But looking back, I was not providing a lot of options for him to enjoy and I was rather bored. There are only so many meals I can whip up in t-minus 5 minutes. When Russell is home from traveling, I am able to whip up a more adventurous dish, but that is simply because he is keeping Ryan entertained outside or somewhere away from the kitchen. If he wasn't home, Ryan would be koala bear glued to my leg having a scream session, and I would be downing a glass of wine.
I had heard great things about meal prepping but just always brushed it off, but I knew I needed to really reconsider it so that Ryan and I could eat some different meals that would normally take me a long time in the kitchen to cook. So, I decided to start planning my meals for the week on Sunday's and even meal prepping to have at least 2-3 dinners on hand, ready to go. I am jumping on the meal prep bandwagon late, but man it has really helped me and it is only week 1. This week, I have meal prepped our Turkey Spinach Nuggets AND a new favorite, Kale, Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole. I made both of these earlier this week, froze half of each in the freezer for another week, and the other half in the fridge to just reheat quickly for meals this week.
I can't tell you how much I have loved coming home to pre-made delicious meals that have already been cooked. Why did I NOT jump on the meal-prep bandwagon sooner? I am already writing down meal ideas to prep for on Sunday for next week!
The casserole dish I made was a recent discovery. It was loaded in veggies and I really wanted us to try it. I tweaked the recipe a bit and it was a total hit... to the point that Ryan ate 2 plate fulls yesterday. Happy son, happy mom. Want to know about the recipe?? Great! Here it is:
Kale, Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 35 min.
- + 1 c. brown rice (I used Uncle Ben's instant brown rice)
- + 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- + 4 c. kale (2 packs of frozen chopped kale works excellent!)
- + 4 c. broccoli (2 packs of frozen steamable broccoli florets works)
- + 1 c. milk (any plain milk works)
- + 2 tbsp cornstarch
- + 1 tbsp garlic powder
- + 1 tsp salt
- + 1/2 tsp black pepper
- + 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
- + 2.3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
+ In a large pot, add your instant brown rice with 1 c. of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, then cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. When done, do not drain water. Let it sit, the water is needed.
+ While rice is cooking begin steaming your frozen broccoli packs in the microwave, when done, set aside.
+ Also, in a large pot, add your 2 packs of frozen kale, cover with water, and on high heat, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Then, drain water.
+ While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Also, preheat large skillet on high heat with cooking spray. Add chicken breast and cook for about 8 minutes until no longer pink in the middle. Stir occasionally. Once done, cut chicken into shreds or 1" pieces. (You can do this before you cook the chicken as well). I used the Pampered Chef Salad Chopper once cooked for easy/sharp shredding.
+ Once chicken is shredded, transfer to pot with rice, along with your broccoli and kale.
+ In a bowl, whisk together milk, cornstarch, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour into pot with rice, chicken, and vegetables. Also add 1/2 c. of mozzarella cheese and mix to combine.
+ Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13" baking dish and smooth it out with spatula. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
+ Remove once done, remove foil and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese. Let it sit for 10 minutes and serve when done!
This dish is great covered in the fridge for up to three days or can be separated into airtight containers and frozen. Thaw the night before you need it in the fridge and then heat in oven or microwave when ready to serve.