Do you struggle finding time to teach, take care of yourself, take care of your family, and make lunches that are filling and delicious throughout the week? This used to be me. I tried leftovers, I tried frozen meals, I tried grab-and-go options, I even tried Ramen… and it was always last minute, not enough food and not really all that great to eat. That’s when I decided to try meal-prepping, and let me tell you, I LOVE IT! Depending on how much time each recipe takes, I spend 20 minutes to one hour on Sunday meal prepping my lunches for the week. This means it only takes me about 2 minutes in the morning every day to gather all of my items into my lunchbox and be ready for the day! I also rest assured knowing that I am going to have enough food in my lunchbox each day.
Below I have gathered some of my favorite meal preps for the week. I have curated many of these recipes off Pinterest, and am listing the original source of the recipe underneath each post. Some of them I have tweaked a bit for my own taste and some I simply made up or just use tried-and-true recipes. Some of them are healthy, and some are less healthy than others. I have tried each one of these and highly recommend them all. I also highly recommend prepping all of your sides for the week on Sunday as well. I’ll buy a bag of SmartPop Popcorn and divide it into smaller bags right away, to save the most time that I can in the mornings. I also try to cut & prep veggies or fruit for the week as well. The more you do on Sunday, the less you need to do throughout the week!
Here are my favorite recipes!
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Time: 20 Minutes Prep, 40 Minutes Baking Time
Ingredients: 1 Box Zatarain’s Spanish Rice (you will also need a can of diced tomatoes for the rice), 5 Medium Bell Peppers (any colors), 1 Med Onion Chopped, 2 Cloves Minced Garlic, 2 TBSP Olive Oil, 1 lb of Chicken in 1/2 inch pieces, 1 tsp Chili Powder, 1 tsp Cumin, 1/4 tsp Paprika, Salt & Pepper to taste, 10oz can of Tomatoes, 1 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 cup frozen corn, 3 TBSP Cilantro, 1 TBSP lime juice, 2 Cups Mexican Taco Cheese
- Preheat oven to 375. Boil a large pot of water (large enough for your peppers). Begin making rice according to directions on the box.
- Half the peppers (in length). Remove all seeds and devein peppers. Boil them for 5 minutes then drain and line up on baking dish.
- Heat large skillet with olive oil, saute onions and garlic (5 min). Transfer into bowl.
- Add more oil and chicken. Mix with chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt/pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring.
- Add tomatoes, onion/garlic mix, black beans, corn, Spanish Rice, cilantro, lime juice and season with additional spices to taste. Cook until heated through.
- Fill peppers evenly with this mixture. Add water to the bottom of the pan without getting it into peppers (about 1/5 inch).
- Cover dish in foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Add cheese to top, then continue cooking for 3-5 minutes.
Original Source: Cooking Classy
Time: 15 Minute Prep, 30 Minutes Baking Time
Ingredients: 1 Box of Penne Pasta, 1 24ox Jar of Marinara (I like Roasted Garlic), 1 15oz Jar Alfredo Sauce (I like Garlic Alfredo), 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, 1 Cup of Parmesan, Onion & Garlic Powder to Taste
- Boil water and cook pasta following box directions (about 7-8 minutes)
- In a large bowl, mix Mozz cheese, Parmesan, Marinara, Alfredo and onion/garlic powder
- Mix pasta into bowl, then transfer to baking dish
- Bake for 20 minutes then serve.
Time: 10 Minutes
Ingredients: Spinach, Mozzarella Cheese, Parmesan Crisps, Almonds, Balsamic Dressing
- Add spinach to bowls or Tupperware evenly.
- Add all dry toppings on top. If you add any additional toppings (including dressing), store them separately and add right before eating.
“Thanksgiving Dinner” – Cheesey Chicken & Potatoes
Time: 15 Minutes Prep, 4-8 Hours of Slow Cooking
**This is definitely the most time intensive, but is SO easy and is also easily mine and my husbands favorite meal prep. I highly recommend trying it at least once!**
Ingredients: 1 box Zatarain’s Yellow Rice, 1 1/2 pounds of frozen hash browns, 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 1 pint sour cream, 2 medium chopped onions, 2 cans cream of chicken and mushroom soup, 1 15 oz can of corn, 2 cups of corn flakes, 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder
- Mix chicken broth and 1 can of cream of chicken and mushroom soup with 1 diced onion in the bottom of the crockpot.
- Season chicken with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Add to crock pot. Cook on low heat for 8 hours or high heat for 4 hours. **I set a timer for 1 hour before the chicken is finished to make rice and potatoes**
- Cook rice according to package.
- Shred chicken with 2 forks. Add in rice, 2 cups of cheese and corn, mixing well.
- Pull hash browns out of freezer to thaw for 10-20 minutes before cooking.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of melted butter with salt, pepper, garlic powder and 1 diced onion.
- In a large bowl, mix hash browns with melted butter mixture. Add in 1 can of soup, 1 pint of sour cream, and 2 cups of cheese. Mix well then spread into baking dish.
