about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Weekly Meal Prep.

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a while – meal prep.  I have never been the type of person to have meal plans or recipes printed out and ready to go.  But now that I’m cooking for a family, and have a lot less time to spend goofing off in the kitchen, I have to do a little more prep and planning in order to keep us eating well.

I rely on a pretty well-stocked pantry (which perhaps I will write about soon – any interest here?), so that we always have healthy options available to us.  But having a pantry filled with grains and other dried things does me no good unless I actually cook them!

And anyone with kids understands that when it’s time to eat, IT’S TIME TO EAT.  Food must be ready to pull out of the fridge or off the stove, and onto plates within milliseconds of the first hunger pang.  Cullen is no longer content to sit and bang measuring cups together while I steam and roast things.

So each week, usually Sunday and Monday, I spend a portion of Cullen’s afternoon nap time prepping food for us to eat that week.  It varies from week to week, depending on what comes in our CSA delivery, or what was on sale at the store, but the basics tend to stay the same.

Here are a few of the ways I prep to feed all three of us each week…

Beans & Grains

I have already waxed poetic about my rice cooker many times here, so I won’t go on and on about it (but you can read about it here if you are new!).  I’ve had mine for years, and I still use it daily, often multiple times each day.

One of my favorite things to make in it is a combo of lentils and grains.  This week we had lentils and quinoa.  For my fellow rice-cooker-ers (?), here’s what went in:

1 cup black lentils + 1 cup (rinsed) quinoa + 3.75 cups water + salt

Cooked on the quick cooking setting until soft and fluffy!  Then I season, serve whatever we might want to eat immediately, and refrigerate (up to 6-7 days). 

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This also works with rice, other types of lentils, and other dried beans.  We all got hit with the norovirus last week, so I also made a giant batch of plain brown rice while we stuck to bland, simple foods.  Into the rice cooker…

2 cups brown rice + 2 cups water + salt (cooked on the GABA brown rice setting because I had plenty of time to wait for it!)

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Stored in a glass jar and kept in the fridge all week to dish out for quick lunches and dinners when nothing else has been planned.

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Fruits and Vegetables

One of the things I make most often these days is homemade applesauce.  I usually make it two times a week, and it still disappears so quickly.  I start by buying the really cheap bulk bags of organic Gala apples at Trader Joe’s.  Honestly, I don’t particularly like the flavor of these apples raw, but they have good flavor and sweetness once cooked.

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I core and quarter as many apples as I can fit into the rice cooker bowl – probably somewhere between 10-15 per batch.  I don’t peel them because that makes the process take five times as long, and I always end up peeling at least once knuckle. 

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Add a little bit of water – maybe 1/4 cup for the whole batch, and either a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick.  Cooked on the quick cooking setting until the whole house smells like sweet, delicious apples, and the rice cooker chimes that it’s ready. 

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At this point you can either mash the apples into applesauce, or leave them whole.  I used to always mash them, but these days Cullen is really into eating them whole, which makes my job even easier.  I know I promised I wouldn’t go on and on about the rice cooker again, but let me just reiterate – for all of these things, I’m not really doing any work (other than cutting up some apples).  I’m literally dumping things into a bowl and pressing GO!  It is every mom’s best friend!

With that said, I should add that these things are also all possible on the stovetop, and some in a slow cooker.  They just might need a bit more attention and monitoring!

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Beyond the rice cooker, I do also use my oven quite a bit.  Every week, I pick up two of these bags of organic sweet potatoes. 

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I slice and chop one bag at a time, and roast at 375 degrees F for about 45 minutes (with olive oil and salt).  Roasted sweet potatoes keep really well in the fridge, and they are generally a well-liked baby/toddler food. 

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I also do this with carrots, beets, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and whatever else I might have floating around my fridge.  The only thing I never pre-cook or cook in large batches for leftovers are white/yellow/red potatoes and greens.  I find they don’t reheat well, or keep very long.

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Last but not least, I always try to have some sort of sauce in the fridge.  This week we have miso-tahini sauce on hand for adding to grain bowls and plates full of veggies.  It doesn’t look very pretty, but it sure does taste good.  In a pinch, I also use hummus for this same purpose. 

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With all this good stuff on hand, our fridge is usually pretty well-packed with glass jars and containers of grains, veggies, and some sort of bean/protein that is ready to go.  This really helps me put together healthy lunches during the week for both me and Cullen (and Casey packs some to take to work too!). 

