03 August 2019

Weekend Cooking: Visual Guide to Easy Meal Prep by Erin Romeo

review of Erin Romeo's The Visual Guide to Easy Meal PrepLet's talk meal prep: Are you a fan? Have you tried it but failed? Is the concept new to you? No matter where you are on the meal prep spectrum, Erin Romeo's The Visual Guide to Easy Meal Prep (Race Point, Aug. 6) is here to help you.

Meal prep is great for busy people and busy families because it cuts down on your kitchen time, allows you to feed people who are on different schedules, saves your family from grabbing fast food, eases up the morning rush, and guarantees a nutritious lunch. Another bonus? The premeasured portions make it harder to overeat.

Romeo is a nutrition coach who helps clients jump on the meal prep bandwagon. She's written for a number of online sites (such as Shape.com and BuzzFeed) and has a fabulous Instagram gallery (@foodprepprincess).

In Easy Meal Prep, she details her five steps to becoming a meal prep pro. Step one is choosing the right containers and step five is portioning out the food and packing it. In between you'll shop, clean and cut the food, and cook. Romeo's tips help you pick the right kinds of containers and stock your kitchen with the proper tools. More important, she provides lists of prep-friendly foods.

Review of Erin Romeo's The Visual Guide to Easy Meal PrepThe recipes are broken down into breakfast, mains (lunch and dinner), snacks and sides, and dressings/dips and sauces. Romeo gives you plenty of advice on how to put together a meal plan for the week, whether you prep all in one go or prefer two prep sessions. The recipes are really easy to put together and use ingredients most of us are familiar with. Each one comes with advice for storing and for reheating (or eating) the meal. No more guesswork on what do with all those meals you made.

Easy Meal Prep is all about cooking ahead for the week. This isn't a once-a-month plan or a stock-your-freezer plan. Everything is fresh and is meant to be eaten by week's end. To get you started with your own plan, Romeo offers four sample weeks, each with a different diet plan: low-carb, vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free. These are meant to give you ideas of how to put together your own meal plan.

So what kinds of recipes will you find? Most will be familiar to you in a general sense (waffles, stuffed sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables), but Romeo takes your favorite foods and makes them meal prep doable. Egg sandwiches and overnight oats for breakfast; baked salmon, lentil bowls, and chicken wraps for mains; granolas and smoothies for snacks; and avocado aioli and fresh salsa to perk things up.

review of Erin Romeo's The Visual Guide to Easy Meal PrepThe food in Easy Meal Prep is very family friendly and office friendly. Better yet, all the dishes get high marks for nutritional value, and Romeo has not forgotten those of you on special diets. Many of you will appreciate the number of dishes that can be eaten cold, so if you don't always have access to a microwave at work, you're in luck. Of course there are plenty of heartier dishes that can be reheated for dinners and winter nights.

Recommendations: Erin Romeo's The Visual Guide to Easy Meal Prep is perfect for people who are too tired to cook after work but still want a homemade, healthful meal. It's also great for anyone who eats lunch at work or school and wants an alternative to the cafeteria or lunch cart. If I had kids, I'd be making breakfast meal preps every Sunday. Anything to bring some peace to the morning dash to school.

If I had to find a negative, it's that this kind of meal prep doesn't allow for a lot of variety during the week. If that matters to you, Romeo offers some advice for changing up flavors. On the other hand, the convenience may be just what you need for a stress-free life. Personally, I'm more interested in make-ahead lunches than the other meals because I look forward to cooking to dinner most nights.

Note: The scans from Easy Meal Prep and the recipe are used here in the context of a review. All rights and copyrights etc. remain with the original copyright holder. Thank you to Quarto Group for the digital galley of the cookbook.

Review of Erin Romeo's The Visual Guide to Easy Meal PrepHummus
Yield: 6 portions
Prep time: 10 minutes

Once you have this simple recipe down, experiment with ingredients like roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, curry, or cumin. If you don’t have tahini, try substituting natural almond butter.

  • 1 can (15 ounces, 425 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3-5 tablespoons (45-75 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (25 g) tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt of choice
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Place all the ingredients in a blender (in the order they are listed) and blend until smooth.

Equally divide the hummus into 6 small containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

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Tina 8/3/19, 7:13 AM  

I’m always looking for new ways to meal prep so my mornings are easier before work. And getting home to cook after work is so much easier if I’ve prechopped or measured. This looks like an interesting book, I will be looking for it.

Mae Travels 8/3/19, 7:16 AM  

You have me confused about what is to be ready in advance with this method. Many of my favorite dinners require fresh (or immediately-prior defrosted) foods like fish or meat or even frozen peas. Or cooked just before eating like the waffles you mentioned. You listed baked salmon -- how does that work? When does the baking take place? Some produce might wilt if it was kept for several days as I think the illustrations indicate. So I just don't get it.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 8/3/19, 7:17 AM  

Oops, hit post before I was done! I meant to thank you for your com ents and also tell you Trader Joe’s has a pretty good cheese selection, well it does here in my area anyway. There’s a goat Brie that’s a third of the price of one we’ve had at Whole Foods. 😊

bermudaonion 8/3/19, 8:04 AM  

This looks perfect for Vance. I'll have to check out a copy.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 8/3/19, 8:18 AM  

This sounds like a book that I could really benefit from! I could use the ideas and love the visual format.
Thanks for a great review and for another Weekend Cooking.

Jackie McGuinness 8/3/19, 8:38 AM  

I don't, and never have, found cooking to be a chore. When I look at these types of books/videos/articles on prepping for the week, it is the monotony that gets to me. I seem to plan, loosely, in my head, based on what we have then adding required ingredients.

Hummus has been on my brain recently to make!! Must do, will need to add chickpeas to my shopping app.

Deb in Hawaii 8/3/19, 11:09 AM  

Prepping makes my life so much cheaper and easier when I do it so this cookbook looks right up my alley especially for work lunches. And as a person who makes a batch of soup and uses it throughout the week, I don't mind "leftovers" at all. ;-) Thanks for sharing!

Claudia 8/3/19, 11:36 AM  

This book sounds a bit like the Food 52 "New Way to Dinner" theme. Sometimes I do cooking steps earlier in the day just to save on excess heat in the kitchen last minute. Then the mise en place is always essential for a quicker put together.

Ilse Berg (SnowshineCottage.com) 8/4/19, 11:05 AM  

I'll have to look for this book at my library to see if I can find some new tips. I prepare the bulk of my family's food in advance, not on any particular schedule, but when time is available. I find advance prep also makes it easier to accommodate food preferences (vegetarian and not at the same table, for instance).

(Diane) bookchickdi 8/4/19, 3:35 PM  

I could have used this book when my sons were in school.

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