As a couple who both work, time is always the enemy. Whether we want quality time with each other or need to finish meal prep and cooking for the next day we are always up against the clock. This is even more so when Ramadan rolls around and all our free time is spent making the most of the holy month. Whether reading the Quran, making thikr or performing salah, we are always trying to fill our spiritual cup to the brim and spending time together can become less of a priority.
Pepping food is not very high on our list of fun things to do together, but it needs to be done. Especially for sahur as this meal will determine the day in terms of sustenance, nourishment and of course patience levels (I'm not gonna lie, I can be grumpy in the morning ?). So here are some simple recipes that couples can prepare for sahur together, and some general tips for maximizing couple time during the month as you meal prep!
How to make the most of your meal prep
We try to keep it simple and prep in as little time as we can. We enjoy going shopping for groceries together and trying to plan the meals as a couple. We know our strengths in shopping too - my wife Fatima is awesome at getting good fruit whereas I tend to get the sour or not so ripe ones.? We definitely try our best to help each other get the stuff need and cook all meals together. It is awesome to wake up and have everything ready and waiting, which is sometimes the case because my wife is awesome! The meals we try to do both help shorten out prep time and give us some precious moment together in our busy schedules. Here are some of our favourite go-to meals for two.
1. The always reliable toasted cheese
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There are classics and then there is the good old toasted cheese. It the quickest and is still the best comfort food in my opinion. For sahur it's simple and quick to prepare. As a couple, we get both to help make and prepare this. Sometimes I'll grate the cheese and Fatima will make the toasted sandwiches. While other times we swap roles. This is definitely one of my favourite recipes as the beauty of this is that we can change it up by adding other toppings to help bring out the flavour.
- 4 slices of bread of your choice (I like whole wheat, and you can use other healthier bread to boost the nutritional value too!)
- Cheese of your choice (We like pepper jack or cheddar)
- (Optional) meat/protein: Chicken, baloney, smoked salmon, etc.
- (Optional) vegetables: Peppers, chillies, onions, tomatoes
- (Optional) sauces (I like bbq sauce on mine)
- (Optional) spices (Chilli powder gives it a nice kick)
- Butter one side of each slice of bread and place them in a heated pan
- Add cheese and any other fillings and cover the sandwich with slice number 2
- Leave till side 1 is nice and toasted and flip and allow side 2 the same toasting
- When done cut as desired and serve
2. Fried banana fritters
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Growing up I clearly remember walking into our kitchen and smelling the aromatic waft of cinnamon and fried banana! It was a clear sign we had entered Ramadan and that smell is still one I love today. This meal is quick and easy and because of bananas' slow digestive properties, it will keep you full all day. Whether we eating fried bananas with bread, naan or roti, it really is one of the quickest and most delicious meals. Trust me if you like bananas you’ll definitely love this one.
7 -12 minutes
- 2 large bananas, chopped into rings
- Cinnamon powder or sticks
- Butter or olive oil
- Bread, naan, roti
- (Optional) 10-20ml fresh cream to drizzle over afterwards
- In a pan heat up either butter or a bit of olive oil
- Once the pan is heated add cinnamon and the diced bananas, fry for a few minutes
- The longer you fry the bananas the softer they get so stop at your desired consistency
- Serve with either bread or roti
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We love Mexican food and to be totally honest I love the homely feel of the way the food is made. We make quesadillas pretty often because of the rich flavours and its pure simplicity. We make them at any time of the day but they are perfect for sahur as it's simple and packs a great punch. It's based around just two ingredients - cheese and flour-based tortillas -but depending on our cravings for the day we can add toppings. My wife Fatima and I like to add spicy green peppers or diced up chicken (normally prepared the night before or using leftovers) which turns this humble meal into a great cheesy surprise.
7 -12 minutes
- Flour tortillas and cheese of your choice
- Vegetables of choice
- My suggested toppings: chicken, steak , avocado, and spicy peppers
- Mix the cheese and toppings of your choice in a bowl with mayo or sweet chilli sauce
- Lay one tortilla on a plate and spread the mix over it evenly
- Cover the base tortilla and mixture with another tortilla
- Next, place a pan on medium heat and slide the ready-made quesadilla into it.
- Fry for about 3 minutes on each side or till cheese starts oozing out.
- Cut up as u would a pizza and serve.
4. Overnight Oats
The variety in overnight oats recipes is staggering! There is a recipe to suit every palate. But before I get ahead of myself, let take a minute to figure out what overnight oats are. In simple terms, they are oats you make overnight and consist of two basic ingredients, which are of course oats and some form of liquid.
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My wife Fatima and I really have different tastes so we take some time to catch up on each other's days after iftaar and prep our jars together for the next morning. She, for example, enjoys yoghurt but I don’t, so would substitute the yoghurt with chocolate milk or coconut milk. This is a great way to get things done and fast. The prep time varies depending on your tastes. If you don’t enjoy it straight out the fridge you can always just heat it up. For great recipes check out our article about smoothies and overnight oats
5. Chicken sliders
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This has to be one of our all-time favourite meals. We don't just have it for sahur or breakfast, but iftaar as well as lunch outside of Ramadan. It’s healthier if you make them in an air frier as we do, which cuts down on the oil used. These can be made with pre-packed crispy chicken tenders or you can make them from fresh chicken breast. When we make our own chicken tenders we love marinading the chicken in Nando's sauce! But one can use any type of marinade. These are great to get the big full burger taste but are pretty small and tasty so you don't overeat. We normally decide while at work which one of us will go get the buns and who will cut the chicken. This way it's we planned and we can prep the chicken the evening after iftaar.
