Ever try to meal prep? You know, when you spend a couple hours on Sunday making meals for the week?
Great in theory. But in practice, it can be a pain in the ass.
Why? Because you could spend hours shopping and making all this food only to realize by Friday you have tupperware of dry chicken breasts and a bunch of beets in the crisper drawer you never freaking ate.
When meal prep goes wrong
When I worked in public accounting years ago, I would force myself to meal prep this time of year — aka “busy season”.
Because if I didn’t? My dinner was pizza or greasy pad thai (and a trip to Ann Taylor for a size up in my work trousers).
I’d spend Sunday making a whole bunch of stir-fried rice, vegetables, and chicken. Then I’d bring it in a big ass tupperware to leave in the office fridge.
Monday, Tuesday, I was all over it. It felt good being “good”.
By Wednesday? PLEASE NO MORE GOD DAMN STIR-FRY! I craved something more exciting and flavorful. Those spreadsheets I had my nose buried in 12 hours a day were dry and boring enough.
I wish I knew then what I know now.
The best kind of meal to prep ahead
After spending years curled up recipe books and a highlighter and experimenting in my kitchen, I’ve found some make-ahead meals I’ll actually eat.
The best meal ever to prep ahead?
A hearty, colorful, flavorful SOUP.
Why soup? You can make it in huge batches, most of the cooking time is hands off, and best of all, because it’s cooked in liquid, it doesn’t dry out! The flavors get better with time.
I now make this Thai Curry Chicken Soup about once a month. The flavors are so good I happily enjoy bowls of it all week long. The best part? It saves me so much time not worrying about what to eat.
Want to learn how to make it? Check out this new video I made:
Recipe: Thai Curry Chicken Soup
I’m obsessed with this soup! It’s SO flavorful and comforting during the winter months. I make a huge batch of it once a month, pack it into individual containers, and my lunch is ready to go every day. If you don’t like the taste of Thai curry, you can leave it out completely and enjoy it as a classic chicken soup.
Coconut oil, 2 tbsp
Ginger, 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Lemongrass, 1 stalk, outer layer removed
Carrots, 3-4, peeled
Zucchini or summer squash, 2
Cauliflower, 1 head
Baby bok choy, 3 bunches
Red Thai curry paste, 2 tbsp
Skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, 1 pound (Vegan: replace with 2 cans kidney beans)
Chicken or vegetable broth, low-sodium, 1 qt
Coconut milk, 1 14-ounce can
Fish sauce, optional (found in Asian aisle, also called “nam pla”), or soy sauce
Fresh cilantro, optional for serving
Lime, optional for serving
- Slice all vegetables into bite-sized piece. Set aside the bok choy greens for later and chop the stalks into bite-sized pieces.
- Saute the ginger and lemongrass in 2 tbsp of coconut oil over medium heat until fragrant — about 2 minutes.
- Add all chopped veggies except for bok choy greens and a pinch of salt.
- Add 2 tbsp thai curry paste, chicken thighs or breasts, coconut milk, and cover chicken with broth or water. If you’re keeping it vegan, add 2 cans of beans here.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.
- Remove cooked chicken onto a plate and pull apart into bite-sized shreds using two forks.
- Add chicken back to the pot along with bok choy greens and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are bright green and wilted.
- Boom, you’re done! Serve with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Divide up the rest into individual containers for an easy heat-and-serve meal. Lasts up to 4 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Swap in any veggies you like. In the winter, I replace the squash with shiitake mushrooms and sweet potatoes or butternut squash!
- Serve with rice or quinoa to make it heartier.
Question for you: What’s something you’ve tried to meal prep but never ate because it bored you to death? Tell me what it was in the comments below.
I can’t wait to hear from you!