I recently hosted another meal prep workshop and decided to change up some of my recipes. The hit of the workshop seemed to be this deliciously creamy peanut sauce. An attendee that is a tentative veggie eater claimed-"Sauce can make veggies good!" I count this as a BIG win!
Quickly I realized something I had been overlooking for the last (almost) year that I have been health coaching- people don't make their own sauces. Holy moly! This had become so routine in my own meal prepping and cooking that I had kinda assumed that other people were at home whipping up their own deliciousness in a jar. Definitely not the case.
Here are some reasons you need to start prepping your own sauces:
Additives in packaged dressings/marinades- Go to your fridge and take out the first bottled sauce you see. Look at the ingredients list. Are there less than 6 ingredients? How many grams of sugar per serving? If there are less than 6 ingredients and grams of sugar and you know the ingredients, you are golden! But if not- yikes! They are typically filled to the brim with additives, preservatives, a ton of different types of sugars, and fake foods. Making your own keeps the ingredients real, drastically improving the nutritional content along with your health.
They are soooo good!- Sauces are the secret star of the show. They turn boring veggies into something savory and creamy or plain romaine into a sweet and spicy salad. They are great for salads, veggie dipping, using as a sandwich spread, or on top of a grain and veggie bowl. There are so many ways to use a sauce and make your food exciting!
Couldn't be easier- They are the easiest thing you will prep or make. Hands down. They take less than 5 minutes, just gather the ingredients, mince (sometimes), combine in a jar, shake, and done.
Great for a budding cooks- Sauces are so easy to make but really take any dish up a notch. If you don't feel like a rockstar in the kitchen yet, bake some veggies, whip up a sauce and voila, you will have people tricked into believing you've been cooking for years.
There are many other reasons to make your own sauces, but bullet one was the most important. Using store bought dressings and sauces doesn't contribute positively to your health. Something that takes less than 5 minutes does, so make your own sauce.
Here is what I prepped this week:
Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
Honey Mustard Dressing (recipe below)
Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mushrooms, and Onions
Hard Boiled Eggs
Lentil Stew (chopped and ready for later in the week)
Didn't prep but made sure I had on hand:
How I prepped:
Washed all my veggies at once, starting with a big bowl of water and about 2 tablespoons white vinegar. I let them soak in the bowl for a few minutes then I rinsed.
In a large dutch oven, I smeared olive oil, spices, salt and pepper over the chicken. I placed a lid on the dutch oven and put it in the oven at 400 degrees, letting it cook for 75-90 minutes. (I actually wasn't paying attention to the time, so if you do this, check it at 60 minutes.)
Meanwhile, I started boiling the barley (1.5 cups barley to 4 cups water), reduced heat and simmered for 30 minutes.
Next, I chopped all of the broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and onions, drizzling half of them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasting at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. The other half I put in a sealed bowl in the fridge to roast later on this week.
I placed 2 cups of quinoa into 3.5 cups water in a large pot. Brought it to a boil, then turned down to simmer for 9 minutes. Turned off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes then fluffed it with a fork.
Then, I chopped all the veggies for the Lentil Stew and placed them in a sealed bowl to throw together mid-week.
Next up, I started a pot of boiling water and boiled some eggs for 7 minutes.
Last, I made the peanut sauce and dressing.
Sweet Peanut Sauce~
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (almond butter is also good)
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Water, as needed
Combine all ingredients except for the water in a bowl. Whisk. Add water according to the consistency you want. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week!
Honey Mustard Dressing~
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a jar and shake! Keeps in a sealed jar in the fridge for a week.
Meals I can make:
Roasted veggie bowl with barley/quinoa and peanut sauce
Chicken bowl with veggies and barley/quinoa + peanut sauce
Barley bowl with eggs and veggies
Salad with roasted veggies and peanut sauce
Salad with honey mustard dressing, chicken, and quinoa
Salad with honey mustard dressing with hard boiled eggs
Salad with peanut sauce and chicken
Quinoa bowl with eggs and veggies
Lentil stew mid week + small salad with honey mustard dressing
There are even more options than that!