One of the most commonly asked questions that I get from friends and on Instagram is: How do you meal prep?
The answer is simple; I've created a routine and an enjoyment out of list making and organizing. It's not always a perfect process though. There are some weeks where I am sick of my food by Tuesday and I hit up the grocery store. There are some weeks where I can eat the same meal ritualistically and have it weeks in a row. Ultimately, it's routine that's become engrained in my weekend rituals. Meal prepping prioritizes my nutrition, controls my spending on food, and sets up all my meals to ensure that I will always have something filling and satisfying to eat.
Recently- I organized my meal planning out. As an avid list maker, this series of templates helps me focus in on my meals and parts of a meal I strive to hit. For me, and after following RP, I see the building blocks of meals as protein, carbs, veggies, and healthy fats. In every meal, even my snacks, I try to hit all of these components. It's what works best for me, it's how I feel the fullest, and how I feel nourished. Plus, I always leave room for treats!
The weekly meal plan template below is how I form my meals, I also get ideas from my food shopping list- which isn't a list of EVERYTHING, but it's pretty comprehensive. These are items I buy commonly because they make me feel best and I know they work best with my body. Amongst the foods I try my best to avoid are anything with refined sugars, or anything with an ingredient list that is lengthy and hard to read. I try to follow more of a paleo/whole30 approach to what I eat, but i always listen to my body and what it's craving.
Some examples of a typical meals:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs (protein) and frozen riced cauliflower (veggie), cooked in ghee (fat), fruit(carb), and turkey bacon(protein)
Lunch: beef barbacoa (protein), avocado (fat), mixed greens (veggie), plantain chips (carb)
Snack: deli turkey rollup (protein) with spinach (veggie), oats (carb) with walnuts (fat)
Dinner: chicken thighs (protein), tomato and cucumber salad (veggie) with evoo (fat) & vinegar, and roasted potatoes (carb)
Treat: Enjoy life chocolate chips, nuts
Scroll down for a food shopping list & a blank list for you to fill in your own ideas! Click on the PDF link to save the file.
Open & save the PDF above for some ideas on how you can organize your shopping and meal planning!
Just to get one thing clear- I am by no means qualified to tell you what works best for you and what you should eat. We may also not see eye-to-eye on what the building blocks of each meal are.
This is simply a starting point and an idea that you can customize in your own way. Take it or leave it (but take it hopefully!) Sometimes, all you need is a little guidance in the right direction.
Breakfast game changed forever.
I have absolutely nothing against potatoes. In fact, I love them and eat them weekly. Unfortunately, I don't own a grater so I can't grate potatoes for hash browns. Sadness. On the bright side, I ALWAYS have frozen cauliflower rice on hand. When I say that cauliflower rice is the most versatile ingredient on the planet- I'm not joking. You can turn it into anything you put your mind to (with some limitations).
Cauliflower 'Hash Browns'
1 cup frozen cauliflower rice
1 egg- beaten
2 tbsp tapioca starch
olive oil/ghee for cooking
Microwave cauliflower rice for about 2 minutes until warmed through. Squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can in a dish towel. In a bowl, add the cauliflower rice, egg, and tapioca starch. Add in seasoning depending on your taste preference- I suggest adding lots of salt and onion powder! Incorporate well and form into small patties- this recipe will make roughly 4-5.
Over a skillet on medium-high heat, add enough olive oil/ghee to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot- add the hash browns. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. When the hash browns are done, season with salt and enjoy!
Hello there! It has been quite some time.... Fortunately I'm going to cut to the chase and give you this orange chicken inspired recipe because it's worth it. Sticky, sweet, garlicky, and slightly spicy. What more could you ask for?
On my whole30 journey (blog post in the works) I figured out that there is so much SH*& in everything! It was challenging, but fun, to test out some recipes and make cleaner versions of delicious meals. Here's the best one I came up with.