If I didn’t do this prep work, my lunches would always end up being either cereal or sandwiches, because I don’t have time to cook during my limited afternoon nap/work window.  But instead, I end up with lunches like this – quinoa and lentils with roasted sweet potato, diced avocado, and marinated mushrooms (post on those coming!).

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Or today’s lunch – brown rice, roasted sweet potato, browned broccoli and cauliflower, and miso-tahini sauce.  Looks like slop, tastes like heaven. 

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Nothing groundbreaking here – just a few ways I’m maximizing my kitchen appliances to help me get healthy food on the table more often than not.  I know it’s only January, but I find myself already longing for summer when there is so much less prep to do, and so much more we can eat fresh straight from the produce bins!

But until then, you can find me over by the rice cooker

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124 Comments so far
Leave a comment

HeatherInNY     at 3:10 pm

I am so glad I got a rice cooker for Christmas! I had asked for it after absorbing all your grain-based recipes; this is going to make my life so much easier and more cost-effective. Thanks and great ideas!

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Lisa     at 3:12 pm

I really enjoyed this post. I am a graduate student and meal planning and weekly prep is how I get by. You put up some great (simple) ideas!

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Jill     at 3:21 pm

Yeah-when those little mouths are hungry, food must be fast. I can see why people fall into the fast food trap. Not for me baby, big batch cooking all the way. Sweet potatoes-always! Love your lentil and quinoa idea, never thought about it. I always make them separate. I would LOVE to see a pantry list. Spices included! :)

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Jennifer (The Gourmetour)     at 3:34 pm

I definitely know how this goes! All I literally ever do is front load weekly meals into one day and package it right up in glass storage containers for my clients for the rest of the week! That’s the life of a personal chef though!

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Jan     at 3:36 pm

I’d love to see a post or three on all the different ways you use your rice cooker. I’m using mine for rice and oatmeal. Any ideas to make further use of mine would be appreciated!

I would also like to see a post where you describe the bowls you like to make. It sounds like grain + veggies + sauce. I’m not imaginative in the kitchen. I would like it if you could point out some of the different combinations that work well together.

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}     at 3:55 pm

So interesting. I tend to plan out the week’s meals on Sunday and mostly cook from recipes. One thing I DON’T do very often is prepare a lot of the separate ingredients, like this, and then throw them together in different combos at mealtimes. I like your strategy!

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Meagan     at 3:58 pm

Yes, pantry post! I’m so curious.

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Michelle     at 3:59 pm

I got a rice cooker from Santa – based on your love of it! Im still learning how to cook something simple like brown rice – I still can’t get it right – water to rice ratio throws me off. Unreal.
Anyway, I would LOVE a post about your stocked pantry!
Stay well!

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kim @ vegan mama     at 4:01 pm

This post was really helpful!

Can you write more about what kinds of simple sauces you make to put it all together? I love the miso-tahini one! I’d love to have more sauce recipes that only have a few ingredients.

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Kelly Reply:

I was just coming here to post that same request! I really enjoyed this post, and would love to know more about different sauces keep on hand or veggie/grain/sauce combos you enjoy.

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Kate Reply:

Count me in as a third request for the simple sauces! We have been eating your miso-tahini sauce on basically everything and would love more options, since your taste seems to align with ours really nicely!

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elizabeth Reply:

Count me as your 4th request. Can you also include more of what you do with the rice cooker? Thanks!!!

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Nicole Reply:

I 5th that :)

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Fran Reply:

I’ll take simple sauce requests and a look inside the pantry!

Also, I noticed you mention GLASS jars multiple times in your post. I hate using (even BPA free)plastic because I feel they retain a smell. I have to wash them multiple times if I store something with olive oil in them. Are there other reasons why you use glass?

Lastly-it looks like you use ‘canning’ jars. Do you find food stays fresher if you store it in smaller portions?

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Magda Reply:

Another vote for the pantry & sauce recipe request :)

…and also a vote to one of the previous’ posters request for more rice cooker recipes/uses posts!

M

Kristen @ Change of Pace     at 4:16 pm

I was hoping you’d do a post on meal prepping! It’s so true that when kids are ready to eat then you’ve got to feed them now. I can totally understand why busy moms submit to convenience foods.

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Victoria     at 4:17 pm

Loved this post. And would love to see your stocked pantry post if you do one. So timely for me. Thank you!

