Quick meal prep from the The Goddess Kitchen (yeah, that's me)
A great way to season and flavor anything! (Well, not desserts or drinks! haha)
Meats, veggies, beans, soups... This makes a great soup/stock base as well.
If you cook pork, chicken, or turkey, remember to brine it for 20 mins. in a salt or brining solution to increase tenderness and juiciness! (Then skip adding salt to your recipe, and no, it doesn't make it salty; the brine causes water to expand the cells, resulting in juicy and tender meat. Food science 101 :-) Don't forget that most factory farms are NOT regularly–if at all ever–inspected by USDA or FDA and that a LOT of salmonella/bacteria is not only covering your meat, but can also be found regularly on both the inside and OUTSIDE of the packaging. Wash your hands, grocery bags, and keep uncooked meat separate from every other food!
Click "read more" for recipe... !
- Dice a whole onion, a couple of stalks of celery, a couple of whole carrots (add bell peppers if you are feeling industrious!) and sauté in olive oil until "nearly-to-halfway cooked", then scrape to the edges of the pan.
- In the center of the pan, add another Tbsp of oil, and then as much minced fresh garlic as you like (I use at least 4 cloves), and any combination of spices (or your choice): coriander, cumin, turmeric...
- As the garlic begins to soften, mix everything back together.
You now have a Flavor Base for veggies, meat, beans, soup.
At this point, you've spent about 20 minutes dicing and cooking. Now scrape that pan into another container, and you will divide the veggies into halves, thirds, fourths... This depends on what-all you are cooking. For instance, I am going to divide my Flavor Base between several dishes for the week: sautéed squash, creamy carrot soup, and chicken. I'm still using only ONE pan by the way!
I'll start with the Sautéed Squash:
I take about one-third of the Flavor Base that I've left in my sauté pan and add a bit of water and a vegetable bullion cube, along with the sliced zucchini and yellow squash, and a dash of nutmeg. Sauté until done. Scrape it all into a Pyrex dish and let it cool, uncovered.
Carrot Soup (I love carrots!):
I add a bit of water to the pan and simmer the carrots until they are about halfway cooked, then add another one-third of the Flavor Base, and also some cinnamon, and a bit more cumin. As it cooks down I add more water until everything is covered.
When the veggies are soft, but not over cooked, same thing: scrape into another Pyrex glass dish and let it cool. When cool, I add cashews or peanuts (increases fat, protein and creamy texture), then blend until it's a creamy consistency that I like, adding more water as needed, and S&P to taste! Done!
You already know to cook the chicken LAST to prevent cross contamination! I found some great affordable, free-range, hormone and additive free chicken at Trader Joe's!
My chicken has been washed and brined (then sink disinfected afterward–salmonella. Yuck!) and dried on a paper towel.
Add a Tbsp of oil to the same pan, and brown the chicks on both sides, then add a little water, the Flavor Base, and sauté until done. You can also bake/roast in the oven the same way.
All in all, I've spent about an hour to an hour-and-a-half in the kitchen, including prep, cooking, and clean up!! As a result, I have several day's worth of food that I can reheat in the toaster oven or microwave. After everything is cooled, I put individual portions in lunch containers which are easy to take to work and easy to use for dinner at home.
Change up the spices with each dish and you've got unique flavor-profiles for each food as well (like adding rosemary to the chicken and cinnamon to the soup)!
Bon Appetit, fellow Goddesses!