Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lunch Prep - BBQ Chicken

Sunday is a good day for prepping lunches for the week.  Then it is an easy grab and go.  

I normally rotate my lunches weekly.  This means that for any given week, I eat the same lunch every day for that week.  Then the following week is another meal.  This has worked out well for me to be able to keep on track with my food goals.

Here is my simple way to prepare barbecue chicken lunches recently.  I had to make 3 lunches for the week for work.  

2 sweet potatoes
3 chicken breasts
3/4 head cauliflower
Olive oil spray
Salt and pepper
Your favorite BBQ sauce

Below I have 3 sets of instructions before assembly.  I am very fortunate to have 2 ovens, so I can get my chicken in the oven and then I put my cauliflower in the other oven while I begin working on the sweet potatoes.  But even if you have 1 oven, you can just work on each item while you do other chores around the house or other things in the kitchen.  Let each item sit as you prepare the next item.  You will need all the items cooled before you assemble them anyway.   

Instructions for sweet potatoes:
1. Follow my post: Easy Sweet Potatoes

Instructions for chicken:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Trim chicken breasts.
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a baking sheet that is lightly sprayed with olive oil spray.  Place in  oven for about 35 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cuts.
4. Once it is done, let it cool.

Instructions for cauliflower:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Chop up cauliflower.
3. Place cauliflower on parchment lined baking sheet.
4. Place in oven for 20 minutes.

Instructions for assembly:
1. Get 3 containers - I like to make them all the same size for organization and for portioning out the veggies.
2. Place 1 chicken breast in each container.  I like to slice up each chicken breast before I place it in the container.  That way, it microwaves quickly and easily.
3. Place 1/2 sweet potato in each container.  Obviously, this leaves you at the end with 1/2 sweet potato.  You can portion the remains in the containers or just eat it right now ;)
4. Place even amounts of cauliflower in each container.
5. Add desired amount of BBQ sauce on each chicken breast.  I usually scoop 2-3 tablespoons.  As I have tracked calories, I was surprised to learn how quickly sauces can add to sodium or sugar as well as calorie counts.  I have found some brands of organic BBQ sauces that taste great, are more natural, and also are fewer calories than the standard BBQ sauces you find in the supermarket.  You can also make your own BBQ sauce.  In the future I plan to try to do this and will share my recipe, but for now I just buy the organic BBQ sauce and it has been very good!

I have had times where I microwave my lunch at work and get comments from people about how great my lunch smells.  And it tastes great too!  Usually I microwave in 1 minute intervals for 3 minutes, stirring at each minute mark.  I like my meals steam piping hot!

Sweet potatoes before prep.
Sweet potatoes after prep.
Chicken before baking.
Chicken after baking.
Cauliflower before baking - whoops!  I forgot the "after" picture.
One assembled lunch, before the BBQ sauce.
Here are my 3 staged lunches.
And BBQ sauce to finish it off.
It's a great lunch to look forward to.

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