Monday, 8 September 2014

Meal Prep - My Way

Aka how to keep the fridge, and your tummy, full!

Last week I posted a pic of my food prep day on Facebook, it was one of my most popular shares. So I thought it be best to follow up with a blog post, a written how-to has got to be more helpful than an inspiring picture with no instructions right? 

If you’ve read a few health blogs on GAPS, SCD, Paleo or the likes you’re probably familiar with the concept of food preparation days, also known as batch cooking. The idea is that in one day you cook enough to tied you over for 3-4 days so you have to spend less time in the kitchen and when you’re hungry, you always have something to grab. One of the hardest things about a restricted diet is that convenience goes out of the window. Grabbing something ‘on the run’ or ‘quickly throwing something together’ when you’re so hungry you could chew on your arm, becomes a thing of the past. Food preparation and batch cooking helps to make the process easier.

I eat very simply at the moment, I’ve tried to introduce more foods but cos I still have blastocystis and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (despite a year of various white man meds) it hasn’t been very successful. So I pretty much am still limited to what I shared in a recent blog over HERE And also my blog from last year on what a gut healing diet looks like over HERE

So my meal prep reflects that and in a session I will cook a variety of: chicken/beef/lamb meat patties, fish, carrot/ginger soup, pumpkin soup, bone broth, roasted carrots, roasted pumpkin and kiwifruit jelly. I like these things as they keep well for up to 4 days, they reheat well (in the oven not the microwave, I avoid the microwave as much as possible, it’s ok if you don’t have another option). And when I do a reheat I quickly sauté some zucchini ribbons, silverbeet/chard, spinach or steam some green beans or broccoli depending on if I feel like my gut can tolerate those last two. I then drizzle with some garlic infused or plain olive oil and I have a tasty, quick, nutritious meal.

Meat Patties
  • Mince Meat
  • Herbs
  • Salt and Pepper
Mix together, roll into patties of 100-120grams (I use scales to weigh this out), place in a baking tray, press flat with a fork. Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes (this depends on how hot the oven is and how big your patties are). 

***Combos I commonly use = chicken/dill, chicken/chives, lamb/rosemary, beef/thyme, pork/garlic flakes, turkey/tarragon. I often also make patties with chicken livers mixed in… I buy these frozen, allow them to defrost in the fridge, soak them in either milk or salt water (this helps remove the strong taste), rinse them off really well! Chop them up finely and add about 100-150 grams of liver to about 500 grams of mince meat. 

Lemon Fish
  • Fish
  • Salt
  • Lemon
Line a baking dish with tin foil with extra to foil to cover back over the fish, place the fish in the baking dish, squeeze lemon juice over the fish, sprinkle with salt (herbs like parsley, dill, chives can also be added). Cover the fish with the overlapping tin foil (you can also wrap the fish individually in little foil packages). Bake for 10-20 mins at 180C depending on the type and thickness of your fish (thin white fish will need longer than salmon).

Fish I commonly use = salmon, trout, hoki, whiting, barramundi.

Carrot/Ginger Soup
  • Chicken Broth
  • Carrots
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Salt
  • Cooking fat/oil
Wash, peel and chop carrots roughly. Add 1T of coconut oil, duck fat or ghee to a pan, add carrots and heat till oil is melted. Add salt, pepper, and grate ginger on the top. Stir quickly. Add enough broth to generously cover carrots. Bring to the boil then turn down and simmer until carrots are soft. Its best to let this cool on the stove for about an hour before placing it into a blender and blending till smooth. I find chicken broth is the best for this flavour combo.

Pumpkin Soup
  • Broth 
  • Pumpkin
  • Turmeric
  • Salt 
  • Cooking fat/oil
Pretty much the same process as above, you can use fresh or powdered turmeric. I have used beef, lamb and chicken broth for this combo. They all have their own unique flavour and make the soup taste different depending on what broth you use.

EASY Chicken Broth 
  • Chicken Carcass or Chicken Necks
  • Salt, Bay Leaves, Apple Cider Vinegar
Place chicken in a slow cooker, sprinkle generously with salt, 2-4 bay leaves and 2-3T of apple cider vinegar (depending on how much chicken bones you have). Cover with filtered water, turn on high till water is bubbling, then turn down to low and leave for 24-48 hours.

