Adding Variety to Weekly Meal Prep

Mixing Things Up

Routines can be great. I am a big fan of routines. However, routines can sometimes turn into a rut. I’ve found this happens from time to time for me when it comes to cooking for the week.

I like to keep some kind of homemade meal available throughout the week, not only so I have something to bring to work for lunch, but also so I don’t resort to a peanut butter and jelly every night for dinner.

Most of my recipes revolve around some kind of sautéed or roasted vegetable and a pasta or grain. While there is a wide variety of vegetables out there, I often end up getting the same things — typically tomatoes, spinach, onion, and carrots.

So, to keep from making the exact same thing each week, I’ve started to roast a variety of vegetables at a time to go with some base. That way, I have bell peppers with my rice one day and broccoli another.

Roasted broccoli and yellow bell peppers.

Or, if I want to mix things together, there’s that option, too!

What I used

Roasted broccoli is awesome and easy, so that was an easy choice. The yellow bell peppers at the grocery store looked particularly good, so I decided on one of those. I added a small white potato to add volume and scallion for a subtle flavor boost.

The golden beets also looked especially appetizing. I love beets, but am often intimidated, because they can be kind of difficult to cook depending on the size. The golden beets I picked up were quite small, so I figured they’d be easy enough to dice up without roasting them first.

What I did

Because beets and potatoes are pretty dense, especially when compared to broccoli and bell peppers, I decided to give them a head start in the oven. I diced up the golden beets and potato. The diced vegetables came out to a variety of sizes and shapes. If you want them to cook evenly across the board, you may need to be more methodical with the dicing. I’m a fan of a rough cut, because it adds some dimension,

I tossed the beets in olive oil and salt and pepper. I did the same with the potatoes, but added paprika and scallion. Then, they went into the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Diced golden beets and potato with scallion.

While the beets and potato began to roast, I cut up the remaining pepper and broccoli. I tossed both of those in salt, pepper, and olive oil — simple and satisfying.

After eyeballing the beets and potato, I added the bell pepper and broccoli to the tray. The colorful tray roasted for another 20 minutes or so and turned out beautifully.

Using the Vegetables for Variety

Along with the vegetables, I made a mushroom and tomato brown rice dish for the week, as well. So it doesn’t take up too much space in the refrigerator, I usually dose out two to three days of lunches at a time, instead of enough for the whole week. So, I spooned out the vegetables I wanted, in the proportions that I wanted, and added them as a side to the rice.

Roasted vegetables and rice with mushroom and tomatoes.

For one of the servings, I added only peppers. For another, I added only broccoli. For the serving pictured above, I added a bit of each. Now, all I need to do is heat it all up in the microwave for a minute or so and I’m good to go for a healthy, easy, and satisfying lunch.

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