Meal Prep Menu
To kick off the year I am launching a new series here at Healthy Seasonal Recipes and it’s all about Meal Prep Recipes!! Today I have the first with this Meal Prep Menu featuring recipes that can be prepped ahead on Sunday so you can get dinner on the table with very little prep during the busy work week. I also have included the list of prep you’ll need to do, and a printable shopping list too! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
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The idea for this series came from all of the emails I got after the September issue of EatingWell came out last fall with my Meal Prep Feature. It was a similar idea (a prep list for sunday plus 5 quick weeknight meals.) Many folks asked if I could share more of these meal prep recipes here on my blog, and more plans for menus for the busy work week. Dear readers, you asked, and I listened! So here is the first of the series.
Meal Prep Dinner Menu
This menu is designed for a family of four, for some leftovers for lunches. Don’t worry, I have also added in side dishes (they’re on the shopping list and prep list too.) First I’ll share a bit more about these recipes, then below I will also share with you how to prep the recipes ahead and you can grab your printable shopping list too.
Meatless Monday: Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Salad with Lemon Dressing.
GET THE RECIPES HERE: Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Lemon Juice Salad Dressing.
This stuffed shells recipe is one of the brand new recipes I have shared here on the blog, and the reviews have started coming in. So far nobody has detected the secret (healthy) ingredient!! I am so excited for you to try it too. The shells can be made ahead during your prep day and then just baked as soon as you get home from work. All that’s left for you to do is toss together a salad to go with it. (The dressing will be prepped ahead too.) Trust me, after this, you’ll wish every Monday evening would go this smoothly!
Tuesday: Cod Fish Tacos with refried black beans
GET THE RECIPE HERE: Cod Fish Tacos
These need no prep work because they’re ready in 20 minutes flat! Readers have told me that kiddos who seem a little nervous about breaks in tradition for Taco Tuesday actually love these tacos! Mine do too.
Here’s one reader’s review “Excellent fish taco recipe. Once assembled, the tacos look very appetizing just like they are pictured with the recipe. My husband remarked that the tacos ‘looked and tasted gourmet restaurant quality.’ ” On the side just serve warmed up refried black beans. If you have a hungry group, buy two cans!
Wednesday: Sloppy Joes served with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Cheese
GET THE RECIPES HERE: Sloppy Joes and Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Cheese
Sloppy joes are one of those clean plate club kind of meals. My recipe has sneaky hidden veggies and no ketchup in them, so you can feel 100% okay with serving them up! If you have a mushroom-phobe in the house (like my daughter) just use the food processor to chop the mushrooms fine. Works like a charm!
When you get home from work, just pop the pre-cut cauliflower and broccoli in the oven. Meanwhile, the meat mixture can be made entirely on your prep day, so you can just reheat it while you roast the cauliflower and broccoli.
Thursday: Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup with frozen baked rolls
GET THE RECIPE HERE: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
We just had this one again this week. It’s a new family favorite for us. On your prep day you just assemble the freezer packs. Then on Thursday morning before you leave the house, pop the frozen pack right into the slow cooker with broth (and a little wine) and let it simmer all day.
Note: you’ll need to thicken the soup in the last hour.(See the final step of the method.) If you don’t have time to do that, you can transfer the soup to a stove top safe pot. Then add the butter and flour mixture and green bean and red pepper pack and then simmer it on the stove for 10 minutes to thicken it. (I tested this method, and it worked fine.)
Just pop the frozen rolls in the oven about 15 minutes before you want to eat.
Friday: Greek Pizza served with Green Beans steamed and drizzled with Lemon Dressing
GET THE RECIPE HERE: Greek Pizza
This pizza recipe takes only 20 minutes, and it’s made from pantry staples. After falling in love with this recipe, I’ll now be sure to keep a frozen crust on hand for those nights when 20 minute dinners are necessary.
To go with the pizza, simply steam 4 cups trimmed green beans for 4 1/2 minutes and then drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the lemon dressing and salt and pepper.
Meal Prep Menu Prep List
Set aside time on Sunday to grocery shop and do about two hours of meal prep. When I tested the meal prep, I was sure to multitask to make sure that I got everything prepped in 2 hours. Download your prep list here to take into the kitchen.
First Build the Stuffed Shells with Spinach.
Assemble them right into a casserole dish and cover them with foil. To speed up the prep work, prep the filling while you wait for the pasta water to boil. Note: that this recipe uses all but 1/2 cup of the tomato basil sauce. You’ll need to save that 1/2 cup for Friday night’s pizza!
