Guest Column - Amanda Soares
Hopefully by now youʼve gotten your hands on:
A big-ass Instant Pot
A Costco membership
An 8x8 baking dish or at least a good brownie pan
because without them, this installment is going to be reeeeeeeally boring for you. (Youʼve been warned!)
Today weʼre going to talk CHICKEN PREP.
AND! Because youʼve been so patient waiting for episode #2, Iʼm going to let you in on the secret of my delicious and nutritious CAULIFLOWER-BEEF STUFFED PEPPERS.
You can thank me later.
First up: CHICKEN! Donʼt blink or youʼre really going to miss this.
Itʼs going to take you THREE MINUTES or less to get it together, and then youʼre going to eat like a BOSS
All. Week. Long. Yes, itʼs that easy.
Yes it will keep that long.
Yes itʼll be moist and perfect and amazing.
Itʼs amazing because it is VERSATILE.
An often overlooked part of food prep is VERSATILITY.
The more things you can make with one component, the less sick of it youʼll get, basically.
For prepped chicken, you can eat it straight out of the storage container for a quick delicious protein snack. You can shred and throw in salads, put on a sandwich, or in a lettuce wrap, add to a stir-fry, put some curry or bbq or jerk sauce on it, shred it into a taco or burrito, add it to rice and beans.
Cold, hot, microwave it…. Have fun with it.
This is why chicken is one of my go-to meal prep staples week after week. Hereʼs how you knock it out:
STEP 1— GET THYSELF TO COSTCO and get yourself a giant pack of organic chicken breasts.
Like 5 or 6 pounds of boneless skinless raw breasts.
STEP 2— GET OUT YOUR GIANT INSTANT POT. Put 3 cups of water in it.
STEP 3— SEASON THE COOKING WATER by adding 2TBS of salt and 2TBS black pepper to the water. STIR IT UP.
(******BEEFBEAR LEVEL + TIP: this is the step later on…. When youʼre getting fancy in the future, you can play with the cooking water and add things like lemons, garlic, ginger, or whatever spices you like to party with and get a different FLAVOR PROFILE. Because once you realize how ridiculously fucking easy this is to do youʼre totally going to come back and play with this recipe A TON.)
STEP 4— put all that chicken in the instant pot water you just made. Layer it in and fill that pot. Donʼt be a dumbass and go past the “MAX FILL LINE” on the Instant Pot, nobody will be able to help you. If thereʼs not at least A LITTLE water on the top layer of chicken at this point, top it off. You DO NOT have to submerge the chicken. Just make sure thereʼs at least some water up at the top to hang out and poach it.
STEP 5— Close the Instant Pot, close the vent to SEALING, hit MANUAL at high pressure for 30 MINUTES and walk away because youʼre golden and you nailed it.
Whether you come back 40 minutes or 3 hours later…. Your masterpiece of cooking magic will be intact.
When you return, let the pressure out if there is any left, open that lid, and BEHOLD your delicious falling-apart chicken.
Remove carefully with tongs or a big spoon into containers or a giant ziploc bag. You may have to use a straining spoon to get the last juicy bits out because you just made chicken so delicious it is FALLING APART. Go you!
(********BEEFBEAR LEVEL + TIP: strain out that cooking liquid and put it in jars because itʼs gonna be tasty-ass chicken stock full of flavor. Make your rice with it, make your beans with it, sautéed veggies in it, or add veggies and more water to taste and make yourself some delicious SOUP.)
NOW THAT YOUʼRE CHICKEN GAME IS ON POINT….. LETʼS PARTY WITH PEPPERS!!!
While you were at Costco, I know you ALSO picked up some: diced tomatoes (2 cans)
a sleeve of 6 bell peppers (you need 5 of them. Use #6 for a snack, you saucy savage.)
a 2lb bag of organic riced cauliflower (weʼre using 1lb) some big-ass (1.33lb) packages of organic ground beef,
right? RIGHT! Letʼs do this!
