With all of the writing I’ve been doing for my upcoming book on meal prep and meal prep recipes, I wanted to do a deeper dive on an article I wrote a while back on cooking chicken in bulk and having variety. Besides over cooking the protein, I often hear complaints about the lack of variety.
So, here’s a video showing how I cook protein – beef (or ground meats) and chicken (poultry) – in bulk. Regardless of your diet, there’s a lot of key learnings in this video for everyone, even vegans. It talks about how to do exact meal prep or calorie counting so that you better arrive at the intended calories and macronutrients for each meal.
Is calorie counting necessary to lose weight?
No. Is it helpful? Yes. If you’ve never measured or weighed food before I highly suggest doing it. Helps your “Kitchen IQ” so you know by “eyeballing” something how many calories are in it.
GROUND MEAT MEAL PREP (BEEF)
I like cooking ground meats with other veggies, but for calorie counting, I’ve found the most success with patties and meatballs. I prefer the meatballs over patties because smaller, cooked pieces of meat are easier to portion out, transport, cook and eat.
The quick process:
First, I start by adding a bowl to a food scale and zero-ing it out. This will allow you to know the weight of all the ingredients – including any additions such as chopped veggies and seasonings.
Write down how much the seasoned meat weighs and then divide that amount by the number of days you’re prepping for. And that should give you the amount for each day (or meal).
Remove it from the scale, then mix everything together.
Make the meatballs. Scoop out a portion of the meat, weigh it, roll it and then add it to a (mini-) muffin pan. I like using a muffin pan because it keeps the meat separate, it cooks in its own juices and keeps them round. Also, I find that the smaller pieces cook faster in the muffin tins because the metal around it is also hot. This is a plus because it cuts down on cooking time.
Keep in mind that leaner pieces of ground meat will cook much faster so you may have to either reduce the cooking time and/or temperature.
CHICKEN MEAL PREP
Chicken is likely the most common prepped protein, yet the one that gives the most grief. Besides overcooking, people always complain about the lack of variety. They prep everything the same. But you don’t have to.
The quick process:
First, cut up the chicken breasts into tiny nickel-sized pieces. This will allow for faster cooking and easier consumption.
One of the most important steps that people forget when cooking chicken is to pat it dry. This is especially true if you’re using frozen chicken breasts.
Take a paper towel and pat it dry. If you’re using frozen chicken breasts, then I recommend letting it sit on a paper towel for at least 20 minutes to get rid of excess water and enhancing solution. Once dry, then add it to a bowl on a scale.
Add base seasoning – the seasoning that ALL your chicken will have such as garlic and onion.
Next, divide the chicken by the number of types of variety you’d like. That will give you the equal amounts for each portion of seasoned chicken. In my example, I use 3.
Once the chicken is equally in separate bowls, add the various seasonings.
Get a baking sheet and aluminum foil.
Spread the foil over the pan and create equally sized rectangles by pinching parts of the foil together. This creates a ridge/barrier so that juices will not flow into the chicken adjacent to it.
Now, add the chicken to the individual spaces. Spread it out and make sure the chicken has breathing room. This will help cut down on cooking time and ensure all pieces are properly cooked, and not cooked together.