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Emily @LivingLongfellow     at 4:28 pm

This is AWESOME. What do you mean browned broccoli and cauliflower? Do you bake them the same way as the sweet potatoes? Also, how much olive oil go on the potatoes? I’m afraid I’d burn them with too much. Do you use a brush to put it on?
A video tutorial on how you cook your vegetables/starches at some point would be great since you cook/bake them so often.

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Gabby     at 4:28 pm

I love this post! I find your posts on everyday eating to be SO helpful. I love your recipes too but I think my favorites are when you share easy weeknight/day meal ideas, because I am always struggling to decide what to make AND make sure it’s easy and healthy. More please!

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sheila     at 4:44 pm

when you put dried beans/lentils in the rice cooker (as opposed to canned/cooked ones) do you have to add more water or let it cook longer than you otherwise would?

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Sheryl     at 4:46 pm

This is an awesome post! Thanks for all the tips… and to answer your question, “yes!” I would be totally interested in a stocked pantry post!
(Also, thanks for your blog – I don’t post often, but am a regular reader, and love all of your kiddoe foodie ideas especially as I have a 14-month old.)

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Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker     at 5:03 pm

GREAT POST!!! I need to get better at meal prep. It’s really interesting to see what you do. I still tend to make things on demand, but Ada is getting ever impatient with me!

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linda     at 5:08 pm

Please keep writing about your rice cooker! I have had mine for about a year and I’m still learning all the ways that I can use it. It is really helpful to just follow your ratios and instructions and to see the variety of foods that you make in it. I plan almost all of my meals beginning with a grain and vegetables on the plate. Our eating patterns are quite similar. I love to see what people stock in their pantry. It’s also fun to see inside refrigerators.

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Leah Reply:

I’d like slow cooker recipes too (I have two crock pots and no rice cooker–yet). I know many of these tips work in both.

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Christine     at 5:13 pm

I never thought of doing that with the apples! My son doesn’t really care for raw apples so I’m going to have to give that a try.

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Katherine     at 5:29 pm

This post made me smile– I LOVE when the fridge is stocked with pre-prepped ingredients and meals! We don’t have a rice cooker, but it is on our wedding registry for May. I was skeptical of adding it (we really don’t need any more gadgets…) but you’ve given me some ideas now! :)

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Emily S     at 5:44 pm

yay – loving all of the posts this week on DG! And this one is full of inspiration. I love the “bowl” you made this week. I love my rice cooker, but it’s not as fancy as yours! Maybe one day I will upgrade.

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Rachel     at 5:47 pm

Yes! All of this is spot on. Just like my house, and we don’t even have kids! Too funny–”looks like slop, tastes like heaven.” I think if I ever start a food blog, that should be the title. :-D

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Lauren @ Eat Like An Elephant     at 5:50 pm

Aside from the obvious that I clearly need a rice cooker, I’m so jealous of your sweet potato cutting skills! Mine don’t look anywhere near as pretty. Maybe I need to hunker down and invest in some better knives? Can I blame it on them??

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Elise     at 5:52 pm

Love the rice cooker! I’m waiting for the day when I’m out of a residence hall and into an apartment when I can really utilize the thing.

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Kelly     at 6:08 pm

Great ideas! Your blog has quickly become my favorite to read! :)

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Leslie     at 6:11 pm

My husband and I both work out of the home during the week and by the time we get home at night cooking dinner is the last thing we want to do. We want to eat and spend the precious little time we have playing with our daughter. So we do exactly what you do! Cook a lot on weekends so our meals are pretty much ready to eat. We might steam some green beans or toss a salad last minute but the big part of our meals is ready and waiting. I would love to see some of the sauces you have on hand… sounds like a really great idea!

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Jen     at 6:25 pm

Great post, I hope it encourages me to do more Sunday food prep. I always want to have rice/quinoa/lentils during the week but make excuses because I don’t want to wait 30 minutes for them to cook.

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claire     at 6:33 pm

have you read tamar adler’s book an everlasting meal? i see a lot of similarities b/t the two of you and i think that you would love the book.

i made your misco tahini sauce last week and it was so tasty! thanks for that, emily! :)

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anon     at 6:36 pm

officially inspired!!! I usually make three recipes a week and then we stare blankly at the fridge on the other nights or have cereal or eggs. These combos would be fabulous. Please, please a couple of sauces to add to the mix and a pantry staples. Thank you emily!

