Today is the only day my husband and I are both free to head out and buy a Christmas tree, ornaments and the works to decorate our new home for the holidays. But given that Sunday is also our meal prep day and we can’t afford to skip it, we had to get a head start last night (after dinner with the family) and finish-up this morning (before brunch with the girls). Now, we can spend the afternoon getting into the holiday spirit and still come home to a fridge filled with fuel foods this week.
I’m telling you this because I know how busy you are. I know that your schedule this week is full and that with December upon us, it means social activities and year-end deadlines piling-up. I know it can feel overwhelming and you just want a moment to catch your breath. I know because I can feel it too.
But now is the time to put your blinders on.
Now is the time to stay focused and committed to yourself and what you set out to achieve when you signed-up to this challenge. This is week 5 of the #MealPrepChallenge and not time to give up!
Get out there today and invest 1 hour to meal prep and I promise that the payoff this week will be HUGE.
Deal? Remember to tag your meal prep pics #MotiveMealPrep #MealPrepChallenge so that I can se what you’ve been up to!
Meal Prep Challenge Week 5
- This is your meal prep list for the week. It lists the suggested options for starches, proteins, vegetables and snacks for the week along with this week’s featured make-ahead recipe: Kale & Ricotta Egg Bites.
- Prep 1 or more of the suggested foods in each category: 1 x starch, 1 x protein, 1 x veggie and 1 x snack.
- Feel free to make more or less depending on your needs, but try to prepare one of the weekly featured recipes in your prep.
- You can use your own menu as inspiration if necessary. For example, if the prep list suggests quinoa as your starch, but you have a chicken and rice stir-fry on the menu later this week, then prep rice instead.
- Remember that there is no right or wrong way to prep, you need to do what works for you.
Don’t forget to post your Prep Pictures using #MotiveMealPrep #MealPrepChallenge on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!
Week 5 Prep List
- Farro & chickpea salad
- Baked oats
- Feature recipe: Kale & ricotta egg bites
- Shredded chicken
- Roasted cauliflower
- Steamed broccoli
- Chia pudding
- Chopped vegetables
Week 5 Recipes
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad Bowl with Balsamic Veggies
- 1 cup farro*, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 japanese eggplant, sliced
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 1 small package of crimini mushrooms
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1x 15 oz can, drained)
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
*If you don’t have farro, you can use any other whole grain. Brown rice or quinoa would also work nicely.
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
For the farro
- In a medium saucepan, add the farro, water, bay leaf and salt.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the farro is cooked through (should be tender, but chewy). Remove the bay leaf and set aside. Meanwhile, get started on the vegetables.
For the vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- In a small jar, combine the ingredients for the dressing and shake until combined.
- Place the sliced onion, garlic, peppers, eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms on the sheet tray and toss in half the dressing, reserving the other half of the dressing for later.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and freshly cracked pepper and spread them evenly on the baking sheet. Place in the oven for 45 minutes until browned and melted down, tossing once halfway through.
For the salad:
1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients: farro, roasted vegetables, baby spinach, remaining dressing and feta cheese, toss and serve.
- 3 apples, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 3 cups water
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously grease an 8 x 8 baking dish with butter or coconut oil.
- 2. Place the apples in the baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the oats, water, salt, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
- 3. Pour the mixture over the apples. Sprinkle the nuts over the top.
- 5. Bake for 40 minutes. It should start to pull away from the sides slightlyand still be runny, but it will firm-up as it cools.
- 6. Serve immediately or refrigerate once the baked oats have cooled and enjoy for breakfasts during the week.
- NB: If using quick-cooking steel cut oats (Bob’s Red Mill) reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.
Makes 12 breakfast bites
- 10 large eggs
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1.Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat 12 muffin tin insertions with cooking spray (silicone muffin tins are wonderful for this recipe)
2.In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the kale, parsley, chives, salt and pepper.
3. Divide the mixture among the insertions. Add a spoonful of ricotta to each tin and top each with a slice of tomato.
4. Bake for 15 minutes or until the egg mixture has set. Let the egg cups rest 5-10 minutes, run a sharp knife around the edge of each tin and unmold. Keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Baked chicken breast
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1.Preheat the oven to 425°F placing the rack in the middle of the oven.
- 2. Rub the chicken breasts with the olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken evenly with salt and pepper.
- 3. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish, along with the herbs and garlic cloves.
- 4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer reads 160-170 degrees F.
- 5. Rest 5-10 minutes before slicing or shredding.
- 1 3/4 cups milk or almond milk (unsweetened)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- Fresh berries
- Slivered almonds
- In a large bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla, cinnamon
- and maple syrup.
- Add the chia seeds and whisk to combine. Let the mixture sit 10
- minutes at room temperature and then stir again.
- Divide the mixture evenly into jelly jars, top with berries and slivered almonds and set in the fridge 8 hours or overnight.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (approximately 4 sprigs)
- Coarse salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons freshly parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F placing the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. Using a chef’s knife, remove the large stem from the cauliflower. Then with a smaller paring knife, carefully remove
the outer green leaves. Cut the cauliflower into florets.
3. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add the oil and toss with your hands-
there should be just enough to coat all the wedges. Add the garlic cloves, thyme and toss again. Lay flat on the baking sheet with enough space between each piece. Sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper.
4. Transfer to the preheated oven and roast for 25 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Sprinkle each wedge with parmesan cheese and roast until melted, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and serve.