Monday, September 2, 2013

A Salad Bar in Your Fridge

If you follow us on our Facebook Group Page, I make a big deal about "Prepping Sundays!" The reason for that is, with my hubby and I working during the week, if there aren’t enough “grab-n-go” types of items we will make bad food choices.  

We can’t be trusted.  At.  All.  Not. One. Bit. *shakes head*

We find that we have to have the food ready and available, so the fear of it going bad will compel us to eat it, rather than hitting a fast food drive-thru or ordering take-out on those days when we are just plain worn out after work. Nothing like a little guilt to keep us on the straight and narrow, right?

So I started taking at least one afternoon out of the weekend, and cooking, chopping, and “prepping.” I say afternoon, but depending on what's cooking for the week, I'm usually in the kitchen for most of the day. If that's intimidating to you, then I don't know what to tell you, because I certainly don't have the time to prep all my meals just before I eat them. But if you can do it that way, I totally give you big props.

I try to work up a flexible menu, but mostly I work with what I have in the house, be it freezer, fridge, or pantry, along with whatever I've been able to buy on sale or from the farmer's market. I say flexible menu because I'll prep for the makings of 2-3 dinner dishes, with leftovers for lunches, and work out something for breakfasts to use Monday through Friday.

For example, daHubster will make a gallon of yogurt for us, and I'll make sure we have berries or some other fruit to add to it for breakfasts. We do have on our diets, because we can tolerate it, and find that yogurt in the morning is a good no-thought breakfast for us.  I've also make various egg muffins or breakfast casseroles that will take us through the week.

Lunches can be trickier for us, because I don't always have leftovers from dinner the night before to carry through to the next day. I've developed a "Salad Bar" scenario that works for throwing together a quick lunch that's both healthy and satisfying.

For example. My favorite Go-To lunch is a salad topped with taco meat and jalapenos.  And I try to push a salad at dinner time a few times a week. So that would mean I prep a lot of salad makings:
  • Clean and slice up a couple of pounds of carrots
  • Clean and slice up at least a head of celery
  • Clean, dry, and shred 2-3 heads of Romaine lettuce and or spinach
  • Clean, dry, and slice up a bunch of green onions
I put them all in individual containers or baggies.  Each day, I grab a handful of each and throw into containers for daHubster and I to take to work. I also put a couple of spoonfuls of taco meat into another container to heat up at lunch time, and then throw the meat on the salad, top with pickled jalepeno slices, and use a splash of the pickle juice from the jar as "dressing".


Hey don't judge me on the pepper juice. I love that stuff.

Other options for adding to your potential salad bar (especially if you have a hard time adding food fats to your diet) are:
  • Hard-boiled eggs that have been sliced or crumbled
  • Olives
  • Sardines or anchovies
  • Olive oil
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • really, any other veggie you like in salad
If taco salad isn't your thing, and you prefer to have a salad dressing, pre-making a vinaigrette is totally doable! If you haven't done it before, it's super easy, and will last awhile. You can totally  mix it up week to week, and change spices as the mood hits you. You just need:

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  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar: your choice of red wine, apple cider, or even white in a pinch
  • a few drops of honey to reduce the acidity of the vinegar (optional)
  • Dijon mustard
  • spices of your choosing. I like garlic, onion, etc. but the sky is the limit!
  • salt
I've found a good ratio of 2/3's vinegar to 1/3 oil is a good mix. throw it all together in a glass container with a good sealing lid, and shake before you pour.  When you first mix it, I'd give it at least an hour for the flavors to meld before eating.

If there's interest, I'll post my taco meat recipe at a later date.

The key word here is prepping. Have it done, so you don't have to think about it.  Now, I have some chopping to do....

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