- Mix 1/4 cup of melted butter with 2 cups of crushed corn flakes. Spread on top of hash brown mix.
- Bake for 55 minutes uncovered.
We put a little of each of these things into tupperware and mix them together. Although it is chicken and not turkey, we call it “Thanksgiving Dinner!” It is absolutely our favorite meal prep.
Fajita Steak Bowl
Time: 45 Minutes
Ingredients: 2lbs of Flank Steak, 2lbs of Small Golden Potatoes, 1 Med. Onion, 2 Red Peppers, 1lb Asparagus, 4 Cloves Garlic, Cooking Spray, 1 Tablespoon of Dried Oregano, 1-2 Tablespoons of Chipotle Southwest Seasoning, Salt & Pepper, 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to “high” broil & spray large sheet pan
- Boil potatoes with salt for 15-20 minutes
- Mix 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of oregano, chipotle southwest seasoning, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add asparagus, sliced onion, diced red peppers and potatoes mixing well with the seasoning. Add to sheet pan.
- Cut the flank steak into thin strips. Season them with 2 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper and more chipotle soutwest seasoning.
- Cook in oven on the top rack for 5-7 minutes on each side
Original Source: My Latina Table
Garlic Parmesan Chicken
Time: 40 Minutes
Ingredients: Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderloins, 1/2 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs, 1/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese, 1tsp Basil, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1/4 tsp rosemary, 5 tsp olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1lb asparagus or green beans, 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degress and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
- Whisk bread crumbs, parmesan, basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary in a shallow dish
- Combine 4 TBSP of olive oil and 2 tsp of minced garlic in a shallow dish
- Dip one piece of chicken at a time first in olive oil then immediately in bread crumb mixture. Be sure to coat the entire piece of chicken. Place on half of baking sheet.
- Toss asparagus (or green beans) in 1 TBSP of olive oil, season with salt and paper to taste, then put on other side of baking sheet.
- Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until chicken is golden brown. Toss asparagus half-way through and add tomatoes, flip the chicken.
Original Source: Cooking Classy
Italian Sausage Bowl
Time: 40 Minutes
Ingredients: 2 cups of sliced carrots, 2 cups of small golden potatoes cut into fourths, 2 cups of sliced zucchini, 2 cups of red peppers, 2 cups of sliced yellow squash, 1 cup of diced onion, 16oz of Italian Sausage Sliced into Thick Circles, 1/3 cup of Parmesan Cheese, Olive Oil.
Suggested Spices: 1/2 TBSP Basil, 1/2 TBSP Oregano, 1/2 TBSP Parsley, 1/2 TBSP Garlic Powder, 1/2 tsp Onion Powder, 1/2 tsp Thyme, Red Pepper Flakes to taste, Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice all vegetables and meat according to directions. Be sure they are around the same sizes.
- Combine all spices and parmesan cheese in a large bowl with olive oil. Toss in veggie/meat mixture and coat evenly.
- Put mixture on baking sheet and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Take out halfway through and toss.
- While that is cooking, make quinoa according to box directions.
- Divide into bowls or Tupperware with quinoa on the bottom and mixture on the top. Enjoy!
Original Source: Chelsea’s Messy Apron
BLT Pasta Salad
Time: 20 Minutes
Ingredients: 1 Box Radiatore Pasta, 1 Cup of Mozzarella Cheese Cubed, 1/2 Cup of Diced Onions (I prefer white), 2 Cups of Halved Cherry Tomatoes, 1 pound of cooked bacon chopped, 2 cups of iceberg lettuce, 1 8oz Bottle of Ranch Dressing (I like hidden Valley), salt & pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to box. Prep all ingredients during this time.
- Drain pasta & coat in 1/2 cup of ranch – refrigerate until cold
- Toss pasta with the rest of the ingredients, using the entire bottle of dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
Time: 20 Minutes
Ingredients: 1 bag of frozen corn, 1 bag of froze edamame, 2 bell peppers, 1/2 onion, Italian dressing
- Cook corn and edamame according to package.
- Dice bell peppers and onion.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl then divide them into small bowls or tupperware.
- Add Italian Dressing when you are ready to serve.
Time: 20 Minutes
Ingredients: 2lbs ground beef, 1 diced onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 14oz cans pinto beans, 2 14oz cans of tomato sauce, 3 TBSP Chili seasoning (McCormick is great!), 2 Cups of Mexican Taco Cheese, 1 bag of Frozen Corn
- Brown meat, garlic and onions in a large pan until cooked through, drain fat.
- Drain pinto beans in strainer, running water over them.
- Add seasoning, tomato sauce, and pinto beans into skillet until it is boiling. Reduce heat and cover for 10 minutes.
- Add in cheese and frozen corn (still frozen). Stir and serve.
Drop your favorite lunch time meal prep recipes in the comments below, along with any questions or ideas to share! Enjoy!