Culinistas's Kitchen

Meal Prep Tips

by The Culinistas

A new decade approaches, so we’re dishing on our top meal prep tips to help you feel organized and confident when it comes to table time in 2020. 

Keep It Seasonal

It all starts with the ingredients. Shop smart and shop local. The reality of the situation is that if it’s not in season, it’s traveled a long way, so, it’s old, or frozen, or was picked prematurely to prevent it from being rotten by the time it’s reached you. Select the ingredients that look the freshest and don’t be afraid to ask questions at your local grocer. Refer to this seasonality database, to get a good idea of what’s growing. New Yorkers: think collards, root vegetables, and beans. Sounds like a nice soup.

Rule of Six

An excellent dish doesn’t need to rely on a lengthy list of ingredients. Our recipes stick to six core ingredients excluding olive oil and spices from the pantry. Always keeping in mind a balance of salt, fat, acid, and heat when selecting your six.

Leverage Ingredients

In each dish, we utilize the same ingredient in multiple ways to add various textures and flavors;, so mix it up with roasting, shaving raw, pickling, etc! Carry this mindset throughout your menu by planning dishes that use the same ingredient in varied ways. For example, Cauliflower and Quinoa salad and Cauliflower Mac and Cheese; Zucchini Bread and Zucchini Nuggets. Doing this will cut your prep time and your grocery bill.

Make Modular Dishes

Prep up a couple of dishes to mix and match throughout the week: several proteins, grains, and veg options in their own containers so that you can select based on your mood and appetite. To ensure variety week to week, keep the same concept but adjust your ingredients. For example, rotate through your favorite fish week by week and change up the grain sides, enjoying it with kale pesto rice, a cauli & quinoa salad, or charred broccoli with wheatberries and cheddar.

Marinate

Prep dishes that will get better as they sit in the fridge over time. A lentil salad with a lemon forward vinaigrette, broccoli with an herb pesto sauce, and meatballs made with lentils and zucchini in a marinara all do well throughout the week. Sauce and season your dishes appropriately, maybe even a little more than you usually would, to ensure they don’t dry out.

Meal Prep as Meditation

Looking after yourself is not a chore. Consider this time as a guided meditation meant to provide balance & well being. Recipes, after all, are just a list of instructions for you to play with to build your own world. Colorful and beautiful are great pillars to start with: peruse through some food styling inspo beforehand, like the social feeds of Molly Baz, Melina Hammer, Judy Kim, and our very own Kristina Preka. For all our food styling tips and tricks, click here

A special thanks to Nadia Agsen for the beautiful photograph.