Easy AF Orangey Chicken
1 pound chicken breast- cubed
3 tbsp tapioca starch or flour
big glug of sesame oil
1/3 cup coconut aminos or soy sauce
1/3 cup orange juice
3 cloves minced/grated garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp toasted crushed cashews
2 tbsp green onions
Heat skillet over medium heat with enough sesame oil to coat the bottom. While oil is heating up, in a small mixing bowl, add cubed chicken and toss in tapioca starch, salt, and pepper. Toss around and coat chicken evenly. Add into pan and cook until a light brown color is achieved on both sides of the chicken. When chicken is done cooking- add orange juice, coconut aminos, garlic, and crushed pepper to the skillet. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the sauce should reduce down enough to coat the back of a spoon without dripping. Serve over rice, cauliflower rice, or your favorite veggies!
This week chewed me up and spit me out. Between the deadlines, the observation, the grading, the meetings- I truly feel like I hit my limit before a breakdown. I spent every spare minute grading in classes, trying to multitask by planning lots of 'silent & independent' activities and crunching to finish the all-so-necessary bureaucratic documents that will help me keep my job. Despite the mayhem of this full week, I survived, got all of my grading done, and I think I did a pretty good job at maintaining my cool while I had one of the most crucial observations of the year. I need this long weekend.
My body feels the stressors of being a teacher. As much as I try to compartmentalize my work and finish it before I leave in the afternoon, my brain still feels the stress and anxiousness. As a first year teacher, I often feel overwhelmed by the expectations, the rubrics, the observations. I feel like if I divert from any perfectly crafted lesson plan to talk about 12 year old things, it will come back to bite me. I'm trying really hard to be reflective from feedback, but it's hard when you don't hear much, and when you do it makes you doubt everything you've put your heart and soul into, everything about the good of working with kids. I wouldn't say that I'm struggling to stay afloat, rather I've plateaued at this point in the year. Long story short, I'm trying to find the balance. It's hard, but I know things will get easier as the years go on.
Needless to say, when my tummy was all twisty and turning before work this week, I wanted something nourishing and filling. Sometimes it's necessary to drift away from eggs in the morning.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Smoothie
1 cup frozen cauli rice
1/2 large sweet potato mashed
1 tbsp maple syrup/honey
3/4 cup almond milk
2 scoops collagen (optional) or any lite flavored protein powder
2 tbsp walnuts or nut of choice
healthy dash of cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch sea salt
3-4 ice cubes
Add all ingredients to a blender and bleeeeeend! It's not that hard.
Add a bit more almond milk if your smoothie is too thicc for the blender (always happens to me!)
You know what herb is underrated? Dill. Dill is pretty dill-icious... ha ha ha. See what I did there.
In other news, I made homemade mayonnaise! What seems like an impossible culinary feat is actually really easy. I followed Nom Nom Paleo's recipe, linked here; you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry. Homemade mayo is cheap AF, plus it literally takes 5 minutes to whip up. Be warned: you may need to call in some whisking reinforcements because there's a good chance that your forearm will cramp up. You could also just use store bought mayonnaise (Chosen Foods is my go-to) and save yourself a few minutes!
Apple-Dill Chicken Salad
1 pound chicken- cooked and shredded
1/4 sweet onion chopped finely
1 gala apple chopped
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup mayo- or more depending on how much mayo you like
1/4 cup dill roughly chopped
2 tbsp chives chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp pickle juice or 2 tbsp relish optional but recommended because pickles;)
Cook chicken so it's shreddable- 12 minutes in the instant pot- then let cool.
Add in all the ingredients and incorporate so the chicken is evenly coated with mayo.
Season to taste- feel free to add more mayonnaise if you want a creamier chicken salad.
I swear this chicken salad is like a fine wine, it tastes better as it sits and gets all cozy in the fridge. It's delicious. Enjoy!
Tahini is my favorite. It can be transformed into something savory or sweet. It's smooth, nutty, and rich. It also tastes good in cookies. And fudge. And blondies.
