I love plans, but to be honest, I think I love being spontaneous even more. I love the challenge of taking whatever ingredients I have on hand in the house and making something right on the spot. Now, having said that I am also a mother of four busy, hungry, and sometimes picky kids (lest you think I'm not a human), my joyful spontaneity in the kitchen is sometimes less than joyful and far more stressful. It's moments like this (and they happen far more often), that I am very grateful for meal prepping and my Instant Pot. Thanks to a little prep ahead of time and the best invention ever, this dinner was ready to eat in about 10 minutes!
I admit that I don't consistently meal prep, but I've found when I do that I save money, time, and unnecessary stress. I'm also not tempted to go to convenience meals that are a bit more processed. With all the gusto of the new year resolve still burning bright, I planned a few meals that were simple, gluten free, and clean eating. Then in about 1 hour, I put them all together in gallon freezer bags. I now have a weeks worth of organic paleo dinners that cost me less than $100.
These meals can all be cooked in under 15 minutes, either in an instant pot or in one pan on the stove top. I used both the skillet and the instant pot for the scampi. The shrimp and all the veggies went into a large skillet on the stove, while some quinoa went into the instant pot. This way everything is ready at the same time. I actually cut the shrimp in the Scampi down to 1/2 lb since I know my kids will eat a couple and then fill up on green beans and quinoa. That saves me money, becuase then I can can use the remaining 1/2 lb. to make Surf n' Turf Fajitas (I'll share all my other prep ahead recipes over the next couple weeks). It makes you feel so good to have one more day of new years resolutions kept - at least the eat healthy, and stress less part. But hey, if you've got a win on something as big as dinner for your family, then I say you can accomplish anything!
10 Minute Shrimp Scampi
Serves 4 - 6
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled
12 oz. fresh or frozen green beans
1 - 2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. organic butter (this is my favorite)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth (I made my own bone broth and froze it in ice cube trays to easily add to a meal prep bags)
1/2 Tbsp. arrowroot starch or tapioca flour; for thickening (opt.)
1/2 tsp. Himilayan pink salt or sea salt
1/4 tsp. crushed red peper flakes
1 cups quinoa
1.5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
5 sprigs fresh parsley, or 1 tsp. dried parsley
Place all ingredients for scampi in gallon-sized sealale freezer bag (personal preferace: if I plan to keep the bagged meal in the fridge I will always keep any meat/fish separate from everything else. In this case, I put the shirmp I planned to use in a smaller baggie and then put that inside the big bag along with the veggies. If the meal is going right into the freezer then I don't worry about it).
When it's time for dinner, start the quinoa in the Instant Pot. Close and lock the lid, make sure the steam release handle is closed, press manual and set to 1 minute. Once it beeps, let the cooker go to keep warm mode and count to 10 minutes. Click cancel and twist the steam release handle to vent.
While the quinoa cooks, just dump the bag of Shrimp Scampi into a hot skillet. Cook until veggies are a crisp-tender and shrimp is pink and curled. Serve with quinoa.