- Chicken breast cut in tender sizes or pre crumbed tenders.
- Mini burger buns
- Sauces of choice
- We air fry the tenders for 15 minutes or you can deep-fry till golden brown
- Cut buns and spread sauce
- If you used a deep fryer allow the chicken to drain off oil
- Add chicken to the bun and enjoy
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This may be one of the least healthy options on this list but it is by far the most eaten in our household. Cereal is one of those things we all enjoy, some more than others but we all have our favourites. In a pinch and with time against us (alarms do fail ?) cereal is definitely a go-to for us. My wife Fatima loves Kellogg's Rice Krispies and I love Coco Pops. But in Korea, I have settled for plain old corn flakes because with some warm milk (just enough to cover the bottom half of the flakes - leaving a killer top crunch) and sugar, it really becomes delicious.
7. Fruit bowl
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We have fruit with every meal if possible. For a sahur fruit bowl, however, we have to take those fruits and slice and dice them into one of the healthiest and most definitely the tastiest. With all the natural vitamins and minerals you can’t go wrong with a large fruit bowl. You can change it up by adding yoghurt or granola to add more fibre and nutrients to the meal (which will help keep you full for longer!). Growing up I have the best memories of going to my cousin's house and seeing the amazing fruit bowl my aunt would have on the kitchen counter. This has led to us adopting the same idea and we really love having a fruit bowl on our table filled with a variety of fruits. To treat your significant other, you can even surprise them with cutting their favourite fruits into cute shapes like the picture above ?
8. Egg on toast
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Though egg on toast may seem plain and simple. I can assure you that the good ol' sunny-side-up egg on toast is long gone and has been replaced by its more sophisticated siblings. Once such sibling is the poached egg on toast. A poached egg, layered on some guacamole resting on a bed or rye/brown toasted - my mouth is watering just thinking about it! But I’m not gonna lie we love all kinds of eggs though, and it adds variety to our sahur options.
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Another great variation is scrambled eggs on toasted topped with Sriracha sauce (or pepper flakes) and fresh coriander. The beauty of this meal is the variety of way in which you can have it. If you like, have French toast with Nutella paired with a side of hardboiled eggs, or slice up hardboiled eggs and sprinkle with salt and pepper, or have a poached egg on top some sliced salmon on toast. The magic of these meals are that it's totally up to you and your taste buds!
9. Good old Leftovers
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We can plan meals for sahur and we can prep them for days but we all know that iftaar leftovers make one of the best meals for the next morning. I love leftovers when it's things like steak or pizza. This is why it's some times best to cook for more than two people as the leftovers come in handy the next day or next few days ?. Meals that yield great leftovers meals are curries, grills, pasta and lasagna, salads, and of course pizzas. Many of the meals on this list can be made using leftovers, which means leftovers help us cutting time out of prep, which pretty awesome.
15 -25 minutes
- Leftover chicken
- Rice either precooked or half a cup for a quick cook
- Frozen peas, carrots and bell peppers.
- Olive oil
- If you are making fresh rice I would suggest leaving it in water overnight so it can swell
- Place 2 tbs of olive oil in a pan or small pot and allow to heat
- Add in the rice
- Add frozen veggies and allow to cook for a few minutes
- Add leftover chicken and sauce or flavouring of your choice
- Once heated and the smell fills the room and the rice, mix well and add more sauce for taste
10. Smoothie packets
Smoothies are a great and healthy way to get all the vitamins and minerals we need every day and they are also extremely delicious. The one thing we hated doing, is having to take out every smoothie ingredient every morning and packing it away after. It is a real pain and takes up so much time. This long process led to a major drop in smoothie consumption at our place.
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That was of course until we found out about this smoothie packet thing. It's quite simple really - over the weekend, take all the fruits and green you want, prep them, and place them in ziplock bags in the freezer. We also store our dry ingredients in reusable single serving containers so we can just add them when the time comes. As a couple, we don’t have much time to waste as we work and when we get home we are pretty tired. With this quick idea, we only have to spend one day a week prepping our packets and storing our ingredients. We both love different kinds of smoothies but prefer fruit. Fatima enjoys a mix of strawberry, pineapple, and apple, where was I enjoy one lemon, pineapple, and apple mint. We still have to come to terms with the green smoothie but I’m sure we will get there, eventually.
As a couple we enjoy food but not to say we are too picky. We love simple and easy to make meals
which has led us to have these great meals for sahur. We always try to find new ones and are open to learning from all of you. Please drop us a comment and tell us what your favorite sahur meal is and if we should try it. Also, let us know if you tried any of these and how they worked out for you. Please don't forget to check out our other articles for Ramadan
, such as what it's like to be a Muslim expatriate in South Korea.
I hope and pray you and your loved ones are having a blessed month and Ramadan Kareem!