EASY Beef Broth 

  • Beef bones or marrow bones
  • Salt, Bay Leaves, Apple Cider Vinegar

For a better taste, place bones on a baking tray and place in the oven for about 10 mins till slightly browned… Then place bones in a slow cooker, sprinkle generously with salt, 2-4 bay leaves and 2-3T of apple cider vinegar (depending on how many bones you have). Cover with filtered water, turn on high till water is bubbling, then turn down to low and leave for 24-48 hours.

EASY Lamb Broth

As above but use lamb shanks.

***Notes on broth - I use about 1kg of bones in my 5 litre slow cooker. I do need to top up the water as it cooks, maybe once every 12 hours I’ll check it, stir it and top up. To manage the broth once its cooked turn it off and leave for about 3 hours to let it cool down. Place a colander over a large glass bowl, use tongs to get as many bones out as you can and place in the colander to drain. Then pour the rest of the broth slowly into the colander allowing the broth to pour through into the bowl (watch this carefully so it doesn't start to overflow from the bowl). Remove the colander, shake over the bowl. Chuck the bones in the bin. From here I will use a measuring cup to transfer my broth into glass jars… (you must make sure broth has cooled enough at this step, hot broth can crack jars) And then pop them in the fridge. Once the broth chills it may form a layer of fat on the top. If this is 0.5cms or less I just leave it and add it in with the broth to whatever I’m doing. Sometimes it can be up to an inch depending on the bones used, some people also use this but because I get nauseous if my fat content is too high I would typically scrap most of this off and throw it in the bin. Other people do keep it and use it as cooking fat…

Roast Carrots
  • Carrots
  • Salt
  • Cooking fat/oil
Peel and chop carrots, rounds or sticks. Place on a baking tray. Gently heat fat of choice in a pot on a low heat, coconut oil, ghee or duck fat are good to use and are all solid at room temperature. Pour melted fat over carrots, sprinkle with salt, shake around on the tray to mix. Place in the oven on 180C for about 20-30 minutes depending on the amount of carrots you have used (I often cook 1kg at a time). It can be helpful at about the half way mark to shake the tray again to ensure even cooking. 

Roast Pumpkin

As above using pumpkin. Cooking time will be slightly less.

Kiwifruit Jelly
  • Kiwifruit (green or gold)
  • Great lakes gelatine (red container)
  • Lemon
Peel kiwifruit using a small sharp knife (cut off top and bottom and then slide the knife along the sides underneath the skin to remove), place in a blender and puree. Place kiwi puree into a pot and heat gently on a low heat. Add lemon juice to puree (I use about 1T for every 6 kiwifruit), turn the heat off and stir. In the blender add gelatine (I use about 1T for every 3 kiwi fruit), add hot water to cover the gelatine plus an extra inch. Pour in kiwifruit puree and blend again. Pour mixture into small separate containers and pop in the fridge. They take about 2 hours to cool and set. You can play around with the amount of gelatine you use to create different textures (more will make it firmer). If they don’t set you have not used enough gelatine. Credit to the happy health nut where i original found the recipe HERE

Zucchini Ribbons 
  • Zucchini
  • Salt
  • Fat
Add 1T of coconut oil or ghee to a fry pan, I use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of zucchini straight into the pan. Add salt to taste, turn on heat and heat for about 3-5 minutes stirring as needed.

Sautéed Greens 
  • Silverbeet, spinach or asian greens
  • Salt
  • Fat
Add 1T of fat to a fry pan, wash and chop greens as required, add to pan, sprinkle with salt. Turn on the heat and stir as the greens cook. I often add some broth to help keep the greens moist and I find it helps them cook faster. Just enough broth to have no obvious liquid at the end when the greens are cooked. Start with a few tablespoons and play around with the amount you need as the greens soften.

As you can see, I don’t really use weighs and measures, I prefer to trust my instincts and practice has taught me how much of what ingredient I need, so don’t be afraid to mess a few things up before you perfect it. Reheating meat patties can be done in the over for 5-10 minutes, same with the roast vegetables. Soups are just reheated in a pan on the stove. Greens I make as needed, usually when I have stuff heating in the oven. For more meal ideas you can check out this blog HERE which has more combos and ideas. Recipe books that have helped me along the way are:

Digestive Health with Real Food

Digestive Health with Real Food Cookbook

Practical Paleo

21 Day Sugar Detox

Autoimmune Paleo 

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