30 Minute Meal Prep and The Easiest Tomato Soup Ever

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Does it take a lot of time and effort to eat healthy? Yesterday someone mentioned to me that they never have time for it and it’s faster to get take out. I replied that it really doesn’t take that much time once you get the hang of it. You just have to figure out a process that works for you. In less than 30 minutes last night, I was able to make 2 weeks worth of meats, pack lunch and snacks for the next day, and throw dinner too. Nothing was boxed and everything was homemade.

Cook once and eat multiple times. It takes the same effort to make 2 weeks worth of chicken breasts as it does for a single breast. Take advantage of this and save yourself time and effort. I know some of you may be struggling with exactly how to implement a magical multitasking plan so I wanted to lay out exactly what I did as an example. It takes a little bit of trial and error to get it right so you may not hit the 30 minute mark the first time or two. Keep at it because it gets so much easier!

The first step is to get out everything that you need at the beginning so that you don’t waste time running back and forth from the pantry to the counter to the fridge. I got out the following things:

  • A package of raw chicken breasts
  • A package of raw thinly sliced sirloin steak
  • Ingredients for the soup below
  • A bag of precooked pasta noodles that I had leftover in the fridge
  • Fruit, veggies, greek yogurt and nuts for lunch
  • Plastic containers and ziploc baggies

And now here is what I did:

  1. Preheat your grill and come back inside to dice your onion. Add olive oil to pot over medium heat and add the onion/garlic to start sauteing. You can also use the broiler for your chicken but I love the taste off the grill. Mine is propane so I don’t wait for coals to prep themselves.
  2. Put chicken breasts on the preheated grill. Come back in and start packing lunches and snacks while stirring the onion as it cooks. I dropped a banana into my lunchbox, and sliced up a tomato and cucumber. Pack servings of the veggies, yogurt and nuts in the baggies and containers.
  3. After about 10 minutes, add the other ingredients to the soup pot. Go outside and flip the chicken over.
  4. Come back in and slice 1 pound of steak for stir fry. Stir fry the steak in a pan while the soup simmers for about 10 minutes. Once the steak is done, let it sit while you finish up.
  5. Head back outside and check the chicken. Most likely it’s done by now so you can bring it back inside on a big plate to cool a bit.
  6. Add either a serving of chicken or a serving of steak to bowls and ladle the soup over top. I also added the cooked pasta noodles to The Kid’s soup. Sit down and eat dinner.
  7. After dinner, pack plastic containers with the chicken and steak for lunches. Drop the rest of the chicken into plastic bags – one for the fridge with this week’s chicken and others to throw into the freezer for later. Pack the leftover steak in a bag for leftovers too.
  8. Load the dishwasher with the dishes, put the containers into the fridge/freezer, give the kitchen a spritz down with cleaner and you’re done! The rest of the week you can pull out the bag of chicken or steak and add it to whatever you’re having that night for dinner. Wraps, BBQ chicken, salads, soups, stir frys and more.

I decided to make tomato soup for dinner last night since it’s simple to throw together and I had everything on hand already. I served our soup with the steak bits but you could also use shredded chicken instead, or serve with a side of a grilled cheese sandwich or garlic bread. The Kid also enjoyed hers with the pasta noodles since she’s a pasta addict. If you like a spicier version, you can add crushed red pepper or even make a Mexican version. The combinations are endless and all of them are so simple to throw together.

Rustic-Tomato-SoupEasiest Tomato Soup Ever

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until cooked thoroughly. I use the jarred minced garlic to save time, but you can dice fresh cloves if you prefer. Once the onion and garlic are cooked, add the can of tomatoes, chicken broth and basil.

I used the leftover chicken broth that I had from another recipe. If you want a soup with more liquid, you can add more broth or even water. Bring to a simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Makes 4 huge servings at approximately 70 calories each.

The soup was really good and couldn’t be much easier to throw together than that.

So that’s my process in a nutshell. You could also make a big batch of rice in a steamer, boil pasta, microwave potatoes, and chop additional veggies to have on hand for later as well. The more you do at once, the better prepared you are for later when you’re tired, hungry, and need dinner on the table fast.

I you have questions, give me a shout and I’ll try to provide more details or helpful tips. It would definitely take more time to stop for fast food, wait for a pizza, or heat up a casserole. Plus you get the added benefit of tons of leftovers for later and healthy meals.

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