Sunday, March 25, 2012

Express Dinners List

In my previous post I wrote about having and Express Dinners List in the front of your recipe binder; below is a sample of mine.  I hope this helps give you ideas when your In a Bind to get dinner on the table. Be creative and think of your own favorite quick dinners to add to the list.  Most of the dinners can be made from items found in your prep boxes or your pantry.

Check back later this week to see my Freezer Fall Backs List for your recipe binder.

Take it one prep at a time!

Chef Jackie

Express Dinners List

Crock pot
  • whole chicken, ham 9no salt or pepper added), beef roast or pork roast; seasoned with salt and pepper, carrots and potatoes and 1 cup water or stock added to the crock pot, cook on low 6-8 hours

  • Caesar-Chicken, salmon, shrimp or beef, greens, Caesar dressing, croutons and Parmesan
  • Michigan Cherry-Chicken, beef, salmon or pork, greens, dried cherries, goat cheese or cheddar cheese, diced apples and raspberry vinaigrette
  • Taco or Fajita-Taco meat (from the freezer) or chicken breast cooked in salsa and shredded, greens, diced peppers and onions, cheese, salsa and sour cream
  • Antipasto-Greens, sliced ham, provolone and salami, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and Italian dressing
  • Italian Pasta salad- Pasta, sliced, ham, provolone and salami, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and Italian dressing
  • Greek-Chicken, greens, beets, olives, feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, garbanzo beans and Greek dressing
  • Greek Pasta-Pasta, chicken, beets, olives, feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, garbanzo beans and Greek dressing
  • Pick Up Sticks (eating out of the prep boxes with toothpicks)
  • Chicken Waldorf-Mayo, chicken, diced apples, grape halves or dried cherries, pecans, salt and pepper
  • Cobb or Chef-Diced meats and cheese, crumbled bacon, hard boiled eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes and ranch dressing
  • Chicken Salad- “Planned over” chicken, mayo, diced celery and onions, dried cherries (optional), chopped pecans (optional), salt and pepper, cooked rice or quinoa(optional)
  • Tuna Salad-Tuna, mayo, diced celery and onions, golden raisins (optional), cottage cheese (optional), hard boiled eggs (optional) and salt and pepper

Baked Potato Bar-with assorted toppings (“planned over” baked potatoes, meats and veggies”)

  • BLT’S
  • Hamburgers
  • Grilled cheese
  • Nitrate free hot dogs and sausage
  • Hamburgers
  • Planned over” meats and cheese in wrap or lettuce cup
  • Quesadillas made from “planned over” meats and vegetables tossed with salsa, and cheese; cook “grilled cheese” style
  • Nitrate free hot dogs or sausage
  • Fajitas made from “planned over” meats and vegetables or made fresh

Pastas or Stir Fries
  • Alfredo over pasta or rice topped with chicken, shrimp or salmon
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce (from freezer)
  • Tomato sauce with sausage and peppers over rice
  • Carbonara (ham from the freezer)
  • Stir fries-rice or quinoa with veggies and chicken, pork, beef or seafood and Asian or Oriental dressing
  • Pasta primavera-Pasta, chicken, salmon or shrimp and assorted vegetables, tossed with Italian dressing
  • Pasta Adriana- Angel hair pasta, diced tomatoes, olive oil, basil, garlic, splash of balsamic vinegar and your choice of protein; chicken or seafood
  • Garlic Chicken, Beef, Pork or Shrimp- saute meat over medium heat with garlic, minced green onions and olive oil, served over rice and topped with shaved Parmesan, serve with steamed broccoli
  • Chicken or Beef and Mushroom Bowtie Saute -heat olive oil and garlic in a pan, add mushrooms and diced chicken or beef serve tossed with pasta or rice

Upside Down Dinners (breakfast)
Crepes stuffed with fresh berries and whipped cream served with breakfast meats
Egg Dishes- Frittatas, omelets or eggs (any style) made with “planned over” meat and veggies
From the griddle-Stuffed French toast, pancakes or waffles and breakfast meat

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Berry Good Idea

The information below was sent to me from Sandy a cooking student of mine.  She got it from Annette Bergman and found it too good not to share.
The key to preventing moldy berries...

Berries are delicious, but they're also delicate. Raspberries in particular seem like they can mold before you even get them home from the market. There's nothing more tragic than paying $4 for a pint of local raspberries, only to look in the fridge the next day and find that fuzzy mold growing on their insides.

