Does anyone else feel like it’s been January for a thousand years? It’s not that it’s been dragging, but when I think about what I did the first week of the month, it feels like it’s been a lifetime. I think that was the week I made mac and cheese? I think I went to Zoolights? And now this is my third meal prep post? Crazy! Anyway, one of the common comments that has come up when I talk about my meal prep has been “I don’t know if I could eat the same thing every day”. I get that. Not everyone is a creature of habit as much as me. So this week is all about having different stuff daily! Please enjoy the $60 buffet meal prep.
Reflections on Last Week
In last week’s post, I spoke about how having the special meals from Hello Fresh would be delicious and give my week variety. They were delicious, though I must admit that the Fattoush-Inspired Salad would have been better not to have as leftovers. (Important note that everyone needs to know – you cannot reheat toasted pita in the microwave. Learn from my mistakes.)
I still had one of the enchilada leftovers on Monday when I babysat Rylee and it was a lifesaver. Leftovers are so good when you can’t be in your own home for dinner.
What I’m Using Up This Week
Okay, I didn’t really expect to have a lot of inspiration from last week to inform my meal plan for this week and my expectations definitely were accurate. Here are the things leftover from last week that I definitely wanted to use up this week:
- A can of chickpeas (why did I buy so many chickpeas)
- Two pears from last week that I hadn’t eaten yet
- Almost all of the panic carton of eggs
How I Spent $60 on Groceries
As suggested from the list above, I didn’t have a lot leftover after a week of meals supplemented by Hello Fresh. I had a few ideas of what I might want to make, but I also saw this week as a bit of a pantry restock opportunity. A big shop that could feed over onto next week. Here’s how it broke down:
- A can of artichokes ($3.49)
- Black garlic ramen ($4.99) – this wasn’t on the list, but it’s a favourite of mine and I hadn’t seen it at Superstore before
- A block of Old cheddar cheese ($5.47)
- Frozen Bangkok blend vegetables ($3.49)
- Frozen broccoli ($3.69) – Green giant is better than PC because the pieces are smaller
- Frozen peas ($3.79)
- Frozen corn ($3.79)
- Oat milk eggnog ($0.54) – another impulse purchase
- 1 bag spinach ($3.99)
- 1 small carton cremini mushrooms ($3.00)
- 1 bag of mini potatoes ($3.99)
- 1 bag of broccoli slaw ($3.99)
- 1 carton of grape tomatoes ($4.00)
- 2 celery sticks ($0.53)
- 4 ambrosia apples ($2.62)
- Green beans ($1.80)
- Brussels sprouts ($2.55)
- Tortillas ($2.88)
Total with tax: $60.83
This is a lot of fresh ingredients and I suspect a lot of it will also roll over into next week. I usually find that produce, especially the heartier vegetables, will stay good in my fridge for at least a week and a half, so I don’t mind “overshopping” a bit in situations like this.
My $60 Buffet Meal Prep
First of all – what is a buffet meal prep?
Great question! It is when you prep individual ingredients ahead of time so you can combine them in different ways throughout the week. I cheated a little bit by fully constructing my lunches because I know for a fact that I will not make a lunch on the day I eat it, but I did combine various ingredients from my week into two different lunches.
So what all did I make for the week?:
- 4 servings of ramen noodles
- 4 servings of rice
- Roasted half a can of chickpeas
- Tossed half a can of chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice and spices
- Roasted broccoli
- Roasted carrots & onions
- A jar of stirfry sauce to keep in the fridge (soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, sriracha)
Please. Y’all know this one by now. I will be making savoury oats and may supplement with some muffins from my freezer if I run out of any elements or get bored.
On Friday I’ll be going out for a work lunch, so I only needed to prep four lunches.
For the first lunch, I used two servings of the noodles I had prepped earlier, the tofu I bought in Week One, and the Bangkok vegetable blend to make a variation on The Londoner’s Travelling Noodles. This is a lunch that I’ve been throwing together from whatever I have in my fridge for years. It’s cheap, delicious, and relatively easy as long as you have access to a kettle to boil water in your workplace.
For the second lunch, I used the marinated chickpeas, the can of artichokes, some of the cherry tomatoes, and a few ingredients from my pantry/fridge to make a half portion of Girl on Bloor’s Mediterranean Chickpea Salad. I ended up throwing in some vegan feta to up the protein and I served it over spinach. I also definitely should have had fresh parsley because something was not quite flavourful enough… but that was my fault. The salad was much better on Thursday than on Tuesday once the flavours had really combined.
This is where I don’t really have a lot to share! I’m just going to see what I feel like having all week, as I go along.
On Tuesday, I sauteed some tofu and green beans in cooking oil, jarred garlic and red pepper flakes. I then threw a few handfuls of the broccoli slaw, a serving of the noodles and some frozen corn into the frying pan with some of the stirfry sauce. Delicious.
On Wednesday, I re-heated some broccoli and the carrot/onion mix, then put it in a warm tortilla with the vegan feta to make roasted veggie tacos. Also delicious.
If I feel like a stirfry on Friday, I’ll probably do that with the rice, but I may pivot to do more of a Buddha bowl style instead with the roasted chickpeas. The world is my proverbial oyster!
I have no oysters, though.
Fruit and the snack packs, as always.
Final Thoughts on my $60 Buffet Meal Prep
I have too much food. Haha. That is my only thought. I am spiralling about how much food I actually have.
I’m already thinking about how I can repurpose some of this stuff for next week to keep the costs super low and easy in the last week of January. Stay tuned to find out – and check out my Instagram stories to see how I’m combining these ingredients to make dinner!