Guest Post: Brie Prepared

Leah’s note: I’m currently enjoying the sun in Phoenix with family! Brie generously offered up a guest post to keep you entertained while I’m frolicking with cacti! Enjoy!

Hi everyone! I’m Brie and I blog over at Brie Fit. Normally, I’m not really a food blogger–for the last several months, I’ve been blogging about my experiences training for my first marathon on October 10th. But I do eat, and I tend to cook in a way that I think fits very well with the Leftovers for Lunch philosophy.

Put simply, marathon training after work every day doesn’t leave much time for cooking healthy, delicious meals during the week. Over the last few months, I’ve gravitated towards bulk cooking–in other words, making a crap ton of food on Saturday and/or Sunday that can be frozen, eaten as leftovers, and otherwise reimagined throughout the week. Here’s an example of what I did this week! On Saturday, I made homemade applesauce. This is seriously the most idiot-proof recipe I’ve ever executed. You ready? Peel a bunch of apples, chop them up (neatly or not!), and throw them in a pot with about 1/4 c. water. Cover and simmer on low until it turns into applesauce. Add cinnamon if you want, and run it through the blender if you’ve got babies (or a husband who prefers textureless food. Ahem.). I pureed about 2/3 smooth and packed it in Gladware containers for my husband to grab to throw in a lunchbox throughout the week, and left the last 1/3 chunky for my lunches. The rest went into the freezer for next week! On Sunday, I utilized two of my favorite appliances–the bread machine and the crockpot. Into the bread machine went a standard recipe for pizza dough plus some garlic powder and oregano. An hour and a half later, I had two balls of dough that could be plopped in the freezer, thawed, and turned into pizza or calzones quickly and cheaply. Friday night is pizza night at our house! Next, into the crockpot went this recipe for Special Irish Beef Stew. This will get frozen in individual Gladware containers for lunches and dinners! (To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight, and heat in the microwave. Simple.) I try to make one big crockpot recipe every weekend, like stew, or my favorite chili recipe, or salsa chicken (recipe: chicken, salsa, fat free cream cheese, black beans, corn in slow cooker) that is meant for one dinner and several lunches. Over the summer, when it was too hot for such things, my favorite recipe to fill this void was this delicious Wagon Wheel Taco Pasta Salad. Don’t forget the beer! I also roasted a chicken. Whole chickens are cheap (I got this one for $3.50!) and easy to shove into anything. I generally follow this simple recipe, and then just shred the carcass clean. (That would be my husband trying to steal a bite.) While the chicken was in the oven, I remembered how much I wanted to try these soft garlic knots I’d started in my Google Reader…so I whipped up a batch. (Mine aren’t as pretty as Annie’s, and I swore at them more than once, but they make the house smell incredible!) Then, for dinner, I followed this recipe for meatballs and this recipe for pasta alla vodka. We served it with the garlic rolls on the side. (I’m carb-loading for a marathon! I swear!) Oh, and I made a bargain with my husband: if he washed the sheets and re-made the bed, I’d make him peanut butter brownies. How could I refuse? (These will get sent to work with him!) So, to recap–here’s how things will shake down at Casa Brie Fit this week: Sunday dinner: Pasta alla Vodka with Meatballs Monday dinner: Roast chicken with microwave-baked sweet potatoes Tuesday dinner: Roast chicken quesadillas Wednesday dinner: Beef stew Thursday dinner: Homemade pizza Lunches will be composed of some mix of the following:

  • leftover pasta and meatballs
  • garlic knots
  • thawed beef stew
  • homemade applesauce
  • roast chicken in salads/wraps
  • pre-portioned pitas/carrots and hummus
  • whole fruits (bananas, apples, oranges)
  • yogurt

I should add, I normally don’t cook QUITE this much on a Sunday, but I am in taper mode for my marathon and in desperate need of distraction! On a normal weekend, I’d probably make one crockpot item, sling some pizza dough, roast a chicken (or a pork loin, or a pot roast) and call it a day. So, in sum:

  1. Use your appliances! My bread machine and crockpot are my best friends.
  2. Don’t be afraid to cook and store. You don’t have to eat everything the first day!
  3. Learn what freezes well and freeze in bulk–you won’t regret it!

…and you’ll be on your way to cooking just once a week!

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