With fresh berries just starting to hit farmers markets, Annette Bergman can tell you how to keep them fresh! Here’s her tip; wash them with vinegar.
When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (the mixture is so diluted you can't taste the vinegar,) and refridgerate. The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. So stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they'll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them.

You're so berry welcome!
Annette Bergman
Author of: Things That Make Me Nuts

I can't wait to try this myself this weekend, but I eat berries so fast it usually doesn't matter!!

Chef  Jackie

My share fair policy-remember when you share always be fair and refer back Prep Like a Chef and the post you want to share. Please only print or copy for your own personal use. It is my goal to make meal times a joy instead of a burden!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pure Food

I would like to thank Chef Kelli from Pure Food 2U for featuring me in her customer correspondence last week and promoting this blog and my e-cookbooks!  Each month she will be adding new e-cookbooks to her ordering page please check them out (pun intended).   If you live in the Pure Food delivery area be sure to check out her awesome Pure Food 2U organic meal delivery service!
Chef Kelli is my mentor and very close friend.  She taught me how to cook and how to eat.  She was my instructor at culinary school and mentored me at her catering company 2 Unique.  I continue to learn from her everyday as we write and teach cooking classes together for Schoolcraft College CES program (next class March 31, How About Brunch?).  I did however get the chance to teach her a little something today; I showed her how to start a blog!
Learning to "cook" from her was very exciting but learning to "eat" is what change my life! Soon after having my son over 11 years ago I began to have joint pain, headaches and stomach issues.  Chef Kelli told me to "clean up my diet".  I said "I eat good food" she said "do you eat pure food"?  I didn't understand-all carrots are the same right?  She taught me about eating grass fed meat, wild caught seafood, organic produce and free range eggs.  Basically not all foods are created equal.  Grass fed cows graze in fields (the food nature made for them), get sunshine (vitamin D) and roam around with their cow friends (their natural workout routine).  All of these factors contribute to healthier happier animals and better meat!  I learned you are what you eat and what they eat!  Whenever possible eat animals, fruit, vegetables and grains that grow in nature.  Simply put Mother Nature doesn't make mistakes.  So next time you go to grab a bite ask yourself; Who made this? Man or Mother Nature?

Eating Mother Nature's bounty can be expensive.  If you can only make one change start with proteins. Animals are at the top of the food chain and what they eat and how they live matters!  If you only eat organic produce but your beef comes from cows who eat substandard food you are eating it too! Resources can be found at Local Harvest. Foods do not have to be organic to be good.  Talk to local farmers and ask them what they feed their animals and how they care for them.  Same goes for produce.  Farmer's Markets will be popping up everywhere soon take advantage or all the great food they have to offer!

Have a great week and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer!!!  She's the best chef in town!!!

Chef Jackie

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just Label it!!

I usaully don't like to have two posts in one day but this post is time sensitive and very important!  Be sure to also check out In a Bind.

Please join me in the fight to have honest food labels!  My son learned first hand about dishonest labeling when he did his science fair project.  He compared artificial sweeteners (labeled zero calorie) to table sugar and it's effects on growing yeast.  To our surprise the yeast grew in the table sugar as well as in the artificial sweetener. Yeast needs warmth, moisture and carbohydrates to grow.  When he researched the artificial sweetener online he found some artificial sweeteners contained carbohydrates from fillers. Visit lowcarbfreedom to learn more.  Carbohydrates contain calories, the artificial sweetener packet he tested contains approximately .9 gm of carbohydrate and 4 calories. Standard table sugar packets contain approximately 4 gms carbohydrates and 15 calories. In my opinion the dishonesty of the labeling and the difference of 11 calories is not worth using "artificial sweeteners".  Of course many products do this because it is considered acceptable. People are free to make their own choices about what they put in their bodies but the label should at least have the facts so they can make an informed choice!!!
Below the pink balloon is the control, the blue balloon is table sugar and the yellow balloon is artificial sweetener.

The info below came from a friend and a fellow "Pure" food advocate.

We're building a  movement of concerned citizens – parents, health care workers, small  business owners, farmers, and more – who care about what's in the food  we eat.
In October 2011, the  Just Label It campaign was formed when the Center for Food Safety filed a  petition with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to require the  labeling of all foods produced using genetic engineering. Days later, we  asked citizens from around the country to join us and tell the FDA to  "Just Label It." By our latest count, more than 980,000 Americans  have sent comments to the FDA urging them to label genetically engineered  foods. Help us reach one million by asking others to sign on at Just Label It. 

