Chef JoAnna Minneci
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Meal-Prep Essentials

This page was created especially for my "Healthy, Easy & Fast Cooking" seminar attendees. You can supplement your existing cookware and food storage containers with these carefully-selected items. Make sure to BOOKMARK this page!

Aluminum Pie Plate

This is a sturdy but lightweight solid aluminum pie pan. Bake directly in these, and once the food has cooled, slip it into a Gallon-Sized Zipper Bag and pop the whole thing in the fridge or the freezer. The size allows you to bake up to 8 different meals at one time in a standard freezer .
Stainless Steel Pie Plate

If you would prefer to not use aluminum, this pan fits the bill. Very nice and sturdy, and can go through the dishwasher as well. Remember to remove the food on a plate before cutting, because using a knife in the pan will cause scratches. The metal pan is small enough that it will fit in many toaster ovens, too.
Disposable Aluminum, Case of 200

Do you absolutely hate doing dishes? Yeah, you do. The curled rim can be held or gripped, but these aren't strong; you should still put it on a Rimmed Baking Sheet. If you can't figure out where you'll store 200 aluminum pans, here's a link for just 30.
Pyrex Food Storage, 3 Cup, Set of 6

You can prep, bake & freeze directly in these containers, and then microwave to reheat & put in the dishwasher when done! One container is 7x5 inches, and is big enough to hold a decent portion. These stack well in fridge or freezer and the glass bases even nest when in storage.
Single-Serve Containers - 1 compartment

These containers are sturdy and hold up well with use in a microwave & washing in a dishwasher. If you don't like your food touching, try these 3-compartment containers: the smaller sections are good for two (re-heatable) sides.
Family-Size Containers - 38oz each

BPA free and safe to microwave, freeze, and pop in the dishwasher. The size allows you to put 2-4 servings per container, which makes it more efficient if you're preparing food for more than just one person. Also good if you're freezing large quantities of smaller items, like meatballs (par-freeze then put in the containers).
Stainless Steel "Tiffin"

If you're clumsy with glass, and don't want to use plastics, then you'll want the convenience of stainless steel containers that are adorably cute, too. This tiffin set can be washed in the dishwasher, and won't suffer from food stains that grocery-store plastic containers often get. These are the original meal-prep containers! Click for the 3-tier model.. (P.S. not for watery foods, like soup.) This is another style, that's insulated & leak-proof.
Round Plastic Deli Cups, 8 oz

These are cheap but sturdy - an excellent vessel for transporting sauces/liquids, storing left over food, or portion control for snacks. They nest really, really well and you can use them over & over. They can go in the dishwasher's top rack but can flip around, and won't come very clean if they've stored greasy food. I like them for storage but not for eating directly out of them, which is why I suggest the black-bottom containers first. Try the 16 oz size,. or try the combo pack & see what meets your needs.
High-Quality Paper Plates

Would you spend about 50¢ a day to avoid doing dishes? Then choose the Disposable Aluminum Pie Pans above, and these paper plates. Microwavable, cut resistant, and coated with a soak-proof shield that can handle anything from salad dressing to burger grease. Plus these are nice, large plates, with a tall edge around them so your food won't slide off.
Food Slicer/Chopper

Okay, in this one instance, I'd rather have you put "Healthy, Easy & Fast Cooking" as a higher priority than learning knife skills. If this saves time in the kitchen, and that makes you more likely to prepare your own meals, then put this on your shopping list... and use that finger protector, or you'll also need a pack of bandaids!
Digital Scale

I use my scale on a daily basis, both for portioning and metric recipes. This one powers down to save battery, and it uses AAA batteries, which are easy to replace. I keep mine in a gallon-size ziploc bag to keep it clean.
Dry Erase Tape

Ignore the reviews on this item, they're due to a typo stating it was 15 yards instead of 15 feet. Oh well. This is the exact brand I use, and it stays on even through a dishwasher cycle. If you want to put it in the freezer, cover the dryerase writing with a bit of office tape, with a tab folded over for easy removal.
Mini Portable Oven

If you're doing meal-prep and work in an office, save yourself the hassle of fighting over that filthy microwave in the common kitchen and reheat your food in this handy little device. You can use the Hot Logic with a Car Power Invertor, and have hot meals on the go.
6 cup Cook & Store

Fits perfectly in the Hot Logic! Made of nonporous glass that won't warp, stain, or absorb odors. The glass is preheated oven, microwave, fridge, freezer & dishwasher safe, and the lid is also top-rack dishwasher safe, and BPA free too!
Power Inverter

Two reasons I chose this one... it's got an extension-cord style plug, so you can give yourself some flexibility about where you put it... and it gives you 2 USB ports for charging phones, ipods, & other electronic devices. Bonus: this power inverter features low battery alarm, low battery shutdown, overload indicator, short circuit protection.
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