Asian Beef & Rice Bowl with meal prep tips!
Last year I did a live cooking class series called “Beat the Clock Dinners”, where I taught participants get inspired with simplified suppers for rushed evening mealtime solutions! There are so many things you can do to prep your ingredients for cooking your meals in minutes. But you have to have a plan.
This is me doing a cooking demo.
Before I get into the recipe itself, I am going to talk a little bit about how you can “Beat the Clock” when it comes to getting dinner on the table.
I live in a small town in southern Manitoba called Niverville. Many families leave early in the morning to go to work in the city (Winnipeg), and don’t get home until supper-time, but then also have a ton of activities planned in the evening.
If your meals are suffering you have two options:
- Cut back on evening activities (Which I know some people are not willing to do)
- Get organized and do some meal prep and meal planning
Not much choice eh? Looks like meal planning is the way to go!
Here are some tips that can really simplify the meal planning process for you:
Create a Meal plan: Have an idea of what you are going to be cooking in advance:
- If you are having a hard time coming up with meal ideas for you and your family try planning around a theme.
- Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesdays, Pizza Friday
- Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Italian
- Chicken, seafood, beef, pork, vegetarian
- Soup night, slow cooker, pasta night, pizza night
- If you are short on time during the week, then you have to do a lot of the prep. on the weekend. Aim to have 50-80% of the meals prepped before the weekday starts.
How to do the prep:
- Prep food as soon as you get back from the store.
- Wash and dry lettuce.
- Chop onions (freeze them)
- Chop and dice vegetables…even roast vegetables so they are ready to eat.
- Shred zucchini for quick stir-fries
- Stack up glass containers of prepped ingredients in the refrigerator.
- Go beyond the food prep –> Cook components of your meals
- Cook up food that takes a long time, and then hold in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick reheat during the week.
- For example:
- Cook up ground turkey on the stove, while roasting a few chicken breasts and pork loin in the oven
- Cook up your whole grain pasta and brown rice, and store in the fridge
- Note: Cooked meat can stay in the fridge for 3-4 days. It is best to lay it flat in a freezer bag, and keep in the freezer until ready to use.
3. Be strategic about freezing. Freeze foods that take a long time to cook:
- Did you know you can freeze rice, pasta, and grains, cooked beans? I never cook just enough for a meal. I always cook more than I need and then store the extra in the freezer for a quick meal on a busy night
- Freeze cooked chicken, and ground beef or turkey.
You can season your meat before you freeze it, or leave it plain. Make sure to label what you decide before freezing it. It’s hard to tell if it is taco meat once you put it in the freezer 🙂
- If you’re making a stew, soup, chili, lasagna or other casserole, double the recipe and freeze the extras for another day. Don’t forget to label and date it to avoid ‘mystery freezer food’!
4. Use some convenience foods to your advantage:
Not all convenience foods are unhealthy. There are actually quite a few that I like to use that save me a ton of time. I’ve never been able to cook beans from scratch and have them turn out, so I usually just buy canned beans and rinse them. I purchase canned chickpeas, black beans and lentils which saves me a ton of time because they are virtually ready to go.
I love frozen vegetables. I find the I do a lot of frozen vegetables in the winter months when our fresh veggies don’t always look or taste that good. I must be spoiled with my garden vegetables!
I usually buy cheese on sale, then grate it and freeze it myself. I will buy pre-shredded cheese, and use it in a pinch.
- Canned beans – For quick quesadillas
- Frozen veggies – no peeling or washing. I use a veggie steamer to cook them.
- Grated cheese
- Canned tuna
So basically, think of ways that you can break down a recipe to do most of the prep. at a convenient time, and simplify the cooking process by utilizing prepped food stored in the fridge and freezer.
Easy enough right? Well try my recipe below and let me know what you think!
Hope you enjoy!
Served with 1/2 cup -1 cup cooked brown rice
Calories: 430 calories, 14 g fat, 800mg sodium, 6og carbs, 5g fibre, 9g sugar, 33g protein (using 1 cup rice)