As always work smarter and not harder and take it on "prep at a time" !
Chef Jackie

My share fair policy-remember when you share alway be fair and refer back Prep Like a Chef and the post you want to share. Please only print or copy for your own personal use. It is my goal to make meal times a joy instead of a burden!

In a Bind

If you have been reading my posts about The Prep Like a Chef System you might be a little overwhelmed and ready to give up, but wait there's just one more big project (I promise? )!

Recipe binders organize the whole Prep Like a Chef System saving you precious time and space.  No more seraching for recipes from other cookbooks or other people. New recipes, old recipes, favorite recipes and planning and prepping lists will all be stored together in one place.

I use 3 binders for my recipe storage system (okay really about 9 but remember I write recipes for 3 different companies).  I also store everything in my Living Cookbook software.  Why two places?  I like to have my binders out when I cook and prep and I like to write new recipes, make meal plans, and grocery lists in my Living Cookbook software then print them and add them to my binders.

Why I use binders for my recipes instead of a recipe box
  • The number one reason is I am a messy chef ; I need page protectors
  • I like to use tabs to identify sections, that I customize to my own catagories and my own cookbook style
  • Recipes can easily be moved to different parts of the binder and removed to make a copy
  • Recipes can be added from many sources; online printouts, magazines and photo copies from other cookbooks (I make a copy of recipes I use from other cookbooks, the copy goes in my recipe binder and I store the cookboook on a bookself in my office saving me space in my kitchen) 
  • The 8 1/2 x11 format leaves room for notations and is easy to read (my eyes arn't what they used to be)
What you need at a glance, binders, page prtotectors, tabs and a label maker or labels and a marker

Binder 1
Labeled Planing
  • In the pockets of the binder I have blank shopping and prep worksheets that will become my lists to go with my weekly plan. When I like a plan I save the lists and the plan together.  I put all three pages in one page protector with the plan on top.  I store them in their appropriate season.  The next time I want to make the same plan I am ready to go.
  • Page 1-Current plan with shopping and prep lists
Binder 1 Tabs
  • Spring/summer plans (my goal is to have 24 plans for each section; 48 total plans for the year)
  • Fall/winters plans
  • New recipes (recipes I want to try before they become part of my regular rotation)
Binder 2
Labeled Main Dishes
  • Page 1-Express Dinners List and Freezer Fall Backs list; see Dinner 911
Binder 2 Tabs
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Vegetarian
  • Hot side dishes
Binder 3
Labeled Everything Else
  • Page 1-Express Breakfast list and Express Lunch List
Binder tabs
  • Breakfast
  • Appetizers and snacks
  • Salads
  • Soups and stews
  • Pantry and Sauces
  • Sweets
  • Drinks
Use more or less binders to fit your own personal needs. When I started I had one big binder but I found dividing my binder into smaller sections worked best for me.

My actual binders

As always work smarter and not harder and take it on "prep at a time" !
Chef Jackie

My share fair policy-remember when you share alway be fair and refer back Prep Like a Chef and the post you want to share.  Please only print or copy for your own personal use.  It is my goal to make meal times a joy instead of a burden!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Making Dinner Plans

Basic Planning
  • Plan for 5 days not 7. When I first started The Prep Box System I planned a whole week ‘s menu and found I had leftovers. I cook with organic produce, grass fed meats, wild caught fish and free range eggs so having too much food was very costly and wasteful. Planning for 5 days still gives me enough meals and allows for flexibility. If I find myself without a meal I go to my 911 Dinner Plans and serve “PICK UP STICKS”, an “EXPRESS DINNER” or “FREEZER FALL BACK” meal; see last post.
  • Seasonal Sides-My sides dishes are planned by the season. Fresh produce taste best and is less expensive when it is in season. We eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables or salads. I have nothing against hot sides but usually everyone is so hungry by dinner I find myself just pulling the lids off my prep boxes and everyone digs in or makes a salad to go with dinner. If you prefer hot vegetable sides just choose some vegetables from your prep boxes and steam or saute; season with salt, pepper or herbs. If desired toss with butter.
  • Cooking methods-I Change my cooking methods by the season. I roast more in the winter and fall and steam and grill more in the spring and summer. I saute in all seasons.
  • Create your plan around you activities. My easiest meals a made on my busiest days.
  • Saving plans. Plans can be made by hand or in a computer. I make my plans and store them in google documents. If I like the plan it becomes a part of my living cookbook software. This software allows me to input recipes, make menus, weekly plans and grocery list. I also put my meal plans in my google calender so I know what I am doing on what day. I name my plans by season and week. This weeks plan would be called Winter Week 11. Save plans that work!!! This is a very important time saver. Plans that work can be reused in the future. You will be over joyed when you do not have to think up a plan and you can just use an old one!!

