How to Meal Prep – and Make it FUN!
Written By Chef Kenzie Osborne
Meal prep can sometimes feel like a chore – but it doesn’t have to be! Re-imagining your recipes can make meal prep FUN – while creating new, exciting, and practical foods for YOUR needs and preferences. Breaking away from the “norm” and thinking of your food in new ways can allow you to build meals that suit your needs. The bottom line? Make food work for YOU rather than working for your food.
How to Meal Prep Your Recipes in New Ways
When re-inventing recipes, I like to think of the dish in its simplest form. For example, meatloaf is really just a mixture of meat and vegetables baked in a loaf pan. From there, I challenge myself to think about what “needs” to be in the recipe and what doesn’t.
In the meatloaf example, we know that the important components are the ground meat and vegetables. So, what can change?
- Does it need to be baked in a loaf pan? No…
- Do the vegetables need to be the same as in the recipe? No…
- Does the meat need to be the same as in the recipe? No…
- Do the spices need to be the same? No….
- Can I add ingredients to the batter without changing the overall result, like adding cheese? Yes…
Meatloaf can be re-imagined into meatballs or burger patties, or with different spices (such as Italian, Mexican, Indian, etc.). You can add your own flavors AND change how it is served to make it a meal that works for YOU. Browse the examples below, and try your own at home.
Do you have an idea? Comment your re-imagined meal below, share it in our Facebook Group, or post on instagram with the hashtag #alwayshungrybook – we always love to see what you’ve been cooking!
- Meatloaf “Cupcakes”: Try baking your meatloaf in muffin tins instead of a loaf pan. Reduce the cooking time slightly, to accommodate for the smaller surface area of the muffin tins. Serve with a dollop of Mashed Fauxtatoes over the meatloaf to resemble a cupcake with icing!
- Italian-Inspired Meatloaf: Prepare your meatloaf as per the recipe directions. Replace any herbs and spices in the recipe with a mix of basil, oregano, and thyme (or your favorite Italian seasoning mix). Add a few chunks of mozzarella (about 1/4-inch cubes) into the meatloaf. Serve with your favorite homemade tomato-basil sauce.
- Half-Plant-Based Meatloaf: Increase your plant protein intake by replacing about 1/3 of your ground meat with firm tofu. Be sure to press your tofu between two sheets of paper towel to remove excess water before mixing with the ground meat. Cook as per recipe directions.
- Muffin “Skewers”: Chop muffins into 1-inch cubes. Place the muffin “cubes” on a wooden skewer along with a few pieces of fresh fruit (ie: strawberries, chopped melon, watermelon, raspberries, etc.). Serve with a side of warmed nut butter or melted chocolate as a fun dip-able treat.
- Crumble cooked muffins and toss with butter. Roast at 425°F for a few minutes, until toasted. Serve over yogurt for a fun muffin-topped parfait.
- Serve nachos/tacos as a dip rather than a single-portion taco platter. Place your favorite cooked taco-style ground meat mix at the bottom of a casserole dish. Next, place a layer of fresh salsa on top, followed by a layer of fresh (or sautéed) vegetables, refried beans (or sautéed beans), and cheese. Broil for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted. Top with fresh guacamole or avocado. Serve with vegetable crudités.
- Replace traditional nachos with a vegetable-based alternative such as: roasted beets, roasted sweet potatoes, fried green tomatoes, or Socca Crackers (Always Delicious pg. 202)
- Enjoy a taco-inspired “poutine” by serving roasted sweet potato fries with your favorite taco toppings.
- Slice a roasted sweet potato in half and scoop out most of the flesh (reserve the skin for serving). Blend the sweet potato flesh with your favorite tomato sauce and scoop back into the roasted sweet potato skin. Top with a few fresh vegetables and cheese. Broil for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted. (NOTE: For Phase 1, you can use a roasted portobello mushroom in place of the sweet potato. Blend the tomato sauce with white beans to thicken and add a slow carbohydrate)
- Try a “breakfast pizza” by using a plain frittata as your “crust”. Top with pepperoni (or another protein of your choice), fresh vegetables, and cheese. Broil for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted. Jump to Chef Kenzie’s “Red Pepper Ring Pizzas” for a fun twist on our Red Pepper Ring Omelettes (Always Delicious pg. 87)
- Serve your pizza on a waffle! Prepare our Grain-Free Waffles as per the recipe directions and top with your favorite pizza toppings. Broil for a few minutes, to melt the cheese.
- Prepare a breakfast omelette. Place the omelette on top of a whole grain tortilla wrap OR a Keto Tortilla. Roll the omelette and wrap up as if you were making a sushi roll. Slice into 1-inch slices and dip into salsa or your favorite AH/AD dressing/sauce.
- Make your breakfast wrap into a quesadilla! Instead of rolling up your breakfast wrap, fold it over your fillings and grill (or use a panini press) to warm up. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and/or your favorite AH/AD dressing/sauce of choice for dipping.
Looking for More Ideas?
Check out the following classes for more ideas to re-imagine your foods…