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Lisa     at 6:52 pm

I would so love to see combinations listed in a post about the types of bowls you make…..mostly, it looks like grains, protein, veggies, and sauce. Would love some of these ideas written out so I could plan out some very easy weeknight meals. And, you may have just convinced me to go ahead and purchase a rice cooker. Really love that you can do cooked apples, too! I have some Christmas money still lurking around from my in-laws…..headed to Amazon now! Thanks!

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Becca     at 6:56 pm

Good for you for eating so seasonally!

75% of the time I eat seasonally (root veggies, apples, etc), but 25% of the time 1) get lured in by a supermarket sale, 2) buy an ingredient that is totally out of season but I buy it because I want to make a certain recipe, or 3) I forget (the rarest of times, however. I mostly KNOW I am not buying in season and then end up feeling guilty about it).

Any way, your meals in this post look so awesome and remind me that hearty, warming winter foods are good! I’ve got to remember to enjoy them while I can because just like you are craving easy meals, come the Summer I’ll be craving apples and warming stews.

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Lee     at 7:10 pm

I got a rice cooker as a wedding present. It’s by far the appliance that I use the most.

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Carol     at 7:28 pm

Such great ideas! Can’t wait to try the rice cooker lentils and quinoa and applesauce.

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katie p     at 7:28 pm

any nutrition/food related topics you want to write about would be so helpful! i’m always interested in reading what other people are doing to stay healthy and feed their families. This is a great post!

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Heather @ Heather's Dish     at 7:31 pm

I have been using my slow cooker like a fiend ever since having Weston…I really need to get on the rice cooker wagon though!

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Beth@MotorCityOnMyMind     at 7:42 pm

Thank you for sharing this Emily. I really found it helpful and will use these tips in the future! After reading all of your posts about your beloved rice cooker, I added one to my wedding registry. I got one but I haven’t used it yet (that was in October)! After reading this post, I’m going to pull that bad boy out and hopefully fall in love as much as you have!

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Megan S @ gourmet or go home     at 8:07 pm

I really enjoyed this post and would also love to see a post on your well stocked pantry. I just moved from a very small apartment into my first house and now have a pantry. But it’s empty:)

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rosee     at 8:08 pm

awesome post! i’m always looking for quick solutions to put healthy meals together. i don’t mind the prep time on sundays at all! could you do more posts with the rice cooker and the other magic meals it creates? i’m deciding on whether to splurge on one … would love a post on how you stock your pantry too. any ideas for quick breakfasts? love your blog and cullen is a cutie pie!

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robin     at 8:17 pm

I would love to hear about a well-stocked pantry!!!

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Alex @ Raw Recovery     at 8:21 pm

I can cook apples in my rice cooker??!!?! You have no idea how excited you just got me. It’s because of your post on rice cookers that I got one and fell in love. Then I asked for an even nicer one for Christmas! I looove my rice cooker and I have you to thank for it! :)

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Jessica     at 8:27 pm

Hi Emily, I love your blog and follow your parenting posts as I have a 9month old and love hearing about new mom “stuff”. I stumbled upon Daily Garnish while I was pregnant and comparing my growing belly to foods as well!
Thanks for the meal prep posts and a pantry post would be awesome too. Working outside the home four days a week is squashing my ability to plan for our family meals and my baby is just starting to get the finger foods down. Thanks again!

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Sarah G     at 8:34 pm

Okay, okay, okay. I’ve been eyeing the rice cooker for about sixteen months now (exactly the length of time I’ve been your loyal blog reader), and now I”m a truly convinced that I MUST HAVE a rice cooker. ASAP.

YES, I’m interested in your thoughts on a well stocked pantry.

YES, I’ve been waiting for that mushroom recipe! Sorry to hear you were all so ill. Hope you all are back to 100% sooner rather than later.

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Leah Reply:

Amazon.com has the best prices on them! :)

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Jenny     at 9:38 pm

I got a rice cooker a while back and this has inspired me to get it out and learn more about it. I would love pantry info including brands. We don’t have a tj which is a bummer. I cannot find decent sweet potatoes anywhere. I would also love to learn more about how you store food. What you use and for how long. I know you are busy but love your posts they are so informative. Any and all things you can post are welcomed!

