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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2017

Dinner is served with a little help from advanced meal prep

By Melissa Boncher, Hy-Vee Dietitian | Aug 31, 2017

As parents, we believe gathering our kids and loved ones at the dinner table will build a stronger family and successful kids. But on a Tuesday night at five o’clock, we often struggle to put together a meal that everyone will enjoy. One trick is weekend meal prep. Taking just a few hours on Sunday afternoon or evening for advanced prep helps eliminate stress on weeknights and allows us to enjoy those precious moments when we all gather at the table.

Here are tips for meal prep:

Wash and prep fruits and vegetables. The peppers and mushrooms in our featured Moo Shu Turkey Wrap recipe can be washed and sliced, and the cabbage shredded and portioned. Zucchini noodles for a pasta recipe can be spiraled. Cut up vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and cauliflower to add to lunches, have kids snack on while prepping dinner, or microwave as a side dish for weeknight dinners. Prep berries, kiwi and melons to use as side dishes during the week.

Review refrigerator stash. Quesadillas are an effective way to use up leftover vegetables and meats. Simply dice them into similarly sized pieces for easy assembly on a weeknight. Fruits that are starting to get soft are perfect for using in smoothies.

Prep protein. I love the idea of cooking bulk meats all at once and using them in multiple recipes. For example, several pounds of lean ground turkey can be cooked at once, portioned, stored and later reheated for use in pasta sauces, tacos, omelets and other family favorites during the week.

Cook grains. Pre-cooking grains like quinoa, couscous or rice will shorten the time it takes to get dinner to the table on weeknights. Pastas can also be cooked ahead and warmed for use on a weeknight. When you’re ready to use the pasta, boil a small amount of water, and dip the pasta in a colander into the boiling water for 30 seconds.

Make sauces ahead of time. Prep sauces ahead of time, storing them in a Mason jar or plastic container for dinner later in the week.

Meal prep doesn’t necessarily mean making the entire recipe; it’s about tackling the parts of food prep that will make the daily task of getting dinner on the table easier. By following these tips, you’ll go into the week feeling organized.

 

Featured Recipe:

Moo Shu Turkey Wraps

Total time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

 

 

All You Need:

1 (16-ounce) package lean ground turkey

8 ounces white or button mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced

2 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp minced ginger root

1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into short, thin strips

2 cups coleslaw salad mix

½ cup hoisin sauce

½ cup sweet & sour sauce

6 fajita size whole wheat tortillas

 

All You Do:

1. Cook ground turkey as specified on package.  Always cook to well-done, 165° F as measured by a meat thermometer.

2. Add mushrooms, garlic and ginger root; stir-fry 2 minutes.  Add bell pepper and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add coleslaw mix and hoisin sauce; stir-fry 3 minutes.

3. Spread sweet and sour sauce evenly over each tortilla; top with turkey mixture. Fold bottom of tortilla up over filling and fold sides in and roll up.

Nutrition facts per serving: 400 calories, 11g fat, 2g saturated fat, 840mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 17g sugar, 23g protein

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