Breakfast BONUS: Cinnamon Raisin French Toast – 4/2

Recipe: Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Crunch

I typically drink a protein shake or have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast but sometimes, I want a “real” breakfast. Give me French toast, give me eggs, give me bacon!

That was this weekend so while I was at the grocery, I texted Kelly and she was in. So at the end of our food prep session, she and I whipped up this little square of heaven in a casserole dish!

We made the full recipe and split it between two smaller pans so we could each have some but not overindulge.

I followed the recipe exactly, except I needed an extra piece or two of bread to fill both pans and an extra apple.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight so the cinnamon fairies can work their magic. Then enjoy your first cup of coffee or tea while it bakes in the morning. It also makes your kitchen smell so good!

Cinnamon French Toast Crunch

Cinnamon French Toast Crunch

Food Prep Menu – March 26, 2014

Menu:

Monday – Cheeseburger Casserole
Tuesday – Turkey Bean Chili
Wednesday – Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Thursday – Chicken Sausage Apple Farro
Friday – Sante Fe Pizza

Grocery Shopping list for this menu.

It’s still winter here is central Ohio so I’m still craving comfort foods, hence this week’s menu includes a casserole and chili.

To start off, let’s get chopping. We don’t have a lot of chopping this week. Dice the onions and apples, half the cherry tomatoes and mince the garlic. Also cut your chicken sausage into slices. While you are chopping, you can put some water on to boil for your rotini. It can cook while you are chopping.

Now drizzle EVOO in your soup pot and add 1.5 cups of onions. Once those are soft (about 5 minutes), add your clove of garlic for about 30 seconds. Then add two pounds of ground turkey (or beef). This will be for your casserole and your chili. Double the cooking in half the time!

Cheeseburger Casserole

Cheeseburger Casserole

Once the turkey is cooked through, remove half of it and set it in a bowl for the chili lined with paper towels to drain the grease. Then add salt, pepper, tomato paste, tomatoes and mustard to the soup pot and mix it all together. Add in your cooked rotini and pour it in a greased or foil covered 9×13 pan (I’m a big fan of foil lined pans because it’s a lot less clean up later!). Top with cheese, then cover with foil and write the directions right on the foil – “Bake @ 350, 15 minutes, sprinkle with the chopped pickles.” Then put it in the refrigerator. ** I would recommend eating this in the next 2-3 days because of the turkey.

In the pot you used to boil water for rotini, add new water and your farro. While that is cooking for 15 minutes, get a freezer bag. Add the ground turkey, two cans of kidney beans (drained and rinsed), two cans of diced tomatoes, two cans of tomato sauce, brown sugar, and chili mix.

Chili Prep

Chili Prep

Click here for a recipe to make your own chili mix … super inexpensive, super easy and you probably already have all of the ingredients. Seal your bag, mix it around and put it right in the freezer. No need to precook this since all you will be doing is heating it up anyway. Why do that twice? You will already warm it up when you are ready to eat it.

Homemade Chili Seasoning

Homemade Chili Seasoning

While your farro finishes cooking, brown your chicken sausage in a skillet. Once browned on both sides, transfer to a large storage container. Then add EVOO to the pan and sauté your onions, garlic and apples for about five minutes. Then add it to the sausage. When the farro is finished, drain it and add it too. Mix it all up and put it in the refrigerator. ** I would recommend eating this in the next 2-3 days because of the chicken sausage.

Apple Onion Cooking

sauté your onions, garlic and apples

Chicken Apple Sausage Farro

Chicken Apple Sausage Farro

Now let’s start on our pizza dough since it has to sit and rise. Follow the directions exactly as written in the recipe. While the dough is rising for 40 minutes, mix your tomatoes, black beans and corn, then put it in a storage container in the refrigerator.

Next cut your chicken into small bite-sized pieces and set aside. In a storage bag, combine cornstarch, flour, cayenne, garlic powder and pepper. Pour chicken in the bag and shake to coat the chicken. Heat oil in a large skillet and cook chicken (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and put in a storage container. Toss with buffalo wing sauce and put it in the refrigerator. ** I would recommend eating this in the next 2-3 days because of the chicken. BONUS: If you have chicken leftover after dinner, it is delicious on a lunch salad with black beans, corn and avocado, which you may have leftover from your Santa Fe pizza prep.

By now your pizza dough should have risen, simply wrap it in Press & Seal and put in the refrigerator. You will roll it out when you are ready to make your pizza later in the week.

And you are finished. Enjoy!

Breakfast BONUS: Crunchy Granola

I love granola. The sweetness. The crunchiness. And you can chock it full of good things like flax seeds, chia seeds and nuts.

It’s so easy to make and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry. It’s also much less expensive and healthier than buying it at the store.

I pair it with yogurt for a quick breakfast or a mid-morning or afternoon snack. It’s also quite tasty on top of ice cream if you want to splurge.

Speaking of yogurt, my newest obsession is Brown Cow Farm Cream on Top Maple Yogurt. DELICIOUS! And if you go to their website and enter your email, they will give you lots of great coupons.

Enjoy!

Crunchy Granola

Crunchy Granola

Ingredients:
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or almond slices
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbs. flavorless oil, such as vegetable or canola
1 Tb. water
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 275 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch metal pan with cooking spray, then set aside.

