I have come to terms with the fact that I am in a muffin phase – they’re pre-portioned, they put up with a lot of tinkering and modifications, they seem WAY more fun than breakfast bars to me right now, and they come together in less than 30 minutes (including cook time). The rest of my farmshare-based meal prep follows this quick and easy breakfast recipe!
Cranberry Olive Oil Yogurt Muffins
Ingredients (makes 1 dozen muffins but can be doubled):
- 1/4 cup olive oil (I used my fanciest extra virgin oil – they flavor should shine, not hide)
- 1/4 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup brown sugar + 1 tablespoon, divided
- 1.75 cups rolled oats, ground into flour in your food processor
- 1/4 cup egg white protein
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup raw cranberries (mine were straight out of the freezer)
- zest of 1 orange
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with muffin papers (or grease it…live dangerously if you must).
- Stir together the oil, yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and 1/4 cup brown sugar until smooth and combined. Add the oat flour, egg white protein, baking powder, and salt all at once; mix until just combined. Stir in the cranberries.
- Portion batter into prepared muffin cups; set aside.
- Spoon the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar (I used turbinado instead, to be honest) onto a saucer or small plate. Zest the orange onto the sugar, rubbing the zest and sugar together with your fingertips to combine. (You can add any extra zest straight into your muffin batter.)
- Top each muffin with a sprinkle of orange sugar. Bake muffins for 22-25 minutes or until risen and just golden at the edges. Cool completely before covering to store.
Moving right along, I had a threatening amount of vegetables to cook, thanks to my weekly farmshare! I turned them into:
- Chicken and okra soup with roasted tomatoes (no recipe…I just chopped some things)
- Chicken with green beans, olives, and capers (I browned the chicken in an oven-proof skillet, then added the cleaned green beans and briney things, along with about 1/2″ of water, and finished it all in the oven)
- Green bean pesto (cleaned green beans were boiled for 5 minutes in 1″ of water, then processed in the mini-chopper with basil, olive oil, and salt)
- Sweet potato rounds (sliced sweet potatoes + cast iron skillet + 4-5 minutes on each side)
- Baked okra, eggplant, and tomatoes (cleaned veggies + olive oil + salt in the oven at 350 for 40ish minutes)
- Cheesy corn bread (kernels from 4 ears of fresh corn, chunkily pureed in the mini-chopper + 1 cup cottage cheese + 1/3 cup maseca + 2 tablespoons half and half + pinch of salt + pinch of sugar, baked in a greased dish at 350 for about 40 minutes)
I got all that done in just under 90 minutes, with only about 45 minutes of hands-on time. Here’s how I did that:
Minute 0: Frozen (ugh, SO SLOW) chicken went into the soup pot alone with a little bit of olive oil. Separately, chicken went into a skillet to brown. I buy pre-cut chicken breast tenders to save me a knife and cutting board while I’m doing meal prep – they’re the same price and the same meat I would get in a chicken breast, just cut into strips for my/our convenience.
Minutes 2-5: I washed and trimmed the green beans that would go with the chicken. I pre-heated the oven to 350, then turned the chicken in both pans.
Minutes 6-10: I added the green beans to the chicken, along with some olives and capers (STRAIGHT OUT OF JARS, the best way to add flavor when time is of the essence) and a splash of water, then moved the chicken skillet to the top rack of the oven to finish cooking. I washed and trimmed the giant pile of bok choy that proves my farmshare loves/hates me, then added the bok choy ribbons, water, salt, and some roasted tomatoes I had left over from last week’s meal prep to my chicken soup pot. I covered it and cranked it up to a boil.
Minutes 11-15: I ground the oats in my mini-chopper to make the cranberry muffins, then mixed up the muffin batter. Muffins went into the oven with a timer on so I didn’t burn them into hockey pucks while I furiously multi-tasked.
Minutes 16-20: I cleaned corn and cut kernels off of cobs. I chased stray kernels of corn around every corner of my kitchen.
Minute 21: I recited for the dog’s pleasure JUST HOW MUCH I hate cooking fresh corn despite the fact that it isn’t really all that much work #dramatic.
Minutes 22-25: I pulsed the corn in the mini-chopper, then added it to the rest of the cornbread ingredients (above) and slopped it angrily into the oven. The recipe on which I based this cornbread called for it to be baked in a water bath but I couldn’t bring myself to dirty ANOTHER dish on behalf of CORN. I rinsed the mini-chopper to hide the evidence and/or get ready for the green bean pesto.
Minutes 26-30: I checked on all the chicken, then cleaned, trimmed, and sliced a giant paper sack’s worth of okra to add to my soup. Endlessly, I scooped okra slices into the soup pot. When the pot was chokingly full, I realized that I would have to bake the remaining okra, so I tossed it into a glass dish, washed and halved 2 baby eggplants and a few tomatoes, drizzled olive oil over the whole thing, sprinkled in some salt, and added it to the oven party.
Minutes 31-35: I heated a cast iron skillet on medium. Separately, I cleaned and trimmed a SECOND pound of fresh green beans and boiled them in yet another pot, covered, with just an inch of water. I washed and sliced a few sweet potatoes
Minutes 36-40: I pulled the muffins from the oven and sent them to cool off on a rack. I started the first round (heh) of sweet potato slices in the now-warm skillet. Basil and salt went into the mini-chopper.
Minutes 41-45: Hot green beans and their cooking water went into the mini-chopper and got whizzed to a paste. Sweet potato slices were turned. Green been pesto was removed to a bowl and THEN olive oil was added – no need to get the mini-chopper all oily when we’ve already sullied it with corn. Sweet potato coins were removed to cool.
Minutes 46-90: All I had to do was stir the soup occasionally, check on the oven items, and cool/cover/refrigerate items as they were ready. For full disclosure, I baked a second batch of muffins, so at around minute 48 I had to refill some muffin cups with the already-prepared batter and grumble about why I can’t ever arrange my oven racks agreeably unless they are already red-hot.
Want to get faster at your own meal prep?
- PLAN the order of your prep so that the longest-cooking items get started first and so that you don’t have to wash your tools until you’re done – rinsing is quick but washing adds time!
- Use SHORTCUTS wisely – like my pre-cut chicken, jarred olives (don’t even come at me with ideas about brining your own fruits), muffin papers, baking halved veggies instead of perfectly-cut matchsticks….
- Knife skills! Cutting well = quicker prep…even if you don’t cut at Jamie’s speed. Let him teach you what you need to know. Just let it happen.