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#happylife: Meal prep like a pro this school year

SPOKANE, Wash. - The 4 News Now team is getting your family ready to head back to school all month long. We'll cover everything from school lunches to sleep schedules during this month's #happylife series.

Making dinner can easily become an afterthought, but it does not have to be. 

Pantry Fuel, a Spokane-based meal delivery service, can help. They know you are starved for time and will send you pre-made meals for your family. All you have to do is pop them in the microwave. 

Making lunches and dinners for hundreds of folks in Spokane each week has made them the masters of meal prep. Good Morning Northwest's Caroline Flynn took all your meal-time questions to the experts at PantryFuel to help you get prepared the first day of school. 

If you are looking to save time, they recommend first taking a look at your calendar. Find a day that you can carve out some time to prepare meals for the week ahead and then get started looking at recipes!

Ensure you do not experience meal prep burnout the second week of school by looking for recipes that meet the following criteria:

- Take 30 minutes or less to cook

- Have minimal ingredients

*Aside from fresh ingredients, if the recipe calls for two or more ingredients you do not have in your pantry, it is probably a recipe you want to avoid. If you have to go to four different grocery stores to find a certain spice, pick another recipe. Meal prep is all about saving time.

- Allow you to prep other recipes simultaneously

- Ingredients can be used in multiple dishes

*Chicken is an ingredient you can get multiple uses out of. Switch up the marinades you use to make it different each day. Side dishes like rice, pasta or vegetables are easy to change up too!

- Freezer-friendly

*Double up on recipes and freeze half. Use it a week or two (or a month!) later when you are short on meal prep time.

Pantry Fuel shared a recipe that meets their meal prep success criteria and is equally delicious!

Bolognese Zucchini Boats
Yield: 4 servings
Special Diet Information: Gluten-free

  • 1# 85/15 ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 8 large zucchinis - each person gets two 5-inch zucchini boats (to fit in container)
  • 2 C cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Garnish: Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion, sauté. Add the chopped garlic and carrot pieces. Season with salt, pepper and paprika, then add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
  2. Season the sauce with the herbs, stir well, and cook 5 more minutes. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F. Season ground turkey, then spread out on sheet pan and cook for about 20 minutes, or until fully cooked and internal temp reaches 165F.
  4. In a large skillet, combine cooked turkey and vegetable mixture.
  5. Cover and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes until the Bolognese thickens.
  6. Occasionally stir the sauce, add stock or more tomato paste if necessary. Season to taste.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Grease a sheet pan.
  8. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the center seeds with a spoon.
  9. Season the zucchini boats with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until soft.
  10. Stuff the boats with the Bolognese sauce. Top with desired amount of cheese.
  11. Bake for 5 minutes, until cheese has started to melt. Serve and enjoy!


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