How to Meal Prep Like a Pro: Irish Week

You could say that Irish food is in my blood, because it is.  My great grandparents met on the boat to America and my grandmother’s Irish cooking has stuck with me years after she left us.

I love everything Ireland and always celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a week of Irish cooking.  It’s no secret that this week’s themed menu is Irish!

Before I get to the meal prep, let me give you some tips on dinners.  Irish food doesn’t have to be unhealthy.  There are a lot of options to sub the otherwise carby, saucy food for healthier options.  

I’m not sure how happy my grandmother would be with me turning her delicious recipes healthy but it’s a different time, grandma.  For example, instead of potatoes with my bangers and mash, I used this recipe and made cauliflower rice: 

While Grandma White made THE best cabbage roll, or pigs in a blanket as she called them, I stick to this easy cabbage roll casserole recipe:  

I don’t think she’s too angry with my modern twists, because at the end of the day, I always know to use good beer with my roasts.  Guiness all the way, baby.

Now that I’ve given you 3 yummy dinner options, let’s jump into our breakfast and lunch meal prep.

Menu

Breakfast

  • Corned Beef Hash

Lunch

  • Meat of your choice and Pub Salad
  • Healthier Reuben Wraps

Shopping List

  1. 6 lbs or larger Corned Beef
  2. Low Carb Tortilla Wraps
  3. Bib lettuce
  4. Red cabbage
  5. White shredded cabbage
  6. 1 Sliced Cucumber
  7. 1 ½ lbs Potatoes
  8. 3 Small Onions
  9. 4 Garlic Cloves
  10. 1 Block Cheddar Cheese
  11. 4 eggs
  12. Healthy mayo (made with avocado or olive oil)
  13. Tomato Paste
  14. Pickles
  15. Spicy Brown Mustard
  16. Apple Cider vinegar
  17. 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  18. Olive Oil
  19. Dijon Mustard
  20. 2 tbsp Tarragon
  21. 2 tbsp Thyme
  22. 2 Guiness Beers

1/4 tsp of the following spices

  1. Basil
  2. Oregano
  3. Paprika
  4. Salt & Pepper

Recipes

First you have to cook the corned beef.  Here is the recipe I used and you can let it go in the crockpot while you make everything else.  Once it’s done take out 4 cups (2 for ruebens and 2 for breakfast) and eat the rest for dinner that night!

Corned Beef in the Crock Pot

Combine the following ingredients in the crock pot

*If you have a small crock pot, scale potatoes, cabbage and carrots

  • 5-6 pounds Corned beef brisket
  • 5 Carrots, sliced
  • 1 lb Potatoes, cut in chunks
  • ½ head cabbage, cut in pieces
  • 1 Yellow onion, sliced

Stir together the following ingredients and then pour over meat and veggies.

  • 5 tbsp Brown Mustard
  • 1 cup Sour cream
  • 2 8-ounce beers
  • 1 ½  Tbsp. Thyme

Cook on high 4 hours or best at low 8 hours

Don’t forget to save 3 cups for sliced or diced corned beef!

 

Reubens:

Let me start by saying, ruebens are not very healthy!  I used a version of homemade sauerkraut and homemade thousand island dressing to make this a healthy lunch option.  If you’ve never had a reuben before, don’t even think that this healthy recipe comes close to the real thing.  I’m just trying to keep us healthy here!  

Prepare the dressing:

Combine the following ingredients in a small container to store:

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup clean mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickles

Prepare the “sauerkraut”

Combine the following ingredients in a medium tupperware container

  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard

Assemble the reuben wraps by placing a tortilla flat on the plate.  Smother with thousand island dressing.  Add sauerkraut then your corned beef.  Wrap it up and enjoy!

Prepare the Pub Salad:

You will have a lot of leftover meat this week so if you’re like me, you’ll want to make sure that doesn’t go to waste.  Pair the beef roast or cabbage roll casserole with an Irish Pub Salad twice this week for a hearty lunch.

 

Prepare dressing for salad:

Combine all of the following ingredients in a salad dressing mixing container

  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons water

Mix well and store.

I always wash, slice and store the salad ingredients to make my week easier.  In this case:

  • Wash the lettuce
  • Slice the cucumber and onion
  • Cube the cheese
  • Hard boil 4 eggs

When you’re ready to eat the salad combine Bibb lettuce with shredded cabbage and top with cucumber, 1 egg, onion, and cubes of cheddar cheese.  Drizzle tarragon dressing.

 

Breakfast hash

  1. Slice the 1 onion, mince 1 garlic clove, dice 2 cups corned beef and 2 cups potatoes.
  2. Melt 2 tbsp olive oil in skillet. Then saute the onion and garlic. Add the potatoes to the skillet and cook until lightly browned. Season with ¼ tsp thyme, ¼ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp basil, ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp salt and pepper. Stir in the corned beef and cook for 5 minutes.1/4 tsp Basil

 

By the end of this meal prep you will have breakfast for every day of the week, enough for 3 reuben wraps and 3 Pub Salads (don’t forget to add leftover meat).   

Remember the bangers and cauliflower mash AND the beef stew AND the cabbage roll casserole ingredients aren’t listed here.  If you want to make those dinners this week, make sure you visit the Pintrest recipe and add it to your list. https://www.pinterest.com/expertlyflawed/week-4-themed-meal-prep/

 

I had an amazing St. Patrick’s Day thanks to some great friends, and some delicious Irish food!  What did you do for St. Patti’s Day?  Add your comments below.