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Tess     at 10:09 pm

I really loved this post- I have to say, your blog has become one of my absolute favorites in the past year. While some of my other faves have become slightly less interesting after a blogger starts a family, yours has become even more wonderful! I’m single and childless but still love the Cullen posts, too, but this one was really helpful for me since life is so busy running my own business. Thank you! Would love more posts like this on how to organize life for eating healthy at home while being so busy! :)

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Rebecca     at 10:12 pm

I’m so happy to hear that I’m not the only Mom cooking up a storm on Sundays so that the rest of the week is easier. I love your sweet potato idea. I’ve been baking them whole but that takes forever and really Molly would love the chunks. Looks like I need to make a trip to TJ’s soon!

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Becky     at 11:33 pm

I am very interested in getting a rice cooker. What is the maximum amount of cooked grains that your rice cooker can make? Also, is there a minimum amount that you have to cook to get a good result- meaning can you just cook one serving or do you always have to fill it to capacity?

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charlotte     at 1:13 am

I would love to hear about a well-stocked pantry! And I’d love to discover more ways to cook with the rice-cooker (basics with amount of water to cook grains would be nice too).
Count me in too as a request for the simple sauces!
One last thing : how do you reheat the roasted vegetables?

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Michelle (The Runner's Plate)     at 2:17 am

I long for summer months because I want to be warm and for the snow to be gone!

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Maisie     at 2:18 am

I’m surprised about the rice – there’s so much about being super cautious about keeping reheated rice because of the rate at which bacteria grows on it. You have no concerns about keeping it a week?

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Charlie (the runner beans) Reply:

as long as you quickly cool rice after heating, and keep it chilled and stored sensibly, it does safely last a couple of days. Having said that I have never had a problem with cooked, reheated rice. THink about all the restaurants/takeaway places where the rice sits out for ages!

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Jo Reply:

Reheated rice can contain Bacillus cereus, a bacteria that can cause pretty serious food poisoning…if you must reheat rice then you have to cool it to fridge temperature within one hour of cooking and eat it within 24 hours, and never reheat twice. Keeping for a week seems quite risky…

But we are mostly paleo in my house and don’t eat rice, so what would I know, huh?!

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Charlie (the runner beans)     at 2:46 am

This is great advice, thanks. i always struggle for healthy lunch ideas and more often than not I opt for soup.

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Caroline     at 3:09 am

Thank you so much for this post. I’m always thankful for food prep post. I’m a graduate student and I spend my sunday afternoon prepping food for week otherwise I would just eat bread, cereals and sweeties. So keep those posts coming!

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Clara     at 4:34 am

Would love a post on the different sauces you make!

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Michelle@Peachy Palate     at 5:00 am

Great post! I now want a rice cooker! Love cooking up my own apples for applesauce – quick and handy baking or great stirred in to oats are yoghurt without the unnecessary additives!

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 5:07 am

I should really do more meal prep over the weekend, but usually when Sunday comes all I want to do is lounge on the couch. My prep would include some major veggie chopping. It would be good to do some roasted veggies too, you can’t go wrong with them!

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Joanna     at 5:28 am

We have a super old (and much loved) rice cooker that doesn’t have many fancy features. It doesn’t have a quick setting — does anyone know if/how we need to adapt the recipes for our cooker? I’d love to try the rice/lentil combo but hate to waste food if it cooks unevenly.

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Chasity Grome Reply:

I do not have a fancy rice cooker, just a plain one with a white or brown rice setting. I often mix my grains when cooking them – any combo of brown rice, wild rice, lentil, or barley – and just follow the instructions for brown rice. Almost always comes out great… occasionally I need to add a tad more water and press the cook button again. Not sure why that only happens sometimes, but either way I’ve never had to throw it away! I like to add my seasonings to the rice cooker too – veg broth instead of water, or some salt, sage, oregano, etc.

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Sarah     at 5:30 am

I loved this post, everything looks delicious! I too am looking forward to summer foods and farmer’s markets but I’m also having a baby in May so I’m going to have to make a special effort to get there ;)

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Army Amy*     at 5:56 am

All these foods look good. You just make it look easy! I have plenty of down time during my days that I could do some prep once a week to save myself the time when dinner rolls around.*

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Rachel     at 6:11 am

I would love to read a post about your pantry staples.

I would also love another (x10) posts about simple meals in the rice cooker!

Thank you for making healthy food so approachable!

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Whitney     at 6:26 am

I’m really hoping I get the concept of meal planning/prepping when I have kids someday because it does not happen now. Poor hubs! :)

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Tracy     at 6:29 am

Yes please talk about what your weel stocked pantry looks like!

