Meal prepping is daunting for many reasons. It’s time consuming, it takes a lot of planning and if you’re a food lover like us, it’s often hard to come up with flavorful meals to prep. As we all embark on our healthier living New Year’s resolutions, we tapped Chef Tim Hockett (M Burger, ASAP Poke, Nacional 27 and Tallboy Taco) to share his tips and tricks to make meal prepping with your family a little less time consuming and a lot more delicious.
“I’ve cooked for LEYE for over 20 years and in that time I have developed different restaurants with all sorts of cuisines like Italian, Thai, French, Mexican, Latin, Chinese and American. I love what I do and I love to cook and eat something new every day,” says Chef Tim. “I realized that when I cook dinner at home it should be less about trying new recipes and more about providing the proper nourishment and sustenance to my family, in a delicious way.”
Here are Chef Tim’s 5 tips to tackling meal prep:
- Write it down. Write down your menu at the beginning of the week (Sunday or Monday) with a meat or protein that you can cook and use in different ways (like a whole chicken). This will not only give you a variety of dishes, but also limit the prep time.
- Choose a great protein. Don’t skimp out on the quality of meat because a great choice of meat will naturally taste better. Look for grass fed, all-natural, organic or farm-raised. Make sure you choose a protein that you can cook in a variety of different ways during the week so you don’t have to bother with preparing different proteins on your prep day.
- Have go-to homemade sauces like chimichurri, pesto, arbol, pico de gallo, Italian vinaigrette. These add a nice burst of flavor and make any meal more exciting. Check out Chef Tim’s favorite sauce recipes below.*
- Make it a family activity. I’ve have found that cooking dinner together can be just as much fun as sharing a dinner together. When you work on nourishing the body as a family, you end up nourishing the mind and heart as well.
- Remember you can only eat what you’ve cooked, and you can only cook what you’ve bought. Go to the store with a plan and make sure you are focusing on your goal of healthy eating while shopping.
“The last few years I’ve been tracking how I feel, specifically my energy levels based on what I’m eating. What I’ve noticed, is that how I feel is more closely linked to what I eat than I’ve ever thought.”
After Chef Tim started to notice this pattern, he began to identify rules for his own body.
“After doing the Whole30 and tracking how my mind and body felt after consuming foods like rice, bread, sweets, proteins, dairy, potatoes and cereals, I found what makes me feel great and keeps my mind energized which is a diet that is lower in sugar and starches and higher in protein and vegetables.”
Keeping in mind how the food he cooks and eats makes him feel. Chef Tim tries to focus on whole foods, tons of veggies, and big bursts of flavor.
Here is are some of Chef Tim’s favorite meal prep ideas using organic whole roasted chicken as the weekly protein.
Pro tip: if you don’t have time to roast your own chicken, pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store!
Chef Tim’s Whole Roasted Chicken Menu:
Whole Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potato Hash, Roasted Winter Vegetables, Arugula, Grapefruit Salad
Pasilla Chile Chicken Broth with Pulled Chicken, Leeks, Potato, Kale, Mushrooms
Shredded Chicken Cobb Salad with Watermelon Radish, Vine-ripe Tomatoes, Roasted Corn, Cucumbers, Avocado/Lime Vinaigrette
Pulled Chicken Lettuce Cups, Pico de gallo, Arbol Salsa, Avocado, Fresh Fruit
Snacks: Hard Boiled Eggs with Chimichurri, Fresh Fruit, Roasted Beet Hummus and Crispy Veggies (favorites include Breakfast Radishes, Celery, Carrots and Cucumbers)
Pick your Protein! Here are a few of Chef Tim’s favorite dish ideas using different meats.
Roasted Turkey Breast (with bones):
Roasted Turkey Dinner with Roasted Potatoes and Winter Greens
Roasted Turkey and Pesto Sandwiches
Shredded Turkey Tacos with Spicy Arbol sauce
Braised Short Ribs:
Braised Ribs with Butternut Squash Puree
Breakfast Short Rib Hash with Chimichurri
Short Rib Quesadillas, Pico de gallo and Avocado
Braised Pork Shoulder:
Pork Shoulder Pot Roast with Root Vegetables (for those with a crock pot)
Shredded Pork with Tomato Sauce, Orecchiette, Parmesan, Basil
Pork Carnitas Tacos with Avocado and Salsa served with Rice and Beans
We hope that these chef tips and healthy dish ideas will help you become the meal prepping master you were destined to be. Happy cooking!
*Chef Tim’s Favorite (and Easy!) Sauce Recipes
All recipes have a serving size between 4-8 people
¼ cup White Onion (diced)
2 Garlic Cloves
¼ cup Cilantro leaves and stems
½ cup Parsley leaves and stems
¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar
¼ cup Lime Juice
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1.5 cups Olive Oil
- Place the chopped onions and garlic in a blender with lime juice, vinegar and ½ cup of the olive oil.
- Blend for a few seconds to chop until the onions and garlic are fully chopped.
- Add the chopped cilantro and parsley.
- Blend for about 15 seconds until full chopped.
- Slowly drizzle the rest of the olive oil in the mixture.
- Remove and stir in the seasonings to taste.
Pico De Gallo Recipe
5 Vine Ripened Tomatoes (diced)
¼ of one Red Onion (diced fine)
1 tsp – 1tbsp of Jalapeno (minced) – depending on desired heat level
4 tbsp Cilantro (chopped)
½ tsp Salt (to taste)
2 tbsp Lemon or Lime Juice
1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Mix all the chopped veggies in a bowl with the salt, citrus juice and oil.
Arbol Salsa Recipe
3 Garlic Cloves
4 Arbol Chiles
2 Guajillo Chiles
1 Small Arbol Chile
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
- Toast the tomatillos and garlic in a pan over a grill or in a hot over until charred and blistered (about 2 – 5 minutes until it starts to blacken)
- Toast the dried chiles in a dry pan until they are fragrant.
- Place the chiles in a pot with water and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer until the chiles are tender (about 15-30 minutes).
- Remove from the water and take the stems off of them.
- Place the tomatillos, garlic and chiles in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Season with sugar and salt.