premise) but the ending stuck with me. Time travel was involved, and the hero bought a ream of printer paper and stored it in a locker pre-paid for a 100 years. Because all that paper turned her into a billionaire 100 years hence.

  2. Next time I go to the store I’m getting the stuff to make this salad, and the chili. I eat salad every day for lunch but it’s mostly spring mix with a bit of cheese. It’s boring and probably not very nutritious. It’s a great idea to do the mise en place in the meal containers. That never occurred to me. I love fruit salad but it takes forever to cut everything up, I haven’t used frozen fruit before, but as I said, I am trying to use more shortcuts. I’ll be adding to the grocery list too. Thanks myo, I’ll let you know how it all works out.

  3. Thanks Myo, these look good & will definitely try the lentil soup. My daughter is a pescatarian so I usually end up making 2 different chilis at the same time, I make a turkey chili for us and use vegetarian chorizo in hers. She likes it more than the veggie ground beef. Give it a go in your chili if you want to ramp up the spice a bit more if you haven’t tried it.

  4. Myo, my friend, are we somehow long-lost twinsies?

    Because *you* are the only other former Kinjateer I know, who has 1. Nearly as many spices & herbs as I do, and 2. Who is as anal-retentive as I am, about clear jars, with black lids, labelled *on top* for easy perusing😉🤗😁🤣

    OBVIOUSLY, I *love* your spice set-up😍, and I’m mildly jealous of your *double* insta-pot situation, too (SMART!, and Congratulations!)😉

    The soup & chili look hearty & delicious, and i’m probably gonna steal that mise/prep technique, because it’s a BRILLIANT idea.

    One recommendation, for folks who happen to live near a discount grocery store–if you happen to have the luxury of living near a grocery store which has a license to sell close-dated/closeout items, things like fresh berries & other fruits can often be had for $1.00(US) or less a package.

    You DO need to be able to sort & wash those fruits & veggies and/or refrigerate them immediately/within a day! But if you *can* do that, you can freeze them after washing, by draining & spacing them out on waxed/parchment paper.

    Once they freeze/partially freeze, it’s SUPER easy to toss them into a ziplock freezer bag, and freeze the next batch on that same paper.

    Just label the ziplock with your freeze date, to ensure the ability to rotate one’s stash, and you can throw your fruit into anything you want–or eat it like Myo’s suggestion😉😃

Leave a Reply