Joint Replacement Meal Prep

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After a joint replacement surgery, you’re going to have to eat, but cooking may not be very appealing. To avoid ordering out every night (although, by all means, treat yourself, you’ve earned it!) It’s a good idea to prepare some meals in advance. Here are 2 recipes you can look forward to recovering with.

Minestrone Soup (Vegetarian)
Soup is a great option to meal prep because it’s good for you, you can make a lot of it in advance, and it freezes well to keep fresh longer.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 medium carrots, chopped
  • 7 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 yellow summer squash (about 3 cups), chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cartons (32 ounces each) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini or other small pasta
  • 12 cups chopped fresh spinach (12 ounces)

What you do:

  • In a 6-quart stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion; cook until tender, 6-8 minutes. Add zucchini, yellow squash, and seasonings; cook and stir until squashes are crisp-tender, 4-6 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Mash 1/2 cup beans with a fork. Stir mashed beans and tomatoes into vegetables. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10-12 minutes.
  • Stir in pasta and remaining beans; return to a boil. Cook, uncovered, 7-9 minutes or just until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaves. Stir in spinach; cook until spinach is wilted.

To Freeze

Add remaining beans, but not pasta and spinach. Cool soup; freeze in freezer containers for up to 3 months. To use, partially thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Place in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, for 7-9 minutes or until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaves. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casseroles

Casseroles have always been a great way to combine a lot of food for not a lot of money. This one is also freezer friendly

What you Need:

  • 10 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, chopped 
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli, lightly steamed (can use frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

To freeze: Divide into four freezer bags and seal tightly. Freeze flat.

To serve: Thaw overnight (or for 8 hours) in the refrigerator. Dump into a greased casserole dish (each bag will fill an 8×8-inch pan; two bags will fill a 9×13-inch pan). Sprinkle with additional shredded cheese, if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.


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