Meal Prep Round 3: Failures Are Bound To Happen

With half of May behind us, it’s a little bit hard to believe Morgan and I only started our meal prep adventures two weeks ago. There have been so many benefits to making all of our meals for the week in one go that I wish we would have started this a long time ago.

From lowering our grocery bill, to reducing our temptation to eat out or order in, to nearly eliminating our food waste altogether, we have been left with a wonderful feeling of contentment.

My morning routine (I've switched the bagel with rye sourdough bread)

Our bodies are thanking us for designing a healthy meal plan, and as we add a new challenge to each Sunday of cooking, we are finding great ways to fill our desires for desserts without chasing non-nutritious foods like ice cream and cookies. Morgan has taken a liking to eating Greek yogurt with strawberries and walnuts and I really enjoy the quinoa bars I started making last week.

I would be remiss not to mention my culinary skills have been in training for a solid 10 months now, so making the transition to these 3-4 hour rounds of cooking has been relatively smooth. I don’t have to fear ruining an entire week’s worth of meals due to a mistake during the cooking process, which is a fair reservation to have if you’re a hesitant to explore meal prepping yourself.

I would definitely follow the recommendations I lay out when discussing the Nutrition Pillar over on Fitness in Five. You will find some simple strategies to not only improve your eating habits, but to find the beauty and joy in cooking yourself a wholesome meal. There is great comfort going through the entire process of selecting a recipe, buying the fresh ingredients at the grocery store, preparing the ingredients in the kitchen, and ending with a tasty product to consume.

Maple Coconut Oil Zucchini Muffins

Man, I love to cook, but I’m still an amateur. This past Sunday was the perfect example of no matter how much confidence I bring into the kitchen, sometimes things just happen. One of the new meals we were testing out involved the crockpot, which is typically a pretty full proof way to make some delicious meals and this recipe really couldn’t get much easier (or so I thought).

If you take a look at the recipe, it calls for instant rice. Now, we already had some long grain brown rice at home, so we decided we would just cook the rice separately and add it to the crockpot right at the end of the cooking process. Instead, I thought it would be just fine following the directions as is because the cooking time recommendation for the instant rice was the same time it takes regular brown rice to cook on the stovetop.

Unfortunately, this was far from the truth. Rather than spending 45 minutes cooking the rice in the crockpot, I had it in there for two hours, and still had grains that were only halfway cooked.

For some reason or another, the rice refused to soak in the vegetable broth and tomato juice combination. Some grains were completely saturated, while others acted like they were still in the bag they came in. Brown rice has been an issue in the past, so I probably should have stuck with cooking it the way I know best, but live and learn.

Of course, this left us with 6-8 servings of food that weren’t completely horrible, but the crunches of rice here and there were a bit of a turn off. Now, the ultimate question became, how safe is it to consume undercooked rice?

The first answer to pop up online came from Quora and the two answers given were too funny not to share. The original question came from a user whose younger sister had taken a liking to snacking on raw rice, and they were obviously concerned how this might affect their health. One individual who claims to “promote a healthy relationship with food,” finds eating raw rice pretty harmless, while the second responder gives grave warning to performing this act.

But of course, it is best to find multiple sources before drawing any conclusions, so after reviewing a few other online resources, the medical advice warns against, whereas the raw rice eaters out there (just read the comments) claim “it doesn’t harm me.” Now, I am a science first kind of a guy and usually leave the laymen theories on the outskirts of my decision making, but here comes some irrational justification.

First, the rice isn’t completely raw. It sat in heated liquid for two hours (it just refused to soak it in) and the majority of the grains are more than properly cooked. Also, I’m certainly not taking on a habit of eating raw rice as a snack. Once this batch of failure is consumed, that’ll be the end of it.

So, if it hasn’t become obvious, I’m going to be eating the dish with the rice that has the ability to cause blood loss, and I won’t be blinking an eye. Morgan will not be joining me in this health experiment (she’s the rational one).

Some tasty turkey chili

Outside of this recipe, the rest of our menu consists of another new recipe (turkey chili), along with some repeats like the zucchini muffins, brown rice pasta, salmon with asparagus and sweet potatoes, and my usual breakfast (eggs, turkey bacon, spinach, and rye bread).

Before the month is up, Morgan and I would like to consistently have four meal options between the two of us and three snacks. This coming Sunday, we’ll be looking to make some meals that have a component that needs heating up paired with a fresh side that can be eaten cold. We believe this will make our meals feel more complete and more enjoyable to eat throughout the week.

Do you have any recipes you feel would fit this description? Share them below!

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