One day I was sitting on the couch and thought to myself "I want cookies." I always have ingredients on hand, especially Enjoy Life chocolate chips (life is too short to not eat chocolate, let's be real). Luckily for you, this is the easiest dang cookie recipe you will find. If you don't have tahini- you could easily sub in any nut butter. If you don't have coconut sugar, you can also use brown sugar. The options are limitless, all you need is 20 minutes from start to finish until you have the crunchiest, nuttiest, caramelized cookies.
1 cup tahini (straight up ground sesame seeds- no added oils!)
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sea salt & some cracked on top
Beat egg, combine rest of ingredients into a bowl and mix through.
Scoop onto baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes or until golden on the bottom.
**Depending on which type of tahini you use, the batter may be a little oily. Trader Joe's tahini is the best, Sesame King tahini is a much more runny, but I added a couple extra minutes in the oven and still resulted in the same crunchy, nutty cookie!
By the way...these cookies are Dylan approved. I caught him in the act of eating 3 cookies in one sitting. Must be tough to live with someone who keeps baked goods readily available. Enjoy my friends!
I swear...whenever I go to Trader Joe's I pick up a bag of cauliflower rice. Eventually, I end up with a freezer full of cauliflower rice and no idea what to do with all of it besides throw it in a smoothie.
Truth be told- I'm not a fan of using cauliflower rice as a 'rice' substitute. I prefer a big ole scoop of jasmine rice to a cauliflower anyday. To give cauliflower rice some credit- it is mild and malleable enough to blend in with anything and you can't taste it. So, my craving for creamy, tasty hummus and a bag of cauliflower rice was enough to spark the creative juices in my head. "Dylan has 64 oz of tahini, I have lemons to use...." I knew a hummus would be in the works. Behold...the hummus without chickpeas, but with tons of fresh flavors.
1 cup frozen cauliflower
2 tbsp tahini
juice 1/4 lemon
1 small clove garlic
2-3 tbsp water
Heat up cauliflower rice until warm, don't drain any excess liquid.
Add all of the ingredients to a blender/food processor.
If mixture is too solid, add in water 1 tbsp at a time until it reaches a creamy consistency.
Be sure to scrape down the sides of your blender/food processor to get all the ingredients incorporated.
Serve with naan, pita, or veggies! Keep refrigerated.
I'm a creature of habit and I've made this twice already. Each time I have to remind myself that there's no chickpeas, but it's still so creamy and tangy. Enjoy!
There's something about goat cheese. It's tangy, soft, and oh so creamy. It makes eggs, pasta, crackers, and even vegetables taste damn good.
One day I was scavenging for food to eat in my fridge; I quite literally had nothing left but some leftover roasted broccoli, goat cheese, and eggs. I thought about making a frittata, or something else with the eggs as the centerpiece of the dish, but when it's night time, eggs are necessarily satisfying. I heated up the broccoli, smashed it, added in a hunk of goat cheese, and seasoned it up. Plopped little balls of the mixture on the baking sheet and tossed it in the oven until it got crispy. Viola. Broccoli & goat cheese bites.
You will want to eat all of these in one sitting- the crispy broccoli, the caramelized bottom, the tangy garlicky center.
Broccoli & Goat Cheese Bites
1 1/2 cup cooked broccoli (steamed/roasted)
3 tbsp goat cheese- or more!
2 tbsp almond meal
2 tbsp coconut flour
1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat up broccoli until warmed through
2. Add in goat cheese to warmed broccoli and smash until smooth
3. Crack an egg into a bowl- whisk....add into broccoli and goat cheese mixture
4. Add in 2 tbsp almond meal
5. Add in coconut flour 1 tbsp at a time- you'll need about 2 tbsp to get a thick consistency
6. Season with a ton of garlic, salt, and cracked pepper
7. Scoop into small hunks- lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and press them down a bit.
*Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes
*Flip about halfway through or until the first side gets golden
Store in fridge- warm up to eat and dunk in marinara sauce or pop straight into your mouth!
