Monday Mood Booster: Meal Prep

Meal Prep

Welcome to the sixth Monday Mood Booster post! Mondays are difficult for many reasons and sometimes we need a little pick-me-up. This series will run the first Monday of each month and highlight something that we love that helps us beat the Monday blues.

I love food. I know you love food too. But you know what I don’t love? Sad lunches. I’m sure you know what I mean by sad lunches. A sad lunch is that lunch you half-hazardly whip together in the morning. It’s a few slices of deli meat on whatever bread you could find. Or it’s that lunch that you buy from the office cafeteria. Nothing in life is sadder than a soggy, cafeteria tuna sandwich on wheat.  The solution to sad, work lunches? Meal Prep.

Interestingly, this week’s Monday Mood Booster is actually achieved by putting aside some time on a Sunday to make your Monday (and every other day that week) easier.

Meal Prep on Sunday and Eat Great All Week

Now, meal prep is a bit of an investment. However, I love cooking so I see my Sunday meal prep as a form of meditation as well as an investment in myself.  Food is fuel and what better way can I show myself that I value my body then by giving it premium fuel.

I set aside 1-2 hours every Sunday to prep my lunches for the week.  Usually this time is not all active time so I often do some blogging or browse Pinterest while everything is cooking. By investing this time at the beginning of my week, I know I can look forward to a great lunch every day. It saves me money, which I can save for other purposes.  It also ensures that, no matter how hectic my day at work is, I always have something to look forward to at lunch.

Not Getting Bored of Eating the Same Thing

One caveat of meal prep is that, unless you have a meal prep exchange, you are basically committing to eating the same item five days in a row. My way of avoiding work lunch letdown is by ensuring that whatever I cook is something seriously delicious. As well, I rotate through a variety of recipes so that I don’t eat the same thing every week. To get you on the meal prep train, I’m going to share two of my favourite recipes.

Maple-Sriracha Salmon, Quinoa, and Creamed Spinach

The meal prep in the main image on this page is super simple to make. It is a protein-packed lunchtime powerhouse. This recipe makes 5 servings. Feel free to adjust depending on how many serving you want. You’ll need:

  • 5 salmon fillets (roughly the same size)
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 bag fresh spinach (roughly five cups)
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk

Cook Time:  Active 30 min Inactive 1 hour

Marinate the salmon fillets with the maple syrup and Sriracha for a minimum of 30 min. While marinating, prepare the quinoa by boiling the chicken stock/water. Once boiled, reduce to a simmer and add the quinoa. Stir occasionally until all the liquid has been absorbed (15-20 min).

While quinoa is cooking, prepare the creamed spinach. Sauté spinach with olive oil in a frying pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remember that even though it looks like you have a lot of spinach, it reduces to next to nothing once cooked. Once wilted, add the milk, cream cheese, and cottage cheese. Why cottage cheese? It gives a protein boost to this already protein packed meal. Protein will keep you full and ensure you avoid that 3 pm hangry attack.

Set spinach and quinoa aside once prepared.

In a cast iron skillet, heat up some olive oil. Sear the marinated salmon fillets for 2-3 min per side. Once prepared, assemble your lunches by placing some quinoa at the bottom of a container and topping with spinach and salmon.

Boom. Lunch(es) made.

Tomato Galette

Tomato Galette

This super simple Tomato Galette is a great way to use up leftover tomatoes. It is also a vegetarian-friendly meal prep option.  The crust takes a little bit of extra work but it is well worth it. Bring a slice to work with a salad and you are good to go. Note: This recipe makes 4 servings to make this meal prep on a short week or treat yourself to lunch on Friday. To make this galette, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 or 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup spreadable cheese such as Boursin or La Vache Qu Rire (cream cheese can also work)
  • 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp parsley, oregano, and thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Cook Time: Active 30 min Inactive 1.5 hours

Prepare the dough by combining flour, parmesan, and salt. Cube the butter and add to the dry mixture. Also drizzle in the honey. With your hands combine the butter and the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix. Add the water a little bit at a time to achieve a dough-like consistency. Flatten dough into a disk and refrigerate for 30 min.

While dough is “setting” in the fridge. Slice up the tomatoes, salt both sides, and “drain” them on some paper towel. They won’t release much moisture, but try to pat off what you can.  Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Once dough is ready, roll it out into a circle.  No worries if it’s not perfect, you’re aiming for a rustic look anyways. Once dough is rolled out, put it on the lined baking sheet.

With a knife, spread the cheese onto the dough being sure to leave about an inch around the edge. Once spread, layer the tomatoes on top again being sure to leave about an inch crust.

Fold the crust over on top of the the tomatoes just so there is an edge as in the photo. Top tomatoes with pepper. Coat the edge with the egg and bake in the oven for 30 min or until crust is golden brown. Once cooked, top with fresh basil.

Serve either warm or cold. Look at you, you just made a fancy galette. Lastly,  post a pic to Instagram because you just crushed this recipe.

Do you meal prep? Have any go-to recipes you would like to share?