Meal prep is all the rage now, the highest trending hashtag on Instagram. It’s all about putting various foods cut into pieces into neat Tupperware (I gave my age away just now) boxes to eat throughout the week. Or it might also be about extremely ripped guys lifting weights, I’m not entirely clear having whizzed through #mealprep.
It is a good trend: ditch fast food and takeouts and prep your meal (geddit?) in boxed portions to sit in the fridge until mealtime, thus saving you time when you come home hungry after those hours spent in the gym. Of course the words ‘stale’, ‘soggy’, ‘runny’, ‘limp’ and ‘dry’ (or all of those at once) spring to mind but hey! I’m always banging on about how home cooking is important.
So this week we’re prepping ahead *frantically peruses the back catalogue in search of suitable recipes*. Breakfast stuff is easy – and crucial as that’s the time when we have the least of it. Blueberry parfait is one such thing: prep the yoghurt, berries and oats in your little containers and in the morning just build your breakfast. Classic porridge is another – it requires minimal cooking just before.
Poke is ideal for lunch: spanking fresh (or briefly frozen if cautious) fish cut in cubes, vegetables and dressing, then mix it together and you’ve got Pret-style lunch at a fraction of the cost. Or bake a bunch of my easy sausage rolls if you’re in need of more substantial sustenance and defrost one for each lunch.
For make-ahead dinner it will be a great idea to roast an industrial amount of pork shoulder for gyros. Then all you need is pita bread or baked potatoes or plain pasta, and green salad. I’d make THAT fresh though. And if you fancy, you could make up the chicken and mozzarella parcels and stick them in the fridge, to be baked for dinner.
Chicken is the common as muck meal prep base and no wonder as it's versatile. But instead of boring roasted or slow-cooked, make a batch of crispy fried chicken. Have it fresh and hot for one dinner, slice it for best sandwiches with mayo and make a twist on the twist on Caesar salad using chopped fried breaded chicken.
For sides with a twist, or snack or instead of pickles, or for garnish – make a jar of sauerkraut. It’s fermented, the best source of Vitamin C in northern Europe and it's good for gut. If you’re not a believer, give it a try and you’ll be converted.
And what’s for dessert? That’s easy: make a big tub of this easiest, least fussy, amazingly creamy no-churn raspberry ripple ice cream. It can be eaten straight from the freezer – try to make it last at least a couple of days.