The Ultimate Kitchen Hack for Triathletes

One grocery list. A week of tasty meals. No waste. Batch cooking is the ultimate kitchen hack for time- crunched, health-conscious triathletes. So after your weekend ride, ditch your helmet for your chef’s hat and get your cook on. (Download a printable version of this article here.)

Here’s how it works: You set aside a weekend afternoon to whip up meals for the upcoming week. Overlapping recipe ingredients ensure nothing goes to waste. It’s a huge time and energy saver with no mid-week meal planning and only Tupperware to wash after meals. Not to mention it’ll save you loads over a meal delivery service so you’ll have more cash for entry fees and that fun gear you’ve been eyeing.

These four recipes are loaded with lean proteins, healthy fats, and nutrient-dense carbohydrates ideal for fueling endurance workouts. They make four breakfast and 12 lunch or dinner servings. You can tweak them according to your dietary needs or double recipes to cook for more than one person. Ready for a week of deliciousness? Follow these guidelines, then start cooking.

Tips For Success

Don’t stress. Cooking takes a little TLC. Give it some effort and practice, and it will get easier and take less time.

Tweak as needed. Many gluten-free items are used in these recipes, like brown rice pasta. Feel free to substitute with regular pasta. On the flip side, if an ingredient like a whole-grain wrap is recommended, simply substitute with a gluten-free option.

Use what you have. Make swaps in recipes to use up ripe fruits and veggies you already have in the fridge (e.g., pineapple is an easy mango replacement).

Put it on the calendar. Schedule the time for batch cooking, just like a workout. After the grocery shopping is done, the cooking should take about two hours, yielding 12 Tupperware servings and four breakfast meals.

Invest in your storage. Glass food storage containers, like those from Lifefactory and Pyrex, are recommended because they are microwave safe and don’t leach anything into the food when heated.

Keep your pantry stocked. To make the most of these meals, keep these staples on hand: Heart-healthy oil. Olive oil, grape seed oil or canola oil are recommended for their heart- healthy fats—and they’re easy to cook with.

Agave or honey. Agave is preferable—it’s sweeter, so it requires less to balance flavors while keeping added sugar count low.

Salt and pepper. Avoid using the gigantic blue cylinder of iodized salt because it makes food taste salty rather than seasoned. Use kosher or course ground sea salt instead. Freshly cracked pepper has the same influence on seasoning versus the typical pepper shaker.

Grocery List

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Produce
2 red bell peppers
1 yellow or orange bell pepper
1 green pepper
1 lime
1 orange
1 large mango
1 medium avocado
1 large sweet yellow onion 1 fennel bulb
1 eggplant
2  large carrots
Garlic (fresh or jarred minced)
2 bunches cilantro

Protein
11⁄2 pounds jumbo shrimp (look for peeled and deveined if possible)
1 pound ground turkey sausage (links are fine)
1 pound chicken breast 16-ounce carton egg whites (or 10 eggs)

Miscellaneous
(check your pantry to see if you have already any of these!)
2 15-ounce cans black beans
1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
1 bottle white wine 1 package/jar cumin 1 package/jar yellow curry powder
1 bottle balsamic vinegar 1 package brown rice penne
1 bag jasmine or basmati rice (white or brown) 4 whole-grain tortillas or wraps
Salsa

Menu

Recipe #1
Curried Veggies with Braised Chicken over Rice

Recipe #2
Brown Rice Penne with Turkey Sausage and Peppers

Recipe #3
Cumin-Crusted Shrimp Skewers with Mango-Avocado Salsa and Stewed Black Beans

Recipe #4
Black Bean and Egg-White Breakfast Burritos

Game Plan

1. Read through the recipes to visualize your game plan.

2. Wash and prep (chop, dice, mince) all the veggies and fruit based on the recipe instructions. Keep in mind repeat ingredients may be prepared differently for each recipe, so keep each item separate for its respective recipe.

3. Start with Recipe #1 (it’ll take the longest to cook). First sear the chicken and sauté with the wine.

4. Marinate shrimp (Recipe #3) and store it in the fridge. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes first.

5. Start browning the turkey sausage (Recipe #2).

6. Boil a large pot of water for Recipe #2 and cook pasta.

7. Once the turkey sausage is browned, start cooking the peppers and onions (Recipe #2).

8. Add the veggies and curry to the chicken that is braising (Recipe #1).

9. Start cooking the rice (Recipe #1).

10. Go back to Recipe #2 and finish with the recipe instructions.

11. Clean up the utensils/ dishes used for making the pasta, but save the skillet for the stewed black beans.

12. Start the black beans (Recipe #3) in the skillet.

13. Check the curried veggies and chicken (Recipe #1), to see if the chicken is easily falling apart, and if so, shred chicken and combine with the veggies and curry. Turn off the heat.

