“With the constant schedule juggling that we all do, meal planning and meal prep are invaluable skills to master if you want to avoid eating takeout every night,” America’s Test Kitchen.
When I first saw The Ultimate Meal Prep Cookbook I was really intrigued by it’s promise of “one grocery list, one week of meals and no waste.” We all want to make our grocery shopping and meal planning easier so we know what’s for dinner.
I have been meal planning for a really long time and find when I don’t that my eating tends to be a little strange. Some nights if I am on my own I will just eat cereal.
The plans in this cookbook are broken up into weekly meal plans. I love the setup and how they show what you need from the store and what you will need from your pantry, it simplifies grocery shopping.
Skirt Steak with Pinto Bean Salad
Confession I don’t like beans in pretty much anything and I mean any kind of beans. Trying this recipe really pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I decided to make the pinto bean salad earlier in the day since it said it could be made up to three days ahead. Imagine my shock when I tasted it and I really liked it. The recipe was easy and quick to make. For the skirt steak I had a really hard time finding a really good piece of skirt steak, our grocery store meat is getting so picked over lately. The one I bought was so chewy after cooking which was a bummer.
I loved the seasoning on it and for sure will try the seasoning again on another piece of meat. The pinto bean salad is great with the steak and would be a fantastic simple side to bring to a bbq. Definitely a recipe I will keep handy.
Shrimp and Orzo Risotto
I made risotto from scratch for the first time this past year, it was straightforward but really time consuming. This recipe used orzo instead of rice which makes it a lot easier to make. The first important thing to know is that orzo is with the pasta – something I forgot when I was in the grocery store and had to use the store app to find what aisle it was on.
One of the biggest differences with this recipe and a traditional risotto recipe is that you add all the broth at once. I was worried it wasn’t going to get absorbed but I just let it cook for the time in the recipe and it was perfect in the end. For the shrimp I decided to use precooked frozen shrimp as I had them in my freezer. All I did was defrost them as usual under the cold water and then added them in the last two minutes of cooking to warm them through.
I did have two large helpings of the Shrimp and Orzo Risotto as it was so delicious. I will make it again soon for sure. One change I will make is grating the lemon zest directly into the finished risotto. This time I had grated it ahead of time and just poured it in but it sort of stuck in clumps next time I will just grate over the dish.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Shallots
Pork tenderloin is one of those meats that often gets overlooked by a lot of home cooks. It is always simple to cook but I rarely make it myself.
The recipe is very simple and easy to make. It only has nine ingredients and six of those are pantry staples in my house. The dish takes about thirty-five minutes to make. I cooked the pork in the oven for 15 minutes and it wasn’t to the correct temperature so I put it back in for another 5 minutes. Make sure if you do this to really watch it as mine got a little more done, but luckily the meat was still juicy and delicious.
The apple and shallot mixture was bursting with flavor. I loved this whole dish and will definitely make it again.
Cod Baked in Foil with Leeks & Carrots
Fish is such a great dish to have for your health but I rarely make it. The recipe is simple and straight forward. What I didn’t have in the pantry was easy to find even the leeks, although the cashier couldn’t find leeks in their system – I had to let him know they are a type of onion.
This dish is quick to put together and cooks quickly in the oven. The fish came out the perfect texture and I really enjoyed this dish. However, I think next time I will try it with a fish that has a little more flavor such as sea bass. I had never had leeks like this and they were also delicious, I could have eaten more of the veggies for sure!
Overall I love The Ultimate Meal Prep Cookbook. The cookbook is set up in a way to make it super easy and convenient to decide what to have for dinner this week. Just pick a week and copy down the shopping list. Plus it even tells you what you can prep ahead to make your dinners quicker to make.
The recipes are detailed and very easy to follow for any level home chef. I can’t wait to try more recipes and meal plans from The Ultimate Meal Prep Cookbook. What week are you going to try first?