Freeze the Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Kit
You’ll set up two bags. I like to use Ziplock Freezer gallon bags. One contains the cooked chicken, seasonings, mirepoix and wild rice. The second bag contains the green beans and red bell peppers. The reason you separate them is that the green beans and red bell peppers do not need to cook very long, so it’ better when you add them at the end.
Prepare a batch of Lemon Juice Salad Dressing
This is a super basic recipe in my house and a fan favorite on Healthy Seasonal Recipes. Just blend the ingredients together in a mini-prep or with an immersion blender for the creamiest dressing. Store it in a jar in the fridge for the week. (You’ll use it Monday and Friday.)
Cook the Sloppy Joe Meat
The sloppy joes meat can be made entirely ahead. To rewarm the sloppy joes meat, microwave it, stirring occasionally until piping hot. You can alternatively add about 1/4 cup water and rewarm it on the stovetop over low heat in a skillet or saucepan.
Note: If you would prefer to spend less time prepping on the weekend, this is one of those flexible recipes where you could make it during the week.
You could also make a little sloppy joes kit if you prefer, where you chop the mushrooms and measure out the ingredients ahead. For me, I found it easier to make it entirely when I was already in prep mode on Sunday (ie when the kitchen was already a mess!)
Cut Broccoli and Cauliflower
Your side dish for Wednesday is roasted cauliflower and broccoli with cheese. I find that taking the time to chop it on the meal prep day is much easier than getting out the cutting board and chopping it up after a long day of work! Just seal it up in a large glass resealable container or in Ziplock bags.
Your Shopping List for this Healthy Meal Prep Menu
I have gone through all of the recipes and side dishes and made you a downloadable shopping list here. Please make sure you check your pantry and kitchen staples for:
- Agave or honey
- All-purpose flour
- Avocado oil or organic canola oil
- Dijon mustard
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh garlic
- Maple syrup or brown sugar
- Unsalted butter, softened
- White vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Black pepper
- Dried Italian Seasoning herb blend
- Dry thyme
- Greek seasoning herb blend
- Ground sage
- Salt (coarse kosher and table)
Tips for Meal Prep Beginners
If you are new to meal prep, I have a couple more tips to share with you.
- First of all, you’ll find that you need more storage containers than you think. I like to store food in glass containers whenever possible. These glass snap lock ones are fantastic.
- Don’t let the process of meal prepping overwhelm you. If you feel that five meals is too much, try just two or three that really appeal to you.
- If you aren’t quite ready to meal prep an entire week’s worth of dinners, you can start out by making meal prep lunches such as: Jar Salads or Meal Prep Salmon Power Salads.
- I find that at this time of year, having meal prepped breakfasts for me and my husband are super helpful in getting a fresh start after the holidays. We love these Paleo Egg Muffins or this easy Spinach Egg Bake.
Thank you so much for reading. Please come back and let me know if you try this meal prep menu. I can’t wait to hear what you think! And if you haven’t yet, make sure you sign up for my email newsletter. I send out the latest healthy recipes every Saturday morning.
Thanks for all these recipes and tips — otherwise, I’d be showing up on your doorstep for dinner every night this week.
Katie, what kind of cutting board is that? I love the height, drippings groove, handles, etc.!
Thank you Kirsten. It is from JKAdams which is a specialty wood working company here in Vermont. I explained more about it here https://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/garlic-rosemary-steaks-with-kale-walnut-pesto/
It’s held up so well all these years later!
Thanks, Katie, I didn’t remember that post!
It was a long time ago, so I totally understand. Have a great week.
Love these recipes, Great variety, can’t wait to try them. Meal prep idea is something I should do. It is always a pleasure to be able to pull something out of the freezer.
That’s great! Let me know if you try it!
All recipe sound delicious and definitely very informative and interesting too. Thanks.
Thanks Veena! So glad you think this is helpful. Please let me know if you try the menu.
Great post! I need to get better about meal prepping!
Thanks Erika. It has been so nice to work on this piece because that means dinners have been prepped for me too! It is a great habit to get into!
I love the sound of every recipe in this plan! What a great way to start the week – prepped and ready to go with a solid plan of tasty meals!
Thanks so much Courtney. I appreciate the feedback!
This is fantastic. So helpful for busy weekdays. They all look really good too!
Hi Andrea. I am so glad you like the plan. Let me know if you end up trying some or all of it.
What a great way to start the week. I really like that all the meals are easy to prepare and kid-friendly perfect for our family.
Hi Kelly. So far the feedback has been that the kiddos are loving this menu (though one family reported that the Cajun seasoning was too much for their littles) so I am glad to hear you like these. Please let me know if you try it. I would love any feedback to make it stronger, or to implement for the next menu!