Creating the Plan
This is the formula I use most weeks.

Day 1-Grill, crock pot meal or roast. I make this in the beginning of the week so I can use the leftovers (“planned overs”) all week.
  • I often make twice as much grilled or roasted meats than needed for the meal. I use the “planned over” roasted and grilled meats in soups, quesadillas, fritatas, omelets and sandwiches.
  • I have 2 crock pots so I can make two of the same meals on the same day and freeze one for a “freezer fall back” meal. Crock pot meals freeze great because they usually contain liquid. Prepping a double recipe is quicker than prepping the same recipe on 2 separate nights. Plus I only have to clean the dishes once!

Day 2-Soup, sandwiches and/or salads
Day 3-Stir fries, pasta or pizza
Day 4-Mexican; always a favorite in our home
Day 5-Upside down dinner (breakfast for dinner), seafood or vegetarian.

This Weeks Menu
Day 1-Roasted turkey with buttermilk mashed potatoes and maple glazed carrots
Day 2-Turkey Caesar Salad using the leftover turkey form day one
Day 3-Cheesy Bacon and Ham Flat-bread baked then topped with salad greens that have been tossed with ranch dressing and tomatoes.
Day 4 -Tacos with pineapple chunks and red pepper slices 0n the side
Day 5-Oatmeal Waffles topped with peanut butter and drizzled with maple syrup or fresh berries, slivered almonds and whipped cream.

Plan in Action and Planned Over Meals (new meals made from leftovers)
Day 1
Freeze Extra Turkey Slices for
  • lunch meat
  • make up TV dinners with turkey slices, mashed potatoes and carrots in small Pyrex containers

Freeze Turkey Chunks in 1 cup portions for
  • pot pies
  • fritatas
  • omelets
  • turkey salad (turkey, mayo, dried cherries and pecans)
  • pizza toppings
  • salad topping
  • any recipe calling for cooked “chicken”

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
  • I make the whole 5 pound bag and freeze the leftovers in Pyrex containers in various sizes. To prepare from frozen I thaw overnight and top with a pat of butter. I cover and bake the mashed potatoes in a 350 degree oven until heated throughout.

Maple Glazed Carrots
  • I do not freeze but if I have leftovers and chop them up with some chicken, turkey or pork and toss them with cheese and salsa then put the mixture on a tortilla and top with another tortilla and heat like a grilled cheese. I cut it into wedges and serve it as a snack, lunch or dinner.

Day 2-Caesar Salad; use leftover turkey from day one
Day 3-Bacon and Ham Flat-Bread is made with ham I previously diced and froze in a 1 cup portion. The bacon I pre-cooked and froze when I bought it. When I make the flat-bread I will make extras and freezer them to use as a base for our next pizza or flat bread dinner.
Day 4-Tacos; the taco meat will come from the freezer. I make 10 pounds of taco meat at one time. Taco meat works great for salads, quesadillas, nachos, baked potato toppings or can be made into quick crock pot chili. In my house I can never have too much taco meat! I also use it when I need a quick appetizer for a party. I layer it on a platter in this order, refried beans, salsa, sour cream, taco meat, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and sliced olives. I serve tortilla chips and red pepper scoops alongside.
Day 5-Oatmeal waffles; I always at least double this recipe. “Planned over” waffles are place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and frozen (IQF, individually quick frozen). Once they are frozen solid and I put them in a freezer bag and then in a Pyrex container. Next time I need a quick meal we pull them from the freezer and either put them in the toaster or bake them in the oven until hot.
“Planned over” berries from day 5 will be part of a smoothie or a yogurt parfait sometime during the week. If we do not eat them I freeze them in one cup portions for future smoothies, to use in muffin batters or dessert sauces.

Try any ideas that you like and skip one the ones you don’t! My goal is to make it a little easier to share a meal with your family no matter how crazy your life might be. Great meals and memories start at the the dinner table!!!