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Andrea     at 6:32 am

This post makes me want to go out and buy a rice cooker, RIGHT NOW! I never knew you could cook so much in it! As my eating has been gearing more towards vegetarian, I’ve been increasing my bean/lentil/grain intake and have been wondering simpler ways to cook them (I always just soak and do stove top.

I also cook root veggies in bulk and stock them up in my fridge, as well as a weekly soup that I keep on hand for lunches. But, like you, I CAN’T WAIT until Spring arrives and more fresh produce starts coming out!

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Chasity Grome     at 6:34 am

I want to share with you how I tweaked your miso-tahini sauce! A week or so ago I made some ginger paste in my vitamix (puree a bunch of ginger until it’s a paste – super easy) and decided to add a little to your miso-tahini sauce. Total game changer.

2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp light miso
1/2 tbsp ginger paste
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup water

Same cooking instructions as your original. I can’t stop eating it, especially on sauted mushrooms.

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Joy     at 6:38 am

Last year I started cooking root vegetables ahead of time and now love doing it because of all the great mish-mash lunches I get to have. Like you said, sometimes it doesn’t look pretty, but it tastes like heaven.

I never knew a rice cooker could be so versatile!

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Becca     at 6:59 am

Fun and great post. I am excited by all the options available from a rice cooker!

No pressure, but a suggestion to include in a future post along these lines: do you have any tricks for reheating and making food taste as good as it did on day one? I have such a hard time getting leftovers to not taste soggy or stale. Thoughts?

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amy     at 7:03 am

PERFECT POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Even though you have talked about your rice cooker, it still helps to see how you use it. This is really better than recipes because I think so many people have problems with planning. I know I do. Thanks. Where’s the little boo?

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MH     at 7:16 am

I know cooking from scratch is always first choice, but FYI for anyone with more limited time/kitchen options–Trader Joes refrigerated cooked lentils are AWESOME. they are perfectly lightly seasoned and I often mix with some quinoa or rice at home for dinner in a pinch!

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Kelsey     at 7:36 am

Great post – very inspiring, as I have a 13 month old. Quick question: from the photos it looks like you leave the skin on your sweet potatoes. Does your son eat those as well? I’ve always peeled them out of habit, but if I can cut down on that step of prep work, I’d love to!

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Emily @ MainEats     at 7:40 am

Ok ok-you have convinced me. I MUST buy a rice cooker! What an amazing little kitchen appliance! Also-YES, totally interested in taking a peek into your pantry! Your food is always so beautiful and quick to prepare.

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Katie @ running4cupcakes     at 7:53 am

Great post – thanks for sharing. I am super excited to try apples in the rice cooker. I think my 9 month old would love them. And me too. ;)

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Erika     at 7:53 am

Thanks for all the great ideas! Definitely would be interested in a post on a “well stocked pantry!”

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Shannan     at 8:21 am

This post is super helpful! My husband and I come home for lunch and always wonder what to eat. I usually try and make a big batch of whatever we had for dinner that night, but sometimes its too good and we eat it all :)

Having things prepped to just pull out would make it so much easier!

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Kim     at 8:27 am

Great post! I’m going to start prepping some of these foods on the weekend. Thanks!

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Leah     at 8:35 am

I love nothing more than a fully stocked pantry. I find Trader Joe’s and Wegman’s to be the best for this habit….er…addiction.

My husband does not love quinoa or squash so often I roast or bake stuff for me to have as a pre-gym snack. I also want to try making apple sauce in the slow cooker. Great idea for those bags of trader joe’s apples.

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Katherine     at 8:51 am

I’m intrigued by that miso tahini sauce- looks so tasty!

I’m a huge fan of tahini and I’m always tempted to cook with miso, but I don’t really like miso soup. Do you think that means I wouldn’t like using miso in something like that sauce?

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Dodie     at 9:01 am

Love this post!

Would love to see more rice cooker ideas.

And yes to a pantry post!

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Erin Hack     at 10:11 am

Thank you so much for this post! I bought a rice cooker just like the one you have and I love reading about all the great ways you use yours. I really appreciate these recipes and planning ideas and would love to see a Daily Garnish cookbook someday…. :)

You rock!

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Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health     at 10:21 am

Great tips Emily! Healthy vegetarian food can be a lot of work so any trick to save time helps!