2. Mix oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, flax-seed, salt

3. Bring syrup, oil, water, vanilla and cinnamon to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat.

4. Drizzle over oat mixture, and stir to combine. Pour mixture onto prepared pan.

5. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir in dried fruit. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer.

6. Let cool. Store in an air tight container.

Granola Yogurt Bowl

Granola Yogurt Bowl

Food Prep to eat healthy and quickly all week!

Menu:
chicken piccata
spicy chicken tortilla soup
quinoa burrito bowls
buffalo chicken chili
mini apple rosemary turkey meatloaves

Grocery Shopping list for this menu.

It’s freezing in central Ohio and there is more than a foot of snow on the ground, so I’ve been turning to my comfort foods and hearty chili and soups a lot lately. They are also great recipes to double and freeze half for later — double the food, half the time is a big bonus in my book! 

This week includes homework. Before you start prepping food, you need to pre-cook 6 chicken breasts in the crockpot with:
  • 32oz chicken broth/stock
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 t onion powder

Once cooked, shred two pieces and set aside for the quinoa burrito bowls and save the remainder of the chicken and broth for prep day. I usually do this in the morning before church then prep in the afternoon.

We are starting food prep with lots of chopping this week. Almost all of our recipes call for onions and garlic, as well as apples, carrots and celery, so start by chopping all of these and put them in bowls by recipe, ie. put the carrots, celery, onion and garlic for the Buffalo Chicken Chili in one bowl and the onions and apples for the turkey meatloaves in another.
Food preparation

Chopped Vegetables

Now that all of that is done, drizzle EVOO in your soup pot and add ground chicken. Once that is cooked, add in your bowl of chopped veggies, bay leaf, paprika, salt and pepper and cook 7-8 minutes until soft. Next add your chicken stock and tomatoes. Cook for another 8-10 minutes.

While the chili is finishing up, line your muffin pans with foil cups. Then get a large mixing bowl and mix together all of the ingredients for your mini turkey meatloaves. Fill each muffin up, then cover with foil and write the directions on the foil with a marker — 425 for 20-25 minutes.

Mini Turkey Meatloaf Prep

Now your chili should be done. Take it off the heat and pour in large freezer bags. Depending on the size of your family and when you want to eat it, you can freeze half and put the other half in the refrigerator after it’s cooled. Wash your soup pan.
Buffalo Chicken Chili

Spicy Chicken Soup

Next up in the Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup. Start by adding your onion and garlic to your soup pan with a swirl of EVOO. Once that starts to get slightly browned, stir in salsa, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato soup, chili powder, corn, chili beans, sour cream and the broth and shredded chicken from the crockpot. Simmer 30 minutes.

While that is simmering, in another pot, make your quinoa – one cup of quinoa and two cups of water for 15 minutes.

While the quinoa and soup are cooking, now we will prep for the chicken piccata. Take out your chicken breasts and pound them out pretty flat. Put a piece of Press & Seal between each piece and place in the freezer bag then refrigerate or freeze depending on when during the week you plan to serve this meal. In another storage bag, add flour, salt and pepper. You will use this to coat the chicken when you are ready to cook it. In a small baggie, mix the chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic. Refrigerate. Once the chicken is cooked, you will pour this in the pan to make the sauce.
 
Chicken Picatta
By now the quinoa and soup should be done. Put the quinoa in a storage container in the refrigerator. For the soup, you can do the same as the chili.
Cooked Quinoa

Cooked Quinoa

My recommendation on any dish with cooked chicken is to eat it within 2-3 days or freeze it. If it sits in the refrigerator any longer, it starts to taste gamey.

Congratulations! You just completed your food prep and you have five delicious meals ready to eat this week, giving you much more time in the evenings. Comment below and let me know what you think!
Chicken Picatta

Chicken Picatta

Introducing my Healthy Food Prep blog

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Christina Fitzer is the creator and author of HealthyFoodPrep, a blog for real people with limited time who want to try to make healthy food choices.

As a busy wife and working mom of two, Christina had been meal planning and food prepping for her own family for about a year and would occasionally post photos about it on FaceBook and Instagram. Many friends who saw her posts started asking her how to do it.

So Christina opened up her kitchen to two of her dearest friends, Kara and Kelly (aka the “Test Kitchen Girls, who you will get to know too.) The three of them started food prepping together every Sunday.

Christina would create the menu and a shopping list and send it to each person. Anything that could be purchased in bulk at Costco to save money, Christina would buy and the others would reimburse her.

Once pictures from the Test Kitchen started being posted to FaceBook, even more people asked to join.

Unfortunately Christina’s Kitchen isn’t big enough to accommodate a large group, so occasionally someone will join “Test Kitchen Girls” for one week per month and hopefully take the skills they learned back to their own kitchen. That is when the idea to write a blog started getting tossed around.

You will notice Christina is a big proponent of using real ingredients and organic whenever possible but isn’t afraid to fall off the boat occasionally. Some of the recipes are her own but a lot of them are borrowed from others, which are credited and linked to in each post.

We hope you enjoy the blog and welcome your feedback and suggestions. Feel free to email us at HealthyPrep@gmail.com.