Meal prep is an essential tool for anyone looking to eat healthily and to save money while managing a busy lifestyle. It is a key component that I always stress when counseling clients. While juggling culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, maintaining Crunchy Radish, and working on some exciting new projects, I have been leaning more and more on meal prep as my foundation for keeping healthy and well balanced. To help curate some upcoming posts on meal prep, I called on my very good friend, culinary producer at the Rachael Ray show, and all star meal prep-er, Jeanette Donnarumma, for her tips and recipes on meal prepping. First up, breakfast!
How to meal prep: breakfast part 1
By Jeanette Donnarumma
For most of us veg-heads and wellness-minded folks, food is life. When you're lucky enough that food becomes your livelihood as well, it's very easy to let the piles of delicious hot pasta become distracting (and for good reason!). However, choosing a career in food production doesn't mean your work days are free-for-alls of mac and cheese bakes (but trust me, they can be!). I've learned to set boundaries, know my limits, and not destroy my healthy eating goals. My most helpful partner in crime is meal prep.
Meal prep has been a game changer for me in more ways than one. Not only is having a fully stocked fridge on a Monday morning good for my waistline, it's good for my soul. When you have healthy options in the fridge, you are much less likely to call for takeout or grab something easy that might not be as nourishing for your body. An added bonus to meal prep is the beauty in the ritual. Sunday mornings have become my most favorite time of the week - gym, grocery store, farmer's market, some acoustic playlist on Spotify, and me, my knife, and my muffin tins.
The key to meal prep is having enough containers. I recommend glass containers (better suited for microwaving at work) but, plastic food storage bags and containers work as well, although the Radish prefers glass to avoid chemicals often found in plastic. You aren't going to want to wash dishes every single night, so stock up. I made a purchase of 10 two cup glass containers on Amazon and, by Friday, they are all locked and loaded in my dishwasher, ready to be refilled on Sunday morning.
Mini frittata cups have become one of my essential items that I prep on Sundays. What I love about these little guys is that they are easy to make, easy to throw in your bag, great to eat warm or cold, and, can be casual (confession - I normally eat mine post-workout on the bus during my commute) or a little fancy (serve with a lightly dressed arugula salad!). They are PACKED with clean protein and veggies.
Meal Prep Tip: Make 12 of these on a Sunday with whatever leftover chopped veggies, cooked veggies, or leftovers that you have in the fridge. Once they are cool, pop them out of the trays and straight into glass containers with a lid or plastic food storage bags for easy on-the-go grabbing.
Meal Prep Tip: Mix and match the fillings of the muffin cup rows to vary up the flavors everyday.
Mini Frittata Cups
Recipe courtesy of Jeanette Donnarumma
Makes 12 mini frittata cups
- Olive oil or coconut oil
- 12 organic, pasture raised eggs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Suggested add-ins:
- Vegetables: sautéed sliced mushrooms, sautéed spinach, steamed kale, oven roasted tomatoes, and roasted red peppers
- Aromatics: caramelized onions, sautéd shallots, basil, fresh thyme, scallions, and chili flakes
- Dairy: goat cheese, feta, and parmigiano reggiano
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Lightly rub each cup of a 12 cup muffin tin with either olive oil or coconut oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Carefully pour the whisked eggs into each cup of the muffin tin between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way to the top. Transferring egg mix to a measuring cup or using a ladle helps with pouring. Add toppings into the egg mixture of each cup. Some delicious combinations are:
- sautéed sliced mushrooms, sautéed shallots, fresh thyme with goat cheese
- oven roasted tomatoes with basil and parmigiano reggiano
- sautéed fresh spinach with chili flakes
- chopped roasted red peppers and scallions
4. Bake until puffed up and cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.
Special thanks to Emily Rieger for her gorgeous kitchen and props for this shoot.