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Chelsea     at 10:36 am

Love your blog Emily! I’ve been reading for a few years, but rarely comment (always reading on my phone). This post was wonderful! Gave me some great ideas for how to streamline meal prep. I make lots of these sorts of food, but take much more time doing it every day, and with a two-yr-old and 4-mo-old, time is in high demand! You’ve definitely made me decide that I need a rice cooker ;).

Question: Where do you buy your dry beans and grains? Best quality/value? Thanks so much!

Have a great day!

Chelsea

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JoAnne     at 10:42 am

Great post. I stumbled on your blog over a year ago now when I first switched to a vegetarian diet. I purchased your rice cooker then and adore it. Thank you for sharing great recipes and ideas for healthy eating. You’re my favorite blog :)

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Brittany @ Kitchen::Candid     at 10:54 am

I just posted about my meal prepping! I do the same thing, using one or 2 days to shop, wash, chop, bake and roast. It saves me so much time during the week and I LOVE not having to be a slave to my stove every day. Plus I consider that to be my “me” time. I find it very soothing to be able to take care of my family and prepare meals that will keep them full and happy.

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Liz     at 10:57 am

It’s always helpful to get ideas from other mom’s meal prep and planning. You should re-do this post when the weather changes and the seasonal go-to’s are different! Also, would like to see your pantry post.

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amanda     at 11:49 am

this is really helpful, thanks! i’d love to read about your well stocked pantry as well….i’v elost motivation these days, so reading about this is getting me back in to the swing of things!

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Theresa     at 12:01 pm

This all looks and sounds delicious! I think I need a rice cooker! Also, I would be interested in hearing more about how to keep a well stocked pantry.

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Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)     at 12:20 pm

Wowza! Never even thought of putting apples in the rice cooker (which by the way, you convinced me to purchase a year ago and I adore it). Definitely doing this!!

Can you start a rice cooker recipe series?! Haha.

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Rachel     at 12:33 pm

Sauces are where I always fall down, which leads to a lot of bland veggie/grain combos. I would love it if you would post about some of the sauces you advance prep!

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Bethley     at 12:36 pm

Bookmark bookmark bookmark! This post is a winner Emily. Thanks. I’ve got a rice cooker, bags of sweet potatoes and TJ’s apples in my pantry right now.

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Cathy     at 12:45 pm

Great Post! I find when I do meal prep on the week it makes the whole week go smoother. Some of my favorites are fritata muffins and grain salads. I love the idea of pre roasting veggies too. Thanks!

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Kath     at 12:55 pm

RICE COOKER APPLES!! Can’t wait to make those!

Fabulous post!

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Natalya     at 1:15 pm

I asked for a small Zojurushi for my birthday after reading your raves about it! I can’t wait to put it to use. I stumbled upon what sounds like a goldmine of plant based whole food (basically vegan) recipes for rice cooker dishes. I know you love your grain bowls so I think you will like this site as much as I do: http://www.karaterice.com/category/rice-cooker-recipes/.

Love your blog!

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Kathy     at 1:22 pm

I wish I could have all things prepped for my week. My problem is “sauces” or seasonings. I’m not very inventive or adventurous and my meals lack pizzaz. My hubby & I work different shifts so having meals ready to go would be such a help. However he is a carnivore and I am a vegan, so even though he does eat some things I eat, he likes his meats! If I could at least fix sides for both of us, meal planning would not take up so much time. I mostly eat what I can grab quickly because I hate taking the time to cook for only me in the evenings!

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Jamie     at 1:50 pm

Great, helpful post! I need to do this kind of prep to pack good lunches for the work week and I will definitely use these ideas! Thanks Emily!

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Jessica     at 2:41 pm

I love posts like this. Thank you! I’m definitely interested in a “stocking the pantry” post as well.

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jen     at 3:12 pm

yes yes yes pantry post please!

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Nic     at 3:41 pm

Shouldn’t cooked rice be eaten within three days, even when properly refrigerated? I am concerned you are recommending keeping it for up to a week?

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Nicole     at 3:43 pm

Long time reader (love your blog!) but first-time commenter and I just wanted to say I really REALLY appreciate these posts! I try to eat as nutritiously and healthful as possible, but I’ve yet to get the hang of enough “from memory”/easy meal prep and this post really helped. Would love to see the well-stocked pantry post too :)

Thanks!

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Lisa     at 4:16 pm

Great tips! Thank you!!! Bf and I are doing a gluten and dairy free month for February and I know the prep and clean up and storage is going to be the hardest part.

