Meal Prep Monday (on a Friday)

I’m back! Thailand was amazing, and I’m so excited to share my stories with you all! It will have to wait though until I’m a bit more settled. I started my new job this week (more on that soon!), and I’ve got an assignment due this weekend so it’s all a bit non-stop on my end at the moment.

I’ve also been adjusting to the time difference, which has actually been my biggest struggle. Thailand is 4 hours behind and so I haven’t been tired at bed time, but I’ve been waking up exhausted when my alarm goes off at 5am because it’s still 1am in my mind. To help myself get back into a normal sleep cycle, I’ve been keeping my coffee intake to just one in the morning, and having no other stimulants during the day. I’ve also been drinking lots of relaxing herbal tea at night which is helping with my sleep.

I hope that by next week, my sleep/wake cycle will be better, and my my transition back to reality will be a bit easier once I’ve settled into my new work/life routine as well!

For now though, I did want to just pop by quickly and share the meal prep I did this week. I did this all on Monday when I got back home. I took my time with it as I wanted to take it easy on myself. I’d been up at that stage for over 24 hours (Koh Samui -> Bangkok -> Sydney with a 7 hour stop over in in Bangkok) and I didn’t want to tire myself out too much more. Making sure we had some good food prepped for the week was important to me, but my overall wellbeing was more important. So this was done throughout the day, in between episodes of Scrubs and cuddles on the couch with Severus.

The first thing I made was a chicken broth. I usually make this with free range/organic chicken carcasses or bones, but I used a whole chook this time round as I wanted to use the meat as part of my meal prep. I don’t have a specific recipe either with regards to what I add with the chicken, it’s usually just what I have on hand. This beautiful pot had 2 onions, 7-8 cloves of garlic, whole peppercorns, Himalayan salt and lots of parsley. I brought it to the boil, then turned it down to a gentle simmer and let it cook for 3-4 hours, skimming off any scum that came to the surface.

Once it was ready, I removed the chicken from the pot. This was actually pretty hard to do as the chicken had cooked down really nicely (which is what makes the broth so, so good for you ­– it’s just loaded with nutrients from the chicken), which made it fall apart as I tried to take it out. I then shredded all the meat from the bones and discarded the bones. I strained the stock and let it cool before popping in the fridge, and did the same for the meat. I thought it could be used as an easy addition to lunches or dinners throughout the week, and would make a great thing to add to our usual rotation of eggs, tinned fish and legumes.

I had big plans to use that rich broth to cook up a big batch of brown basmati rice and some quinoa in for the week, but I made the mistake of enlisting Jared for the job when he got home from work. He’s usually great with it, but he did the thing of “man listening” this time when I asked him to use stock instead of water (you know that thing they do when they say yes, but you just know they weren’t listening to you)… and low and behold, he “forgot” to use the stock. Does anyone else here experience the “man listen?” Or my other favourite is the “man look” where they open a cupboard/fridge/set of drawers, take a 0.5 second glance and exclaim they can’t find something? Please tell me I’m not the only one out there that pulls their hair out over these things!

Man listening aside, we at least had a batch of rice and quinoa for the week (albeit it was sans stock – but I’m just going to have to let that go I think). Jared used 1 cup of each, rinsed well, added 2 and half cups of water and then simply popped it all the rice cooker. It’s the easiest way to do it, and our mini rice cooker cost us maybe $20 from Kmart or Big W a few years ago. It’s served us so well, I’ll never cook rice or quinoa on a stove top ever again.

As I was rifling through the fridge, I found some pumpkin and green beans that needed to be used asap so we roasted them up too. I tossed the beans in sesame oil, minced garlic and salt, and the pumpkin in olive oil, garam masala, sumac and turmeric. 

For something different, I decided to also make a spiced Indian style rice. I was inspired by the bags of raisins on my shelf, leftover from trail mix that we’d eaten all the nuts and seeds out of (oops). I sautéed diced onion and garlic in some olive oil, then added some paparika, cumin, garam masala and ground coriander to the pan for thirty seconds or so, just enough it to get nice and fragrant. I then threw in some of the rice and quinoa mix Jared cooked, along with the raisins, a tin of drained and rinsed chickpeas, a bit of the homemade chicken stock and a dash of tamari. It turned out well, I think I might keep this dish in regular rotation!

To top it all off, I also boiled some eggs for the week too! I packed the spiced rice and roasted veggies into a few containers for us to take for lunch. Jared’s also had some of the cooked chicken, mine had the eggs. The rest of the rice/quinoa mix and cooked chicken were popped in the fridge, ready to be used throughout the week!

Looking back on this week, I’m really happy I got some food prepped now despite how tired I felt. We’ve both been busy and it’s been really helpful to have some food on hand to either just grab for lunch or quickly add to our dinners.

I hope you’ve all had a great week so far, and I’ll see you all back here very soon!

Laura x

P.S Did you do any meal prep this week? If so, I’d love to hear what you made!