Monday, March 10, 2014

Food Prep Day

Friends, I've had a revolution.  A food revolution of sorts.  It started a few weeks ago when I read my friend Natalie's post about her grocery budget and making your own chicken/vegetable stock.  I was intrigued.  I am always working towards healthier/more efficient ways for me to prepare food for our family.  By very consciously considering what I'm putting into my body I'm feeling healthier than I have, ever.  Like, even in my 20's.  It feels fantastic (more on this later) and so I've been spending a lot of time lately on meal planning.  One day this week I decided to accomplish a lot of food prep, like making these breakfast burritos that could be frozen for the rest of the week.  
I also took Natalie's advice and have been saving all of my vegetable scraps when I'm cooking, in a freezer bag.  I put them in the crockpot along with some spices and let it cook all day long.  The easiest, tastiest, vegetable broth ever.  I love that I knew exactly WHAT was in my vegetable broth when I made soup with it last night!  No guessing or worrying about what was really inside the cardboard carton from Wal-Mart.  
I also placed a whole chicken in the big crock pot this day, with spices rubbed on and an onion diced and placed in the crockpot.   I cooked this on high all day long.  It smelled fantastic! 

Once it was done cooking I let the chicken cool down and took all the meat off the bone.  I will either use this for cooking this week or put the rest in the freezer.  Then, I put the bones/skin/etc. back in the crock pot, along with some diced veggies (carrot, onion, celery) and a few spices and left it overnight.  

This made the most excellent chicken broth I was able to wake up to the next morning!  
Mind. Blown. 
(why haven't I been doing this before? It is so, so much cheaper and healthier than buying the carton broth!)
If you eat a lot of black beans (we do!) then buying a bag of dried black beans and cooking them on the stove top is so much cheaper than buying a bunch of cans of them.  You simply fill your pot with water and pour the beans in. Then simmer for a couple of hours and you're done! 

I also made breakfast burritos this same day.  It was very easy to get the vegetables and chicken going in separate crock pots while the sausage and vegetables cooked for the burritos.  I cooked 2 sweet potatoes (diced), a pound of breakfast sausage, one zucchini, and onion together in the skillet.  I also threw in some frozen peas and carrots towards the end.  Then I placed some of the filling in whole-wheat tortillas, sprinkled with cheese, and rolled them up.  I wrapped each of them in foil first, and then placed inside a Ziploc bag to store in the freezer! 

They are so good.  I just reheat them for a minute or so in the microwave. :) 
(note to self-include eggs next time! In my productive rush, I forgot)

These are the frozen veggies I put in the little crock pot to make the broth.
Wondering what the little girls were doing while I cooked?  Getting into things in the craft room is what! 
Or doing this.
So the chicken ended up making 3 huge Mason jars of chicken broth, plus all the meat! 
For $5.99.
Friends, that is a deal.


This food prep day took a lot of work.  It was very time-consuming and I realize I could have just bought most of the things I spent making. 

But, hear me out.  I ended up with food and broth that I feel safe using because I know the source they came from.  I ended up with a LOT of food and broth because I took the time to do it myself. 

I'm finding (typically speaking) when I rush my health and stay up too late and don't eat healthy and don't exercise I end up with more free time, more yucky tummy issues, and more sluggishness.

When I take time and slow down for my health and prepare meals, go to bed early, exercise each night, I end up with more energy, no tummy issues at all, and better quality free time. 

I'm hoping to include more of these food prep days in my routine in the future! 
Do you prep food like this?

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