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The Sunday Sous Chef

Sunday, October 03, 2010

One of the most important keys to my weight loss and maintenance is making home cooked meals. I work 40-50 hours a week at a full time job, so I understand all too well the feeling of, "I'm too tired to cook. Maybe I should order a pizza".

While I learned to cook fast meals by watching Rachael Ray's "30 Minute Meals" on the Food Network, it takes me a lot longer than 30 minutes if I have to prep and chop everything on the fly. I'm just not as fast as Rachael chopping, or something!

One of the things I do to shortcut things is to do all my veggie chopping on the weekend when I have more time. I typically do my grocery shopping on a Saturday. I put on a "sous chef" apron on Sunday and chop them up.

I usually have an idea of what I want to make for a week ahead of time, but sometimes I change my mind or get an inspiration to try something on the fly. Having ingredients already prepped and ready to go makes this a snap.

Here's my veggies for the week all chopped up, put in containers and ready to go!

I have bell peppers sliced into strips and into rings. I'll use the strips for stir-fries, and the rings typically go into salads.

Romaine lettuce chopped into salad bites. The bigger leaves I reserve for lettuce wraps for my stir fry I'm making for dinner tonight.

Sliced onions are for stir fries. Diced onions are so versatile, they go into just about anything. Always handy to have ready, even if I don't have a menu planned.

Celery chopped into pieces for salads. Cut into sticks for snacking. I've reserved the celery hearts for a soup, stew or roast.

Chopped green onion. I like to have these for marinades as they give a nice mild oniony flavor without being too strong. Also great for sprinkling as a garnish, if I'm so inclined.

Carrots for either snacking or recipes. I like baby carrots because they are a great size to throw into a pot without a lot of prep work. Or ready to go for healthy snacking.

Half a cabbage head shredded for spring rolls. The rest of the cabbage may be steamed for wraps.

Brussel sprouts. I may sound weird, but I love brussel sprouts! There is an 'Iron Chef' challenge on the Culinary Artists Sparkteam this week for brussel sprouts as well, so these may come into play with some inspiration.

Everything is sealed and ready to go in the fridge!

If this looks like a lot, it is. We eat a ton of veg at my house though. I eat a salad for lunch and dinner, so there's at minimum 10 salad portions, just for me. I eat big salads, not puny 'side' salads. The fiance usually eats a salad for dinner, so there's an additional 5 veg servings.

If there's any leftover veg at the end of the week, it will get thrown into a pot either to make a stock/broth, or a soup/stew. Nothing will go to waste, promise.

The veggies are done, now the fruit is prepped. Cubed watermelon, diced fresh pineapple, grapes, bananas, oranges and limes. Not pictured here are frozen blueberries I like to put in my yogurt and cereal in the morning for breakfast. I prefer the frozen kind because I can buy a big bag, and just use small quantities when I want them.

My limes and orange "tree". I like having a lot of limes on hand for flavoring my water. I also use them for marinades and other flavorings. Oranges are eaten as a snack, or used as marinade flavoring as well.

This took about half my Sunday to get done, but I don't mind. I had plenty of goof off time. I actually look forward to the Sunday chopping. I find it a great time to be alone with my thoughts. I listen to music, or just reflect in silence. Making all this ahead of time will save me the hassle during the week, where it's too easy to say, "I'm too tired to cook". All I have to do now is throw stuff in a pan and go. That's time well spent, in my book.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This is just amazing! I had asked the team earlier for ideas on getting meals ready or meal planning...you have just topped even what I expected from you lady! So impressive! I'm going to have to try this to some degree now that I am starting to feel better. We have kitchens the sizes of broom closets here and dorm sized fridges but I can still do a couple of days worth I bet...Thanks for the great idea!
    3795 days ago
    This is a great idea!
    3796 days ago
    SCHENPOSSIBLE: I agree! I try to eliminate the excuses for the things I should be doing. Exercising, eating at home, etc. Speaking of which, I better get my butt to the gym tonight! ;)

    COCACOLACUTIE: If you're short on space in the fridge, you can use bags like KYEM2007 commented below. I prefer reusable containers because we don't have recycling in my area.
    3797 days ago
    That is phenomenal! I would like to do something like this. I have to figure out a way to organize my fridge to accommodate that!
    3797 days ago
    This is such a great idea. I bow down to your organization and veggie consumption. Good for YOU!!!
    3797 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6096849
    my boyfriend and I both have depending jobs. Usually I get my workouts done in the mornings and dedicate my evenings to preparing dinner. Twice a week my boyfriend cooks since I go to the gym in the evenings on those days. Prepping and chopping sounds like a wonderful idea because there really isn't any excuse not to prepare dinner at home when most of the grunt work is done already. Great thinking!
    3798 days ago
    wow, my husband and I really need to up our veggie consumption. There is NO WAY we're eating that much produce in a week - and we should. Salads for dinner need to start happening more often! I showed your blog to him (thank for putting pictures and being so specific about what each item was destined to be!) and he was floored! Thanks for posting this!!!
    3798 days ago
    Wow!!!! What a great idea!
    3798 days ago
  • KYEM2007
    This is an awesome idea!!!! I do the same thing, but put all my chopped veggies into bags. Keep up the good work!!
    3798 days ago
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