busy weekday meal prep
Samina Qureshi is the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Wholesome Start. Her nutrition practice is based in Houston, Texas and she provides virtual nutrition counseling sessions to clients across the country. Schedule your FREE 15-minute nutrition session today!
It's almost the middle of August and I can't wait for fall weather to finally kick in. If you're from Texas you know "fall" weather really isn't a thing but I am SO over these hot summer days! As we get closer to those cooler days it's time to get ready for back to school season. Whether or not you have kids or are enrolled in school, things just get busier as we get closer to fall. One thing that helps me prep for busy a week is planning my meals in advance. This weekend I made a couple of meals that will take the stress out of figuring out what to eat during my busy week days. These recipes are packed with fiber and flavor. Fiber is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to stay healthy. It helps keep your digestion regular, manages your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and keeps you full!
If you follow me on social media you probably already know that I'm all about my Instant Pot. It makes meal prep a breeze and reduces the time I spend in the kitchen! Yesterday I cooked my daal (lentils) in 15 minutes and I couldn't be happier! Daal is a nutrient rich food that can be eaten on its own or accompanied with a whole grain such as brown rice or whole wheat pita. Lentils are not only a fiber rich food, they provide our bodies with a source of protein, a variety of B vitamins, and iron. Talk about a nutrient dense meal! Click here to learn more about why I LOVE my Instant Pot!
RECIPE: Instant pot daal (lentils)
PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 20 MINUTES
Rinse the lentils and set aside
Turn on your Instant Pot and press the Sauté button
While the Instant Pot is heating up chop the onion into thin slices and mince the garlic and ginger
Add Avocado oil to Instant Pot and sauté onions until light golden brown then add the garlic and ginger and sauté
Add seasoning (turmeric, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, black pepper, and salt) and cook for a few minutes
Add in vegetable broth or water and the lentils, change the setting of your Instant Pot to manual, set it for 15 minutes, put the lid on the pot and switch the vent to seal to begin pressure cooking
The Instant Pot will beep when the time is up and you can carefully release the vent pressure or let the pressure release on it's own
Open the lid and enjoy an aromatic delicious meal
1 1/2 cup Red lentils
3 1/2 cups Low sodium vegetable broth or water
1 Onion, small, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. Ginger, minced
1/3 cup Avocado oil
1 tsp. Turmeric, ground
1 tsp. Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. Black pepper, ground
1 tsp. Salt
3 Bay leaves
Dietitian Tip: Pair the daal with brown rice and sautéed veggies for a well balanced vegetarian friendly meal! #MeatlessMeal
I got a thumbs up from the hubs with this pesto chicken spaghetti squash recipe so you know it will be a crowd pleaser! I love using spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta to increase the amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals in my meals. If you're looking for a way to enjoy some of your favorite pasta dishes without the carb-load, you can try using spaghetti squash to change things up!
RECIPE: Pesto chicken Spaghetti Squash
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 40 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 55 MINUTES
1 Spaghetti squash, medium sized
1/2 cup Pesto
1/3 cup Full fat Greek yogurt
8 oz. Whole milk mozzarella, fresh
4 oz. Basil leaves
1 lb. Chicken breast, boneless and skinless
1/4 cup Avocado Oil
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Dietitian Tip: Portion out the leftover Pesto Chicken Spaghetti Squash into Tupperware for an easy grab-n-go lunch! Also, remember to save your spaghetti squash seeds and make roast them in the oven for a delicious crunchy snack.
Wash the spaghetti squash and place on microwave safe plate
Microwave the spaghetti squash for 5 minutes
Prepare the chicken breast by trimming the fat and cut it in half length wise
Place the chicken breast in a mixing bowl and add the avocado oil, salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Let chicken marinate for 10 minutes
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
Cut the spaghetti squash in half length wise, scoop out the seeds, and place spaghetti squash face down on a sheet pan
Bake the spaghetti squash in the oven for 30 minutes
Place the chicken breast on a greased sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until done
Cut the baked chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside
Take the spaghetti squash out of the oven and let it rest until it's cool enough to touch
Use a fork to scrape the inside of the spaghetti squash to create long, spaghetti like, strands
Put spaghetti squash into a mixing bowl, add pesto and Greek yogurt and mix until combined
Pour the spaghetti squash mixture back into the spaghetti squash shells
Add baked chicken, mozzarella, fresh basil leaves to the spaghetti squash mixture and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do and they make your busy week days a little smoother! I'm always looking for different ways to make daal and use spaghetti squash in my meals. Share your favorite ways to make these fiber rich foods in the comments below!
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