Meal prepping is so hot right now. However, it is more than a little intimidating to see all those Pinterest mums who spend a day covering their gigantic island benches with enough containers to feed a family of five with three meals a day plus snacks for a whole week. Bonus points if they are catering to some obscure allergy or intolerance. It’s just a little too ambitious for me.
What I’m doing is not quite as strict, but it also ends up working better for me because I am really not a fan of eating food that was prepped six days ago. Basically, I am cooking once every few days, sometimes longer, and trying to have two different types of containers in the fridge ready for us at any given time. So far, it has been great – we are eating heaps less junk food and takeaways (though we really have to work on our tortilla chip addiction). It also helps that we get all of our meat (except for bacon and fish, and chicken which I rarely cook anyway) through a CSA arrangement – it forces me to be creative about meal planning to use what we get, but it also means that I don’t end up getting overwhelmed at the supermarket by all the choices.
The CSA idea is pretty great so far. We signed up for a kilo amount per month, paying six months upfront (though we can change the amount if we find we’re eating more or less than we ordered). Each month, we go and pick up our pack of beef, lamb and pork, plus some free range eggs. The pack contains different things each time, and it’s a way for the farmers to reduce waste by making sure that more parts of the animal are being eaten, not just all prime cuts. We also get some handy things like mince, kebabs and sausages. I also like that we are reducing our food miles, because all of the livestock are locally farmed. The farmers told me about their welfare standards as well, and said that their philosophy was for their animals to have wonderful lives with only one bad day. I have a lot of guilt about eating meat but can’t seem to make the leap to vegetarianism, but it makes me feel better that I can at least be mindful about this stuff through my choices. It is also meaningful to me to be able to track exactly how many kilos of meat we are eating through the year, and what that amounts to in terms of actual animals – hopefully once we’ve been doing it for a while, we’ll be able to reduce our consumption. The only thing I would change about it is that it would be nice to get less variety, but bigger portions – sometimes we will get one piece of gravy steak, which is fine, but I have to stick it in the freezer and wait until we get more portions of the same thing, until I have enough to make a decent sized stew.
Right now, most meals revolve around roasting a piece of meat or cooking steak, chopping the whole thing up and sticking it in a container with various sides. This includes things like black rice, mashed sweet potato, green beans, broccoli, stir fried Asian greens, et cetera. I do need to branch out a bit in this area, but all these things are so easy because I always have them in the cupboard or the freezer. As for the meat, so far we’ve had teriyaki pork, steak, beetroot sausages, lamb rissoles stuffed with feta and pinenuts, and roast lamb studded with rosemary and garlic. It’s been good for me to think of meals in terms of mixing-and-matching proteins and vegetables, rather than sticking to some rigid ideas about what goes with what. Once I’ve got some experience with this, maybe I’ll share some recipes.
Tonight, I’m making my first ever pot roast with a big chunk of bolar roasting beef.
I basically followed these directions, adding in a few extra bits like mushrooms, and I’m really just hoping it will work out. It’s currently bubbling away in a cast iron Dutch oven on the stovetop, making my whole house smell like cozy anticipation. There is a whole bottle of wine and a whole bulb of garlic in there, so if it works, it will be glorious. We will be eating this concoction with green beans and broccoli, but if you’re not averse to carbs, mashed potato or bread would be great. I’ll update this post when it’s done, because I’m sure that the two people who read this blog will be dying to find out how it went! 🙂
Edit: It was good. Definitely room for improvement (next time I will brown the meat more and work on the timing for adding different vegetables, and next time I will not forget to put some potatoes in) but it was really tasty!