Streamline your summer meals
Tips from Health & Fitness Chef Yvette Taylor
It’s finally here! And after the winter we had, the last thing you want to do is spend hours in the kitchen! Enjoy a few meal prep tips I use to keep my clients’ week organized and healthy meals at their fingertips.
[box]Sweet Summer Corn & Edamame Salad with Basil-Yogurt Dressing
- 4 ears of corn (husks removed), or 1 ½ cups sweet corn
- 1½ cups frozen edamame
- 1 large red bell pepper, small dice
- ½ small red onion, finely diced
- 2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
- Yogurt Basil Dressing
- ¼ cup Greek Yogurt (I like Fage)
- Juice of 1/2 lime (more to taste)
- 1 T organic honey
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- Pinch kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 T olive oil
- About ¼ cup sliced fresh basil (more if desired)
Grill corn ears until lightly roasted. Cool and slice corn off the cob. Alternatively, you can use plain corn (frozen and thawed) or toast kernels in the oven at 400° for about 20 min until golden brown).
Mix edamame beans, bell pepper, red onion, scallions and corn in a large bowl.
In a small bowl (or mini food processor), whisk dressing ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste.
If serving immediately – Start with a few tablespoons of dressing and toss well to coat. Add more if needed.
Storing – Keep salad in the refrigerator undressed in an airtight container (preferably glassware) up to 4 days. Portion and dress as needed.
Chef’s Tip: Soak ½ red onion in a small bowl of ice water for 5 min, drain and then dice. This will eliminate the ‘sting’ of red onion that can overpower the delicate flavors of salads.[/box][box]
For green salads with grains (like the Strawberry Arugula Salad below) you can lightly dress the grain only and toss in the salad, then add more dressing when serving.
Grain Bowls – I like to keep one container of a plain grain made with water (like quinoa) that can be mixed with anything for a quick meal or breakfast instead of oatmeal. Any left after a few days, I use to make veggie quinoa patties with other items from the week. Other grains that work great are barley, farro and pearled couscous. Cauliflower ‘rice’ bowls are nutritious grain-free alternative and make a delicious stir fry.
Vehicles – Think about healthy vehicles for serving your mains that can also accompany other meals for the week. For example 6 in whole grain tortillas make a healthy chicken wrap for lunch, fish tacos with fresh salsa, fruit + cheese quesadillas as a snack for the kids (like peach + brie or a mild goat gouda. Keep these in your refrigerator “Snack Bin”).
Spiralized Veggie Noodles – Spiralized noodles are more popular than kale these days and with good reason! They are simple, quick, fun to make and a super healthy way to replace pasta in countless dishes. I keep several different types of spiralized veggies in my own refrigerator either in Ziploc bags or glassware containers. Chef’s Tip: Line the Ziploc bag or container with a paper towel to help absorb additional moisture and your spiralized veggies will last up to 5 days. I find these hold up best: zucchini noodles, summer squash, carrot noodles and sweet potato noodles. Grab and toss with anything from pesto to a quick Asian ginger soy dressing. My favorite spiralizer is the Paderno Spiralizer by World Cuisine. I have tested several brands including the hand held Veggetti (which is ok if you want to have a portable tool but the way it cuts leaves the veggies extra wet. Too wet for my taste, but perfectly fine.
- For weekly meals in the refrigerator, I like any glassware containers with matching lids (like an assortment of sizes in the Pyrex storage sets). It does not have to be the Pyrex brand, but I do find their pieces fit really nicely in today’s most popular refrigerator designs. Some days I think I like collecting Pyrex more than shoes! Plastic containers are ok, but we all know those lids end up with the mystery socks from laundry…
- If you are a working professional and like to take your healthy lunch and snacks with you to work, I am a fan of these stylish 6 Pack Bags (by 6 Pack Fitness) that are insulated and keep lunch and healthy snacks fresh and cool for long days. Especially great if you are training for a marathon or another event and like to have your healthy food with you. You can fit 1-2 meals or more plus healthy chopped veggies, fruit, snack bars and more.[/box]
Yvette also offers meal planning and recipe writing services for busy households and nannies as well as weight loss and maintenance coaching. Please feel free to contact her with any questions.