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FOOD WISE: Meal Prep like a Pro

Zucchini burrata lasagna rolls can be prepared ahead of time to make for an easy meal.
Zucchini burrata lasagna rolls can be prepared ahead of time to make for an easy meal. - Contributed

Do you find yourself frequently asking “what should I have for dinner today?” or struggling to find time to cook healthy meals throughout the week? If so, these meal prep tips and tricks may be just what you need.

The first step to meal prepping is planning – and planning is key. Start by planning what you’re going to make and when you’re going to make it. Think about your usual weekly schedule and try to come up with a plan that will work well with your current routine. For some, shopping on Saturday and prepping on Sunday works best, for others the weekends are busier than weekdays and these folks may find it easier to plan and prep during the week. Picking a specific day to shop and prep can be helpful to keep you on track and stay accountable.

It is also important to plan so you can be efficient with your cooking. One way you can do this is by choosing a few ingredients you can use in multiple meals throughout the week. For example, if you cook a large batch of rice, you can store the leftovers and use them for chili, stir-fry or a grain bowl later in the week. It can also be time-efficient to batch cook: it often doesn’t take much longer to double a recipe when you are making it, which will yield more food that you can then save as leftovers or store in the freezer for later.

If you have a hard time coming up with meal ideas for the week, consider looking at cookbooks or blogs for inspiration. There are so many amazing recipes you can access for free, whether from an online blog, YouTube or a cookbook at your local library.

Once you have chosen your recipes for the week, take a minute to stop and write everything down. Having a specific book dedicated to meal planning can be helpful to stay organized, but a plain piece of paper will work just fine as well.

The next step is to develop a grocery list, creating your list from the recipes you have chosen. Planning your meals not only saves you time but saves you money as well. Going to the store with intention means you are less likely to pick up more items than you need, and therefore will result in less food waste. If you’re really pressed for time, consider buying convenience items like frozen veggies, salad mixes and parboiled rice to help cut down on prep time.

Once you have your grocery shopping done, it’s now time to meal prep. Try to be efficient with your prepping, start with the items that will take the longest. For example, if you have veggies that need to roast for an hour, prep those first and get the rest done while they are cooking. If you don’t have time to prep all your meals in advance, take a few minutes to prep whatever ingredients you can. Having even a few things prepared ahead can be a big help when it comes time to cook throughout the week.

These zucchini burrata lasagna rolls make for a delicious meal and can easily be prepped ahead of time. Try doubling the recipe and freezing the extra for a busy week ahead!

Zucchini Burrata Lasagna Rolls

Ingredients:

2 zucchini, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick strips

2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil

1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and black pepper

8 sheets PC Black Label Lasagne Egg Pasta

1 tub (250 g) PC Black Label Crema di Burrata soft unripened cheese

1 can (398 mL) PC Black Label Peeled Whole Yellow Tomatoes, drained and sliced

1 can (398 mL) PC Black Label whole Cherry Tomatoes, drained and halved

1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh basil

1 jar (650 mL) PC Black Label Marinara Pasta Sauce

1/4 cup (50 mL) grated PC Black Label Aged 36 Months Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions:

  1. Arrange oven racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

  1. Arrange zucchini in single layer on parchment paper-lined large baking sheets; brush with oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, dividing evenly. Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven, switching racks once, until tender, about 20 minutes.

  1. Meanwhile, bring large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add noodles; cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente or tender but firm, about 15 minutes. Drain; arrange, without touching, in single layer on clean kitchen towel. Let cool slightly.

  1. Spread burrata cheese over tops of noodles, dividing evenly. Top with zucchini, yellow tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp basil and remaining 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, dividing evenly. Working 1 at a time, tightly roll up noodles from short ends closest to you.

  1. Spread 1 cup sauce in bottom of 13 x 9-inch (3 L) glass baking dish. Arrange rolls, seam side down, in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over top. Cover with foil.

  1. Arrange 1 oven rack in centre of oven. Bake rolls in centre of 375°F (190°C) oven until hot and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Bake, uncovered, until melted, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining basil.

Makes 4 Servings

Per serving: 550 calories, fat 37 g, sodium 1060 mg, carbohydrate 40 g, fibre 1 g, protein 18 g

Recipe Source: pc.ca

Have a nutrition question? Want to book an appointment or shop with the dietitian? Book online at www.atlanticsuperstore/dietitians or contact me by phone at (902) 921-0700 or by email at ellen.greenan@loblaw.ca.

Ellen Greenan is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

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