Next week is an All American menu…

 

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3 Reasons You Should Start Meal Prepping Today

This week’s Themed Meal Prep is Italian food.  I scoured the pages of Pintrest for recipes that are healthy (low in calories, carbs, and fat) and put together a complete weekly meal plan for you below.  If you’re not familiar with meal prepping, or have been resistant to try it, here are three reasons why you must start with this plan TODAY!

Believe it or not, there are still people who don’t think food prepping is a good idea.  The reasons usually include:

  1. I don’t have time
  2. I don’t have money
  3. I don’t want to eat the same thing again and again.

If you’re among them, I’ve solved these three issues with my Themed Meal Prep, giving you absolutely no reason not to prepare clean, healthy, delicious meals for yourself every week.

  1. You’re not too busy to meal prep!  You’re too busy NOT to meal prep.

We are no longer scavengers, we don’t have to hunt and gather for every meal.  So, why are you making it so hard on yourself when it comes to eating 3 well rounded meals per day?  Meal prepping using my shopping list and recipes are so easy and most menus take less than 2 hours in your kitchen.  Less than 2 hours and an entire week’s worth of breakfast and lunches are done.  Most times, even that night’s dinner will be ready to feed your hungry family.

2.  If you have the money for Starbucks, or Chick-fil-a, or Ruby Tuesdays, then you have money to meal prep.

I get it, clean, healthy foods can be expensive.  There usually aren’t coupons for produce and meats, but I’ve found a way to cut my grocery bill in half.  I’ve done this by making the menus culturally themed.  One week it’s Greek, the next Italian, etc. etc.  Making the menus themed cuts down on the ingredients because you’re using the same ones in different ways.  Genius!  Most of my shopping lists contain less than 20 items, any many will already be in your cabinets allowing you to buy even less.

3.  If you’re bored with your meal prep, you’re not doing it right.

Since my menus are culturally themed, the ingredient list is small and the variety is BIG!  You’ll love the variety of foods and never get bored eating the same thing every day.  Some days I have a salad, some days a rice bowl, some days a wrap.  There are a ton of options!  The best part about Themed Meal Prep is, just when you’ve had enough, the week changes to another themed set of meals.

We all know what happens when we don’t prepare for lunch; we skip it, or end up eating crap. Treat yourself and go out once a week but don’t get frustrated wondering what you’re going to do everyday.  Okay, let’s get cookin’!

MENU

Breakfast:  

  • Frittata Muffins

Lunch:

  • Tuscan Tortillini
  • AntiPasta Salad
  • Caprese with Pork

SHOPPING LIST

  1. 1lb salami (cut 3-4 times at deli counter)
  2. 1 package pepperoni
  3. 1 package spinach
  4. 1 package of romaine
  5. ½ cup red onion
  6. 1 red and 1 green pepper
  7. 1 Lemon
  8. 2 containers sliced grape olives
  9. Jar of Sundried tomatoes in oil
  10. Jar of Artichokes in oil
  11. Small jar of pesto
  12. Small can black olives (sliced)
  13. Small jar green olives (sliced)
  14. Package Cheese Tortellini (I buy whole wheat)
  15. Parmesan Cheese
  16. 6-8 oz mozzarella balls
  17. Eggs
  18. Milk
  19. Olive Oil
  20. Balsamic Vinegar

*Optional:  Peperoncini peppers and pine nuts for antipasta salad

RECIPES

This is so easy it’s going to blow your mind!  You only have to cook one of the three lunch recipes this week!

How to Make the Tortellini Lunch:

2 lunch servings

  1. Boil tortellini according to package directions – Set aside.
  2. Add ¼ cup olive oil to skillet, saute ⅓ cup red onion and a minced garlic clove
  3. Add ½ cup sliced sun dried tomatoes, 1 cup spinach, and tortellini
  4. Salt and Pepper as needed
  5. Store in two containers for lunches

 

How to Make the Anti Pasta Salad

4 lunch servings

Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 2 heads diced Romaine lettuce
  • 1/3 red onion sliced thin
  • ¼ cup small can black olives
  • ¼ cup green olives
  • ½ package pepperoni
  • ½  deli salami sliced
  • Full jar of artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
  • 1/2 container of grape tomatoes
  • *Optional: Toasted pine nuts and peppercini peppers

Divide between 4 containers and store for lunches.

 

How to Make the Caprese Salad

4 Servings

Prepare the Caprese Salad by combining the following ingredients:

  • ½ bag spinach
  • 1 crate halved cherry tomatoes
  • Package of mozzarella balls
  • 2tbsp Pesto
  • 4tsbp Olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt Pepper

I stored this in a container and ate it with leftovers from the week.

I made some delicious dinners this week; Veggie lasagna, chicken bruschetta, and Italian pork in the crock pot.  If you’re interested in seeing those recipes, check out my Pintrest board:  https://www.pinterest.com/expertlyflawed/week-3-themed-meal-prep/

Finally, to prepare the breakfast muffins follow this recipe:

  1. Dice green pepper, red pepper, and red onion – Add 1 cup shredded spinach
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray (spray well).
  4. In a large bowl, beat 10 eggs and add diced ingredients above.
  5. Sprinkle in cheese of your choice (I used shredded mozzerella)
  6. Scoop 1/3 cup of mixture into each compartment.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the center of the muffin is completely cooked.

So easy and so good!  Next week is St. Patrick’s Day so guess what my themed menu will be?  Irish food!  This Irish girl can’t wait!  See you next week…

I’m sorry for the lack of pictures this week.  I lost everything on my memory card while recording my daughter’s chorus concert (priorities)!  I’d love to see your pictures though.  Please post your Italian Meal Prep pics below.  Happy, healthy cooking!


 

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