Zachary Shakked is a 24 year-old, self-employed iOS app developer who sets his own schedule. “I typically sleep in, no alarm clock, wake up around 9 or 10, eat breakfast (usually overnight oats or eggs and toast),” he explained over email. “I usually do a lot of grazing — I eat when I get hungry. I absolutely pound coffee.”
You would think such a flexible schedule would leave time for a lot of cooking, but meal planning can benefit everyone — especially those of use whose days are less than structured. Shakked had been “exploring the idea of building an app related to meal prep for busy people,” which led to him creating a truly impressive meal plan featuring 10 dishes that can be prepped in under eight minutes with only a knife, a fork, a strainer and a can opener, and then cooked in a microwave (if at all).
The plan, which Shakked shared to the subreddit r/MealPrepSunday, is great for lazy people or busy work-at-home types who like to prep and forget, but it could also be extremely helpful to college students, who sometimes have to rely on the microwave as their only cooking implement. (The meals also happen to be pretty cost-efficient.)
“I’m very lazy when it comes to cooking and cleaning. I also love efficiency. I get hungry and I want to eat now,” Shakked told me. “So almost all of the meals I eat at home are things I can whip up in under 15 minutes. The microwave-only aspect was for the sake of the Reddit post. I normally will use a stovetop, but not for anything major. I don’t have the patience to boil pasta or make soup or really anything beyond what I could do in one or two frying pans.”
Shakked described all the meals as “very filling.” (With the exception of the tuna salad, which was not quite as filling as the rest.) To stave off palate boredom, he recommends switching up the protein involved: “I think it really depends on how healthy you want to be and how conscious you are of your budget. For example, if I didn’t care about being healthy, I could do a lot more with cheeses. Throw some parm on the chickpeas or do regular potatoes. If your budget is bigger, you could buy roasted chickens and do a lot with those.”
If that’s not enough, you can start swapping out other components. “My favourite things to tweak are adding different sauces (tahini sauce, harissa, taco sauce, salsa), changing up the vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, kale) and changing up the grains (brown rice, quinoa, uncle ben has a ton of different instant rices),” he said.
You should check out the entire meal plan over on Reddit, but the “Greek-ish Salad” — Shakked’s favourite — is a good place to start. “That goat feta was just ridiculously good.”
Greek-ish Salad (recipe has been lightly edited for clarity)
Ingredients for 2 portions:
- 1/2 a bag of arugula, kale, or any other salad base
- 10-12 cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 can of chickpeas
- 1 large can of chicken
- 2-3 tablespoons goat feta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Pitted kalamata olives (to personal preference)
Lay your arugula in the meal prep container covering the entire bottom. Sprinkle some cherry tomatoes and chickpeas on top. Drain your can of chicken and rinse with warm water for 15-30 seconds, then add to the top of tomatoes and chickpeas. Crumble some feta cheese with your hands and sprinkle it on top, then sprinkle on some pitted kalamata olives. In a small container, add 1 part olive oil, 1 part lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Shake or mix — this will be the dressing. Store on the side and add before eating.