As if a date night every night wasn’t enough to do for the year, we are also trying to eat healthier. What good is spending all this time dating and making memories if we don’t live a long time to enjoy them? As Bender from Futurama would say, “Anything less than immortality is a complete waste of time.”
To help us along the way, we decided to try one of the crazes sweeping the Internet: prepping a week of meals in an evening. This date is somewhat time intensive since there are so many steps, but it will give us more time for dates during the week since we don’t have to worry about cooking as much after work.
Part of the fun of this date is seeing all the raw ingredients on your counter. It’s pretty crazy to see a substantial amount of the food you will eat for a week all at the same time.
First, you need to plan out what you’re making. We decided on smoothies for breakfasts and salads for dinners. The smoothie mixes will consist of bananas, strawberries and a frozen berry mix we found at our local grocery store. Those will be prepped and frozen in individual servings, then blended with almond milk each morning. The salads will have iceberg and leaf lettuce, spinach, olives, walnuts, cucumbers, carrots and broccoli. Those will be stored in quart-sized Mason jars and tossed with dressing each evening.
The smoothies were really easy to prep. Cut the bananas up into small slices and toss them into a zipped sandwich bag with a handful of strawberries and mixed berries. Flatten out the bags as best you can and stack them in the freezer.
On to the salads. Usually, the salad dressing goes in the jar first, but we made our own dressing tonight and put in in another container (more on that later). Whatever you put in the jar first will come out last, on top of the salad. It’s a good idea to start with your stiffer vegetables as these won’t get soggy in the dressing. For us, that means carrots on the bottom.
We chopped up about 8 ounces of baby carrots and separated them into 9 approximately equal piles (since we have 9 jars) then dropped a pile in each jar. Next, we chopped up our head of broccoli and again divided it into 9 piles, then dropped those into the jars.
We repeated this process with the cucumbers. For my salads, I sprinkled walnuts on top of the cucumbers. Next, we layered on spinach. For my salads, I added in a few olives on top of the spinach. Lastly, we filled the jars with iceberg and leaf lettuce.
While I finished up the salads, Amanda made olive oil and garlic croutons for us to top our salads. She also made an olive oil and red wine vinegar Italian dressing with garlic, rosemary, oregano, basil, and thyme.
Overall, it took us about 2 hours of prep to make a week of breakfasts, and salads for dinners. It was a lot of fun because we got to spend a few hours in the kitchen together, frequently dancing around the cat who always wanted to be under our feet.
Have you made smoothies or Mason jar salads? Do you have good recipes that we should try next week? Let us know in the comments.