I've already made these twice and I swear they didn't last more than a day. It's the perfect way to use up vegetables, serve as an appetizer with friends, or mask the taste of veggies for kiddos. Enjoy!
Every night I need something chocolate-y. Whether it's a little cup of chocolate chips & nuts, a smoothie with cocoa powder, or hot cocoa- my day is not complete without satisfying my sweet tooth. I learned that I'm better off eating a small amount of chocolate every night instead of waiting for 'treat night'. Not only is it something to look forward to, but it helps to keep balance in my life.
Seriously though, who doesn't love hot chocolate? There's something so warming and relaxing about sitting down with a frothy, creamy, slightly sweet mug of cocoa. Unfortunately, the ingredients in cocoa are not so loveable.
In 2019 I plan to clean up what I'm eating to more simple and wholesome ingredients. I'm hesitant to say that I'd like to follow a strict paleo plan, but I've been looking more and more into the benefits of eating paleo and the incredible effect it has on your body. Since my student loans are kicking in in April, it will be easier to stick to a list of simple ingredients- meats, veggies, and fruits, that I can budget out. With that being said, if you are looking for a healthier alternative to a treat with clean, simple ingredients- look no further!
1 cup almond milk or any other nut/dairy milk
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp coconut oil (adds richness)
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
dash of sea salt
dash of vanilla
scoop of collagen (optional but adds extra protein and creaminess)
*add ins: a couple shakes of chili powder OR cinnamon
Heat up almond milk & water for 2:30
Add ingredients into blender and blend until incorporated
Enjoy with add ins for additional soul-satisfaction!
To say that it has been a while would be an understatement. It's been months since posting on here. In fact, this site recently went inactive because I forgot to renew my subscription to weebly. I felt guilty, like I was letting go of a child when I was notified that "the domain ashleys-plate is inactive". Even more guilty when the web link showed nothing but a blank screen, unable for the Internet to process. I felt crushed and at a loss- what if all of my content was erased forever? Especially from the Hungry College Girl? I couldn't give up on something that has been with me since my second year of college, something that has evolved with me as a person venturing through life.
So here I am. And a bit has changed since my last post on here.
I also discovered that Polish cider is the most delicious, refreshing drink in existence. Like...crave-worthy. And I never crave/want alcohol. (The middle photo was the best- I had 4 of these bad boys).
Aside from frolicking around Eastern Europe for a couple of weeks- I spent the rest of the summer working and going on trips up to Maine with Dylan. We, quite literally, ate our way through Maine. Plus, it was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable summers I've had in a long time.
Enjoyable yes. Stress free, no. I applied to over 50 teaching jobs during the summer. I heard nothing but denials; I couldn't even get an interview. I felt disheartened, but accepted that I was already hired as a long-term sub. It was not ideal, but at least I had a job.
It wasn't until the first week of August when I got a text from one of my coworkers telling me to check Schoolspring for a job posting in the school I was working in. I applied immediately and got an email for an interview a few days later when I was in Maine. Dylan drove me all the way home for the interview (2 1/2 hours), then we drove back after leaving the school. Of course I had NO cell phone/wifi service the next day- leaving me anxious for a phone call to find out if I got the job. Somehow the AT&T gods gave me service for about 10 minutes, enough to allow the call to come through from my principal- telling me I got the job. I was THRILLED! Who gets hired fresh out of grad school for their first teaching job? What are the chances!? I finally felt at ease by the end of summer. Plus, I already knew many of the people I would be working with- including one of my good friends from graduate school. I also learned that my classroom is the "nicest room" and "well decorated". I poured my soul into my bulletin board and plastered my walls with travel pictures and postcards.
A lot has changed since the Hungry College Girl back in 2014. I have my BA, my MA, and my dream job as a Social Studies teacher. For once in my 23 years I feel like I've accomplished something. Stay tuned for more ranting about life and recipes! Dylan and I have a nice kitchen ;)