We are sharing our favorite easy meal prep items! These are time-saving prep-tastic life hacks that keep us fit, healthy, and sane.
This post is about a delicious and fast all-in-one container meal that you can make in bulk and freeze. This means enjoying something healthy and filling all month with fewer dishes. Our recipe for Shepherd's Pie is inspired by anti-inflammatory diets, and it has more nutrition than the traditional versions. Bonus!
Kids can absolutely help on this one, too!!!
Only 6 Ingredients
$2 - $4 per serving
Under 500 calories per serving
One dish to wash per serving
No dishes to wash after prep
Ridiculously fast to assemble & cook
Easy to get creative
6 - 7 cups of Organic sweet potato puree ($5)
This could be three or four cans of organic sweet potato puree or mash that you've taken the time to bake. No judgments either way - we do recommend anything grown in the ground be organic, though.
If you want to make your own and freeze a little extra, take three to five pounds of sweet potatoes and place them on parchment on a baking sheet. This will make clean up very fast later! Wash the sweet potatoes Dry roast them for about an hour at 350 degrees and let the sweet potatoes cool. The peels will slide right off, and then you mash them up. Toss out the parchment in the compost bin, and voila! Nothing to wash.
1 pound of Pasture Raised ground lamb or similar ($10)
Lamb is traditional and reportedly less inflammatory as meats go. You can go with chicken, turkey, buffalo - whatever is on sale, humane, and healthy. Humane farms produce better tasting, more nutritious products. Ditch meat entirely for vegetarian options, if you like as long as the proteins are balanced.
1 pound of frozen organic veggies ($4)
All we look for is that there are carrots, peas, and such. Veggies are usually frozen at the peak of growth, so they aren't sitting around a warehouse losing nutrients. Frozen veggies are already cut up, and organic veggies are much more affordable in frozen form. Woot!
1 oz Organic herb mix and 1 tablespoon of fancy salt ($2)
We like Spicely organic herb blends, and we use one package of their herbs fines for this recipe. We like fancy pink or sea salts with better flavor and more minerals. Kosher salt is good as well. Salt to your taste and health needs.
6 - 8 cubes of frozen garlic or organic crushed garlic cloves ($1)
We haven't been able to find frozen crushed garlic that is organic. We buy a package that equals one clove if garlic per frozen cube to use for dishes. This saves us a step, and we don't have a garlic crusher sitting in our sink making our house smell like heck for weeks.
We use 4x 2 cup or 3x 4 cup Pyrex dishes with snap-on lids. They are our cooking and serving vessels. They freeze well, and we have no prep dishes or plates to wash when we eat right out of them. They don't come apart in our backpacks or lunch bags.
When we say 'evenly,' we mean 'even-ish.' No one's being very exact here. Are you excited yet?
- Defrost the ground meat, if needed.
- Set out the garlic to thaw a bit.
- Divide the frozen veggies evenly in your dishes.
- Divide your herbs and salt evenly in your dishes.
- Divide the ground meat and garlic evenly in your dishes.
- Put the lids on the dishes and shake them for about 30 seconds each to get everything mixed evenly.
- Take the lids off and cover the meat, veggie, and seasoning mix with your sweet potato puree. Cover all the way to the edges. This should be up to an inch thick and go wall-to-wall on the dish to seal in the yummy mix underneath.
You can bake these now at 350 for about 30 minutes - or until the meat is cooked through. You can freeze them now and cook them later as well. We like to turn on the oven once a month and not worry about it every day; it's probably still hot from baking our sweet potatoes anyway. We put the dishes on our baking sheet from the sweet potatoes because it makes getting the pies in and out of the oven faster and simpler. This is 2-for-1 energy and pan use, and we don't have to wait for the oven to warm up later. Cook the pies now if you plan to use a microwave later.
Either way, snap the lids on and stack them in the freezer when you are done.
Defrost, reheat, and serve with a side of frozen organic rice if you want a fast and easy carb on the side. There are lots of organic steam-in-bag options in the frozen food aisle, or you can make a bunch and freeze it in single portions on the cheap. You could even add some cooked rice to your meat and veggie mix to make it go further and stretch your budget even more.
It is totally acceptable to substitute, mix, and match spice blends with this recipe. For example, try half of the containers with a Moroccan blend and half with garam masala. Italian seasoning might already be in your pantry! Mix it up to keep from getting bored.
This meal has 94% of daily tryptophan needs, which helps those of us with ADHD make neurotransmitters. There's also a good amount of co-factors like vitamins C, B3, and B6. Want to learn more? Check out our podcast episode: LISTEN: INTERVIEW WITH DR ALICIA ALVARENGA - FEEDING OUR NEUROTRANSMITTERS