I don’t really understand why meal prepping became this “extravaganza” where you have to commit your entire Sunday to making food for the next week. Who has time for this?? I don’t.
Plus, I just don’t want to! The latest Colleen Hoover book is calling my name on a Sunday.
Let’s flip the script on “meal prep.”
Reminder: meal prepping DOES NOT have to be:
Whenever I talk about meal prep with Metabolism Makeover peeps, I always ask them: what’s the one meal that you absolutely need to prep or its most likely going to be a sh*t show? Just start there! Some meals don’t need to be meal-prepped, so don’t stress about those. Cross those off the list.
And then I’ll ask, what’s the one time a week that you are already in the kitchen making a meal? Can you double the batch? Triple? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to think ahead with your meals. Just take advantage of the time you’re already in there whipping things up.
Adding a little extra work to already dedicated time making food can save you an astronomical amount of time throughout the week.
SO, below are 7 of my favorite recipe ideas that you can cook once and eat. all. week. long. AMEN.
This might not be revolutionary, but it MUST be included in this post. Having shredded chicken on hand is a lifesaver! Talk about a fabulously flexible protein. Add some to a salad kit, use in a wrap, make some chicken quesadillas, mix in some BBQ sauce for BBQ chicken – anything! Maybe a small batch of chicken salad sounds good on a random Tuesday. Sweet, the chicken is already made.
So, how to make it? I often buy a pack of chicken breasts in bulk and then put the entire package (4 large breasts) in the crockpot. I’ll add 1 cup of chicken broth or water and then use whatever spices speak to me. Usually, it’s a good dash of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours. It should be very easy to shred with a fork when done! Keep in the fridge for 5-7 days or the freezer for longer!
Here is another spin on this for a buffalo flavor: Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken
Here’s a way to use the shredded chicken for dinner: Twice Baked Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato
A game-changer in my house is having taco-seasoned ground beef or turkey in the freezer at all times. It’s picky-eater friendly and extremely versatile. I’ll use it to make a taco salad or nachos, and my husband will make whatever he wants with it. Amazing.
Simply take one or two pounds of lean ground beef or turkey and brown in a pan. Drain excess grease as needed. Add your favorite taco seasoning packet(s) according to the instructions. Store in the fridge and use all week!
Idea: use your taco meat in these sweet potato taco bows!
I would barely call this cooking, so if you’re in a lazy mood, it’s time for white chicken chili! Plus, it will easily make 8+ servings.
This is one of our OG recipes for white chicken chili. It’s sooo good.
We also recently posted this spin on chicken chili to Instagram. Check it out!
This was a crowd favorite in the MM community! This cheesy taco pasta is perfect for leftovers. You can even throw it in the freezer after a week if needed (which I’m pretty sure I currently have in my freezer still).
I highly recommend using a high-fiber or high-protein pasta like Banza for this recipe! Super easy way to make it more blood-sugar friendly and satisfying!
I’m really just looking out for you here in this post with some of the most easy ways to cook meals and have *amazing* leftovers. If you can throw stuff on a sheet pan and open the oven, you will love these meal ideas:
Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken, Potatoes & Veggies
Personally, I love to use chicken sausage links from Trader Joe’s, slice into coins, and then mix with veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Don’t forget the baby red potatoes! Toss in olive or avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350 for about 30 minutes, and voila! You can make as big or small of a batch as you need for the week.
Another shortcut idea to make quick meals during the week.
Cook up your favorite pasta (again, love my Banza noodles). Heat up a jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I love Trader Joe’s Spicy Chunky Tomato & Pepper Pasta Sauce). Add 2 cups or 1 large container of cottage cheese to the sauce and blend together using an immersion blender. You could also put sauce and cottage cheese in a blender. Mix your cheesy sauce with noodles when cooked and set aside to cool.
Tip: add veggies to your sauce mixture if desired for more nutrients and fiber! Spinach or cooked zucchini will be undetected once blended into the sauce.
Add your protein of choice (you could add that shredded chicken from above) and additional veggies on top of your pasta for a balanced, easy dinner. Throughout the week you can pull another serving of your high-protein pasta and eat plain or with more of your cooked protein on top. This freezes beautifully as well.
Tip: Trader Joe’s turkey burgers or chicken sausages are a fast way to add protein to this with minimal time on a weeknight.
I can’t leave out our most raved about recipe EVER. The Enchilada Skillet.
Check out the post here. I’ll put the recipe below too.
Tip: Use shredded chicken OR taco-seasoned ground beef from above in this recipe!
Also can make this vegetarian by ditching the meat and adding more black beans and/or pinto beans.
*to make the tortilla strips, cut the tortillas into strips and spray with olive or avocado oil cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and chili powder. Broil in the oven until crispy (just a few minutes!)
Makes 3-4 servings
Double if needed!
I hope this helps to simplify your prepping AND cut down your cook time all week long!
– Elle, MM Coach