Remember to always take it one prep at a time!
Chef Jackie

Feel free to share Prep Like a Chef content but please remember to also refer to Prep Like a Chef when sharing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dinner 911

After posting last night I was too tired to do my prep.  Just like all emergencies the key is to stay calm and have at least one back up plan.  Whenever I miss prepping my meal plan there are several back up plans to fall back on. 

Plan "A" we could have a "PICK UP STICKS' dinner and eat right out of our boxes but because it was the end of the week our boxes were pretty picked over. 

Okay on to plan "B".  I could go to my "EXPRESS DINNER LIST" in the front of my recipe binder and pick one of the many choices.  I also keep this list in my google docs so I can refer to it even if I do not have my recipe binder handy. The dinners listed here are made from ingredients I always have on hand such as egg dishes, salads and sandwiches. Plan "B" however was only going to solve only one of my meal emergencies. I needed breakfast, lunch and dinner and if I am lucky a snack! 

So on to Plan "C".  My "FREEZER FALL BACK PLAN".  It includes soups, meatloaf muffin cups, cooked taco meat, breakfast cookies (my version of homemade granola bars), frozen leftover meals in small Pyrex containers made up like TV dinners and any recipes I had doubled over the past few weeks and had frozen.  I did a combo of plans "B" and "C" to save the day and avoid picking up dinner which would have taken more time and money!

Today's 911 Menu
Breakfast cookies- with almond butter spread on top to add a powerful protein and slices of apples fanned on top to add a colorful carb
Snack-cheese, almonds and orange slices
Lunch-Leftover baked potatoes topped with taco meat and cheese
Lunch box-homemade beef jerky, fruit and yogurt parfait and cucumber slices (few minutes of prep this morning, I sliced them when I sliced the apples and oranges)
Dinner-Scrambled eggs topped with cheddar cheese and steamed broccoli
Looking Ahead to the rest of the week and to avoid any more meal mayhem, I made extra eggs so I could make breakfast burritos for another meal this week.  Then I had everyone pitch in to make our prep boxes for the week.  Which we munched on while making them so that became our evening snack!

Luckily I was using a recycled weekly menu plan from another week so that saved me time plus I had already done my shopping on the way back from visiting my folks on Saturday night.  The grocery stores are empty at 11pm so I decide to do my shopping then instead of Sunday.  My Sunday shopping time was supposed to be used to write my post; being a first time poster that took longer then I thought.  Being well rested is just as important as eating healthy so I chose sleep instead of prepping last night.  Thank goodness for back up plans!  They saved the day!!

Here is one of my "FREEZER FALL BACKS" that made breakfast a snap today!

Breakfast Cookies
butter, softened
peanut butter
sucanat or brown sugar (organic)
eggs, beaten
1 1/2
whole wheat flour or ground oats
baking powder, aluminum free
baking soda
1 1/2
salt, Celtic sea
1 3/4
whole oats
Granny Smith apple, grated fine
carrot, grated fine
coconut, unsweetened flaked or grated

Preheat oven to 350° and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sucanat.

Blend in eggs.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add to peanut butter mixture.

Stir in oatmeal, apple, carrot, raisins and coconut.

Drop by tablespoons on to baking sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes until edges just become brown. Cool completely.
Cookies may be frozen after baking.
 Good luck with any dinner emergencies you might have this week.  Just remember to take it one prep at a time!
Chef Jackie

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Planning and Prep Made Simple