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PhillyLass     at 5:27 pm

I, too, would love a pantry post! And I found these meal-planning tips super helpful. One thing, though– the bowl of the rice cooker looks like it has a non-stick coating on it. Anyone know if there is a brand of rice cooker that has a stainless steel bowl? I’m trying to avoid non-stick as much as possible.

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JB     at 8:20 pm

I would love to see a post on how you stock your pantry! Great post Emily! Please keep up the great work!

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sonia s braga     at 7:13 am

Great post. Thank you! Would love a post on your pantry items.

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kim     at 9:50 am

Love this post! And yes to a pantry post, please!

We got a rice cooker as a wedding present in October and I’m just busting it out–I thought I loved my husband, but that rice cooker comes in at a close second! ;)

I was wondering, when you say 3.75 cups of water, is that using the little plastic cup that came with the rice cooker, or actually 3.75 cups of water? I know the measurements are a little different. Thanks!

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Emily Malone Reply:

No I use a real measuring cup! I’ll work on more rice cooker recipes. :)

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kim Reply:

good to know!! thanks so much and excited to see more rice cooker recipes :)

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Briar     at 12:37 pm

Would love to hear about how you stock your pantry. These types of posts have always been so helpful :)!

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joelle (on a pink typewriter)     at 9:00 am

Those apples look so fresh! Do you (can you?) apple pick near where you live in Washington?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yep! But not this time of year. :)

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Leah M     at 10:01 am

Thanks for this post! I love the applesauce idea. Definitely continue to post meal prep ideas and how you stock your pantry.

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Jenna     at 2:34 pm

Thanks, Emily! I always love your tips and tricks for making healthy meal prep easier and toddler-friendly. I work outside the home, so I also appreciate your ideas for ways to make dinner prep during the week a little less hectic. Thank you for your great ideas! Also, I’d love to know what type of toddler eating supplies (e.g. utensils, sippy cups, etc.) you’ve found to be the best. Thanks again!

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Weekend Reads | Healthy Nest     at 10:12 am

[...] and Emily both did awesome, awesome posts about weekly meal [...]

Amy     at 11:36 pm

Wow, loved this post! I have been following your blog for about 6-8 months now. I too have a little boy who is almost 14 months old. I work as a night shift nurse. I have been working 12 hr nights with 2 hrs of commute time every time I work ykes! At least I am driving through the Napa Valley. Well, I am always looking for ways to do fast, yummy, healthy food. I have made all of my own baby food, and we are still breastfeeding and going strong…but sometimes it’s a struggle to find time to cook. I loved the applesauce recipe. Do you have any other quick recipes for fruits or veges in the rice cooker? It would be a big help to me. I will be starting a new job closer to home hip hip hurray however it will be 8 hr nights so I will be working more often (3 nights per week). I just don’t want my health or family’s health to suffer because of my crazy work schedule. Oh, by the way we are lovers of the cloth diapers!! And call me crazy but if we buy real milk I love it to be in a glass container from a local farm :) love your work and thanks for all the good advice.

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Food Piles | Healthy Nest     at 6:01 am

[...] –Brown rice, roasted sweet potato, browned broccoli and cauliflower, and miso-tahini sauce [...]

Jessica HK of Blog-Inspired Cooking     at 10:59 am

Hi Emily,

Thanks so much for the inspiration, I would never think to roast up a bunch of veggies. I roasted sweet potatoes, onion, yellow squash, carrots, and leftover mushroom stems from making stuffed mushrooms. I thought it was excellent, I should do it more often. We had them two times, the first with quinoa and Asian sauces, the second time I used Trader Joe’s horseradish hummus. So delicious.

Here’s my blog post about it.
http://bloginspiredcooking.blogspot.com/2013/02/cajun-sausage-lentil-soup.html

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Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Simple 5-Minute Rice Cooker Meal: Rice & Peas.     at 4:25 pm

[...] up posting them.  I worry that they seem too simple, and maybe even obvious.  But then I write something like this, and you guys rave about how you want more of the quick and easy stuff!  So here goes.  [...]

Molly @ JoggingWithJack.com     at 7:02 pm

After reading about your rice cooker I have been dying for one and got one for Mother’s Day. I just tried out the quinoa and lentil cooking method. Thank you! Great time saver. I am adding to my salads for the week.

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Las Vegas Dryer Repair     at 9:37 pm

Marvelous, what a web site it is! This weblog presents valuable facts to us, keep it up.

[Reply]

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