14. Prepare the mango salsa (Recipe #3).

15. Put the shrimp on the skewers (Recipe #3).

16. Finish the black beans (Recipe #3). Remove from the pan and cook the egg whites in the same pan (Recipe #4).

17. Finish Recipe #1 if you didn’t in step 12 above.

18. Grill the shrimp (Recipe #3).

19. Finish the eggs and combine with 1/3 of the bean recipe (Recipe #4).

20. Finish with the instructions for each recipe, including dividing into storage containers.


Curried Veggies and Chicken

Photo: Oliver Baker

Makes 4 large servings

Ingredients
1 pound chicken breast, fat trimmed
1 T olive oil
11⁄2 cups uncooked jasmine or basmati rice (brown or white)
1 small eggplant, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
1⁄2 red bell pepper, diced
1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
1⁄2 cup white wine
2 T canola oil
2 T yellow curry powder
1⁄2 T agave or honey
1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp pepper
2 T cilantro, finely chopped
1⁄4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or French/Dutch oven. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the pot. Sear 3–4 minutes per side, until browned. Add wine and 1/3 cup coconut milk, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes. In a bowl, toss the veggies with the canola oil, curry powder, agave or honey and add to the pot, stirring to combine. If all the coconut milk is absorbed, add another 1/3 cup. Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, follow the package instructions to cook the rice. After 30 minutes, the chicken should be soft enough to break apart with a wooden spoon—shred into small pieces and stir to coat with all the curried veggies. Divide rice and curried chicken and veggies into four containers to store.


Brown Rice Penne with Turkey Sausage and Peppers

Photo: Oliver Baker

Makes 4 servings
Ingredients
1 16-ounce bag brown rice penne
1 pound ground turkey sausage (or links,
casings removed)
3⁄4 red pepper, sliced
1⁄2 green pepper, sliced
1⁄2 yellow or orange pepper, sliced 1⁄2 large sweet onion, sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp pepper
2 T cilantro, finely chopped

Directions
Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Once pasta water reaches a boil, add the brown rice pasta and stir. (Stir frequently to prevent sticking.) In a large skillet over medi- um heat, cook the turkey sausage, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned, approximately 10–12 minutes. Re- move from the skillet onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Heat olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, salt and pepper for 3 minutes. Add the peppers and sauté another 3 minutes, adding in garlic for the last minute. Turn heat to medium-high and pour in balsamic vinegar. Let reduce with the peppers and onions for 5 minutes. Add turkey sausage back to the skillet. Once the pasta has finished cooking, reserve 1⁄4 cup pasta water and then drain the pasta. Time this so you can immediately add the pasta to the pan with the onions and peppers. Toss the pasta and reserved 1⁄4 cup water in the skillet until thoroughly coated with sauce. Toss with fresh cilantro and store in four containers.


Cumin Shrimp Skewers with Mango-Avocado Salsa and Stewed Black Beans

Photo: Oliver Baker

Makes 4 shrimp skewers
Shrimp:
11⁄2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (save time by asking the seafood counter to prepare)
11⁄2 T olive oil
3 T cumin powder 1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp pepper

Salsa:
1 large ripe mango
1 medium ripe avocado
1⁄4 red bell pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
2 T cilantro, finely chopped
1 T fresh squeezed orange juice 1 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice Sprinkle salt

Beans:
2 15-ounce cans black beans
1⁄2 (each) red, green and yellow/orange bell
pepper, seeds removed and diced 1⁄2 sweet onion, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
1 T olive oil
1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp pepper
3 T cilantro, finely chopped


Black Bean & Egg-White Burritos

Photo: Oliver Baker

Makes 4 servings
Ingredients
1/3 stewed black bean recipe (reserved) 1 16-ounce carton egg whites, or
10 egg whites
4 whole-grain tortillas or wraps Salsa

Directions
In a bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Pour egg whites into the pan in the instructions and scramble until cooked through. Toss in black beans and stir to combine. Store black beans and egg white mixture in four small storage containers. To prepare, heat contents of one Tupperware and one tortilla or wrap in the microwave. Put the bean and egg mixture in the tortilla or wrap and top with salsa.

Salsa:
Cut mango in half (each half will be on the flatter looking side of the mango, on either side of the pit). With the skin on, score the mango in to small cubes, without cutting through the skin. Scoop out cubes with a spoon into a small bowl. Cut the avocado in half, removing the pit. With the skin on, score the avocado into small cubes, without cutting through the skin. Scoop out the cubes and add to the bowl with the mango. Add the rest of the salsa ingredients to the bowl and toss gently to combine. Serve over shrimp skewers.

Black beans:
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add onion, salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes, adding the garlic during the last 2 minutes. Drain and thoroughly rinse black beans in a colander. Add to the onions and peppers. Turn heat down to medium, add wine and let bubble (mildly) for 15–20 minutes, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Remove from heat and toss in fresh cilantro. Serve with shrimp skewers. For more substance, rice and/or tortillas are a nice accompaniment. Reserve 1/3 of the beans for the breakfast burritos, if desired.