The secret to “FAST” weekly meals is planning ahead. Prepping and planning ahead is what chefs do every day to insure their restaurant runs smoothly and efficiently.
  • SELECT the menu for the week. Align you menu choices with you weekly schedule. On your busiest nights choose the simplest recipes, freezer meals, crock pot meals or soup – salad combos. On days you have more time chose more in-depth recipes and roast.
  • CREATE a shopping list based on the recipes.
  • DOUBLE ANY RECIPE that can be made ahead and frozen.
  • KEEP weekly plans and shopping list that you like in a weekly recipe binder. Next time you want to repeat the plan it with be ready to go. 
  • SHOP AND CHOP any items that can be made ahead such as vegetables and fruit, marinades and dressings. 
  • Shop the perimeter of the store for real food
  • Less is more. Package foods with fewer ingredients tend to be less processed and contain fewer additives
  • Unpackaged foods such as fruits and vegetables are good for you and the environment
  • Choose real foods. Real foods are foods found in nature that can be gathered, picked, hunted or fished
  • Choose good fats –nuts, avocado, cold pressed olive oil, flax seed oil, wild fatty fish such a salmon
  • Choose colorful carbs-such as fruit and vegetables
  • Choose a variety of whole grains-organic oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, barley
  • Choose a variety of proteins-meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, nut butters and beans (beans must be served with whole grains to make a complete protein)
  • Read labels and avoid: high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, enriched flour, partially hydrogenated oils, margarine and MSG
  • Every 4 grams of sugar is approximately one packet of sugar
  • Try something new each week such as almond butter instead of peanut butter
  • Introduce you family to a new fruit or vegetable each week
  • Nuts and trail mixes make a great substitution for snack foods such as chips, candy and other processed foods
  • Choose only foods that contain ingredients that you recognize and can find in your cupboards or refrigerator
  • Eliminate ALL artificial sweeteners from your diets, try Stevia as it is the only safe non caloric sweetener, don’t be afraid to use a dab of REAL food to sweeten your food or beverage; honey, maple syrup or palm sugar to name a few
  • Make sure the foods that you choose will spoil or have an expiration date.  Foods that last forever are not good choices
Prep Box Tips 
  • Prep boxes should be square or rectangle, clear glass or plastic, have lids and be stackable. elocknlock has leak proof plastic containers.  Use ones with tray inserts for produce to make it last longer.  Pyrex rectangle set is a good choice because they come in many sizes to suit any size family, they are clear, lids and bottoms can be purchase together or separate, leak proof lids are available and they are freezer and oven safe. 
  • Make Your Own Prep Plan or visit the nourishmd for a free One Easy System Print Outs to help with this step.  Example-chop all of you onions for all your recipes at one time. 
  • Make your prep boxes just after grocery shopping. This allows you to make any meal quickly and easily during the week.  
  • Prep ahead anything from your menu that will last at least 3 days-Marinades, dips, ground beef mix for meatloaf, salad lettuce etc. 
  • Chicken and beef can be marinated overnight but seafood should be mix with the marinade 30 minutes or less before cooking. 
  • Celery, carrots and potatoes should be stored in filter water. 
  • Fill your prep boxes to suit your family size, tastes and menu plan for the week.
  • SALAD BOX-Clean and chopped lettuce and greens for salads 
  • VEGETABLE BOX 1-Cleaned and peeled carrots and celery sticks in water 
  • VEGETABLE BOX 2-Peppers sliced into strips and onions peeled and sliced 
  • FRUIT BOX-Fresh fruit chopped, either combined or kept separate. Keep pineapple separate from other fruit. 
  • HERB BOX-Herbs covered with wet paper towel, a small bowl with pre-chopped herds. Garlic and ginger root would be kept in this box. 
  • MISCELLANEOUS BOX-Cooked Bacon, boiled eggs, leftover cooked meat (roast make great preservative free lunch meat), leftover baked potatoes, tuna salad
  • Carrot and celery sticks, banana, apple and pear slices and nut butter or sunflower butter
  • Cooked meat or tuna salad wrapped in lettuce or tortilla
  • Celery sticks with cream cheese or peanut butter, raisins and nuts
  • Smoothies and Fresh fruit, yogurt and nut parfaits 
  • Quesadillas, fajitas, wraps and enchiladas 
  • Stir fries, rice pilaf and pasta dishes
  •          Green salads, tuna salad, chicken salad and egg salad 
  • Baked potato bar
  • Veggies and hummus, dip or nut butter 
  • Tuna or chicken salad with veggie scoops, in a wrap or on whole grain bread
  • Deviled eggs
  • Frittatas and omelets 
  • Fresh trail mix 
Prep Boxes

When you have PREP BOXES made you will always have dinner at your fingertips even when you forget to make it; just eat right out of the box.  We do this at least one meal a week.  It is out version of “fast food”.  I declare it PICK UP STICKS night and we grab a bunch of tooth picks and start eating right out of the boxes.  The bonus is no dishes!   You can’t beat that with a stick!

If all of this seems overwhelming start out small; try doubling any recipes that can be frozen and prepping your fruits and vegetables for snacks.  Once that becomes a habit add another prep step.  Keep adding until you are comfortable.  The point of the system is to make it easier and not harder so take it one PREP at a time!
Chef Jackie
This system was developed with Chef Kelli Lewton from purefood2u.