Meal Prep Sunday should seem like a total dream to a lazy girl like myself. You get all your cooking for the week out of the way on one afternoon and spend minimal time in the kitchen after work. It’s easy and helps you stay on a healthy diet. Despite all this, I couldn’t quite get behind the meal prep craze until recently. I never have quite enough time on Sundays to do all the necessary cooking, and doing a big shop every week can add up. After a week of one too many Seamless orders, though, I decided to give it a try.
I’d been eyeing this meal prep plan from Buzzfeed for a while. It uses lots of my favorite foods and each dish looks great on its own. A few weeks ago, I took the plunge and set aside a few hours to get everything together.
I made a few changes to the plan to fit my personal preferences. I don’t eat a lot of pork, so I swapped that out for a pound or so of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes or corn, so those were out. My local grocery store was also out of zucchini, so I skipped that as well.
My first step when I got home was to get the chickens going in the crock-pot. I consider myself a bit of a crock-pot master, so this was easy enough. About halfway through the chicken’s cook time, I started in on the veggies. The carrots I bought were not nearly as thick as those pictured in the article, but I figured I’d give them a try anyway. I doused the carrots and peppers in oil and seasonings and popped them in the oven on a baking tray.
As this was my first foray into roasting, I wasn’t totally sure I was doing the right thing. As it turns out, I wasn’t. I put the vegetables on a flat baking sheet rather than one meant for roasting, and they burnt to a crisp. Some of the peppers were salvageable, but the carrots were a complete disaster. Rookie mistake, Dow.
While the vegetables were roasting burning, I threw a few cups of rice into a pot. It ended up being WAY more rice than I could possibly need on my own, so I froze half of it. Hopefully it’ll actually be edible down the road. I steamed some broccoli as well to get some greens good to go.
The chicken came out tender and delicious, as it usually does after a few hours of slow cooking. Again, I probably made way more than I actually needed and threw most of it in a large tupperware in the refrigerator.
I ate my first meal, the rice bowl, that night. It wasn’t quite as bland as I thought it would be, as everything was fresh from the oven/stove/crock-pot. A little shredded cheese would’ve added something to it, but I forgot to pick that up at the grocery store. It fueled me up for a night of drinks and comedy with some coworkers and I only ordered one snack at the bar.
The next night I went with fried rice, which is pretty much a staple of my cooking repertoire. The rice took a minute or two to declump from sitting in the refrigerator, but after improvising with some of the chicken, it turned out pretty well. I saved a bit for lunch, but forgot to bring it with me in the morning. Such is life.
After an evening gym session on Tuesday, I wasn’t really in the mood to prep anything for dinner. I ended up leaving everything in the refrigerator and heated up a frozen pizza instead. I went with fried rice again on Wednesday night, as I needed to cook something fast before running some errands. Things were starting to smell kind of iffy by Thursday, so I dumped the extra chicken and rice and ended up making some pasta instead.
So, did Meal Prep Sunday work out for me? Yes and no. I got a few easy dishes out of it, but after a few days, nothing in the plan looked particularly appetizing. I also ended up cooking way more food than I actually needed, and it kind of pained me to throw it out after a few days. On the bright side, I learned from my roasting failure and had a few days of excellent chicken.
I would probably try another meal prep plan before embarking on this one again. Something with less meat and more ingredients I will actually eat. My friend Amanda has made a bunch of videos about meal prep and cooking that have given me some great ideas. As for the Buzzfeed plan, it’s going to take a little time before I try it again.