The Fresh Letter Menu for September 10th, 2021
Meal Prep Remixes 101!
Have you taken a peek at my latest release over on YouTube yet? It’s a What I Eat in a Week style video where I’m working through a huge family style meal prep over the course of the week. During the video I go deep on a concept on a concept I am extremely passionate about: meal prep remixing. Have you heard of it? It’s basically just a fancy way to describe taking one dish and turning it into something that feels brand new. Think: turning a big pot of refried beans into a bean and cheese quesadilla, whipping up a quick puréed soup with some leftover roasted carrots that are no longer that appealing, or making the spaghetti you have packed away in a tupperware hanging out in the fridge into a spaghetti quiche. What was once old and boring is now new and no longer in danger of ending up in the trash!
You know that potent mixture of dread and guilt you feel when you’ve got leftovers (or meal prep) hanging out in the fridge but you really, really don’t want to eat it? We’ve all been there. And meal prep remixing is the way to mitigate that horrendous feeling— eat the leftovers, but make them feel fun, fresh, and new.
So, for this week’s yummy menu, we’re focusing on this concept. As always, I’m sharing a roundup of dishes that all play well and mix and match together, but I’m also going to give you some ideas for turning each dish into something that feels exciting and new. Let’s get into it:
Pizza Beans (Veg, GF) This recipe is iconic! It’s perfect as it is, but you can do a few fun things with the leftovers—make beans on toast by serving them on a slice of crunchy sourdough (or garlic bread?!). Or you can turn this dish into a hearty tomato-based soup: in a few glugs of olive oil, sauté an onion and a few cloves of chopped garlic, add some tomato paste, a can of diced tomatoes and their juices, some veggie stock (or even just water) and simmer until the tinny taste is cooked out of the canned tomatoes. Toss some baby spinach in there for extra veg. Yum.
Mushrooms with Caramelized Shallots and Fresh Thyme (V, GF) This writeup is all about the various ways to serve and eat this stunning mushroom dish. My favorite idea is to turn it into a fancy tart/galette. Make that process very low lift by using store-bought pastry dough. These mushrooms could also serve as the star in a really yummy vegetarian sandwich: layer bread with some hummus, a little goat cheese, these mushrooms, and maybe a bit of lettuce for a fresh element. You’ll be the envy of your (home) office.
Simple Broiled Chicken Thighs (GF) My love for a broiled chicken thigh runs very, very deep. They are so juicy, flavorful and quick (7-10 minutes in the oven! that’s it!). And they’re the perfect protein mix in for so many things…toss them into a quesadilla! Serve them in a grain bowl with a little brown rice, some crumbled feta, and the brussels sprouts salad below! Or make the sandwich I mentioned above, but add in a few slices of chicken. I could go on and on because the possibilities are truly endless.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad (Veg, GF) Ahhh, the shredded brussels sprout…one of my very favorite meal prep salad greens. But it' can be so much more. Turn this salad into a hash by dicing up a russet potato and cooking the salad and the potato over medium heat with a few glugs of olive oil in a skillet until the potatoes are tender and a little crisp and the brussels have fully wilted. Similarly, this would work as an unconventional fried rice addition. Maybe paired with some chicken thighs? Perfection.
Creamy Vegan Polenta (V, GF) creamy polenta one of my go-to neutral bases for a meal—you can really let your culinary imagination run wild with it, but I’ll give you a few ideas as a jumping off point: one of my favorite ways to eat it is with a roasted veggie of choice (carrots are a favorite) and topped with an over-easy egg. I’m also partial to serving it as a pasta sub under a tomato saucy meatball. Or, this may sound a bit strange, but stir in a little maple syrup and top with fruit of choice and it makes a perfect easy breakfast porridge. Just trust me.
Bacon Balsamic Green Beans (GF) Ever tried an egg served over some green beans? It’s been a go-to lunch for me in the past and I think you’d love it too, especially if you start with these gussied up green beans. If you’re not that into the egg on top idea, I think these beans would also work super well as a mix in for a fancy scramble or a frittata served with some toast.
As always, everything mixes and matches well together, but here are my specific suggestions for pairings (beyond the remixes described above).
I cannot tell you how delicious the Mushrooms with Caramelized Shallots and Fresh Thyme over the Creamy Vegan Polenta would be! You simply must try it.
As always, I want to hear what’s going on in your kitchen! If you’re already aboard the meal prep remix train, I’d love to hear a bit about your go-to format changes—I didn’t mention chopped salad at all here, but that’s obviously one of my favorite ways to use bits and bobs—what are yours?
And if you’re a free subscriber and are interested in upgrading your subscription after seeing what the Fresh Letter Menu is all about or are interested in supporting my work (yay!) you can do so here:
My final reminder for you: Abigail and I are teaching the last in our Say Goodbye to Sunday Scaries summer meal prep series next Sunday and we’d love for you to join us. Sign up here. We’ll be sharing some really exciting news with class attendees first, so join us to be in the know!
Okay, that about covers it from me this week…wishing you a wonderful, well-fed week ahead!
With love and a tip of my chef’s hat,