Youʼre gonna have lunch ALL WEEK NOW. Just you wait.
First off, take your 1.33lb package of ground beef and get in into a pan on medium-high heat.
Weʼre going “Italian-ish” flavor profile… so youʼre gonna SEASON your beef now FOR THE WHOLE DISH.
(BEEFBEAR MATH— each of the 5 peppers will end up with 4oz worth of ground
beef in them, if youʼre counting.)
That means that while beef is in the pan browning, youʼre adding about 2TSP Salt, 1TBS Pepper, and a heavy dustings of parsley, oregano, garlic, fennel seed, onion, basil.
If you donʼt have those spices around, or only some, donʼt panic. Itʼll still be super tasty with salt and pepper.
“…..But! But! But!!! Amanda I cook like crap. I donʼt know what Iʼm doing here. How much seasonings do I actually use?!?!?”
Hereʼs the thing people… Baby Birdʼs gotta leave the nest a little on this one. Youʼre smart. Youʼre sensible. You like food. HAVE FUN WITH IT.
Donʼt be a dope and dump tons in there. That would be a mistake.
Instead, SPRINKLE AND USE YOUR EYES.
Use a couple pinches.
Youʼre not gonna break the food.
Later, weʼre gonna taste it before we stuff the peppers. You can add a little MORE if the pinches didnʼt cut it.
YOU GOT THIS. YOU ARE A BEEFBEAR-IN-TRAINING.
OK… while your beef is being awesome and browning, core out the peppers and take some of the top off.
Look at the picture above, and do that.
Get the core, and the seeds, and the white crap out.
It doesnʼt have to be perfect, but leave yourself room to fit at least a big spoon in there.
ONCE YOUR BEEF IS SEASONED AND BROWN…. Dump in HALF of that bag of cauliflower. Stir it right up in there.
Turn the heat onto HIGH, and cook the cauliflower in there for 2 minutes.
Toss it around good and get all that beef-juice deliciousness on that cauliflower.
MEANWHILE TURN THE OVEN ON TO 350 and get a potholder.
Throw in ONE CAN of your diced tomatoes (juice and all) and just mix it up a little more and cook on high for one more minute in your cauliflower-beef mix.
As soon as youʼve stirred it together, take it off the stove, and TASTE YOUR MIXTURE.
Now is your chance. Get a spoonful and TRY IT. Need something….? ADD MORE PINCHES. Stir it. Taste it again.
REPEAT until you like it.
Then youʼre gonna break out that OTHER CAN of diced tomatoes.
Open the can and pour out JUST THE JUICE to wet the bottom of your baking dish/brownie pan, and then about 1/2 of the diced tomatoes. (Look at that first picture again. You can see whatʼs up.)
Then put your PEPPERS in the dish all cute.
If youʼre having problems arranging them, you can strategically use a tin foil ball to help prop up any lazy or drunk-looking ones.
THEN STUFF THE HELL OUTTA THOSE PEPPERS. Smash it all down in there. Fill them like the boss you are. Got extra, heap it on top. Itʼll be cool. Then sprinkle the last of the tomatoes on top.
Throw your stuffed peppers in their tomato bath it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes.
Then theyʼre totally done. You crushed the shit out of this food prep game.
Also: your coworkers are gonna be STRAIGHT JELLY about your amazing looking and smelling food all week.
Ask me how I know?
(You can send them the recipe. Iʼm into sharing the food love.)
Take them out and separate them into individual containers if needed for your lunches.
BEST PART: if they get knocked over or fall apart…. WHO CARES THEY STILL LOOK AND TASTE AWESOME.
Definitely keep/use the “juice/sauce/tomatoes” on the bottom of that pan, by the way. Itʼs good stuff.
I like to microwave mine a good 3 minutes so they get nice and hot.
See you next time meal-prep masters! xoxo,