Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling
It can be difficult to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, especially if you have a busy schedule. That’s where meal prepping comes in. If you’re trying to save money or just make sure you eat all of the food in your fridge, having meals that you can grab and heat up can make a big difference. We have all of the meal prep tips and hacks you need when you’re first starting out and looking for dishes to make. Here are some big-batch recipes that are perfect for meal prepping.
The last thing you want to think about when you’re rushing to work or school in the morning is making a huge breakfast. But this breakfast bowl recipe will help you start off your day on the right foot. You can pack muesli cereal or steel-cut oats, yogurt, frozen fruits and more into a mason jar and let it chill overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, you have a quick, high protein breakfast that you can grab and eat on the go.
This recipe has everything you need for the best breakfast combo — eggs, sausage and cheese. If you have leftover bread that you need to get rid of before it turns stale, this breakfast casserole with sausage will make good use of it. Prep this savory dish on Sunday night, bake it Monday morning and eat it all week long.
This recipe creates a savory version of muffins by packing in bacon and cheese. Make these bad boys ahead of time and refrigerate them so you can have a fresh breakfast in the morning throughout the week. Just pop them in the microwave and they'll be warm and fresh tasting in seconds.
You can easily make this quiche recipe using biscuit mix. If you have some leftover meat and vegetables from last night’s dinner, toss them into your quiche mixture. It’s particularly delicious with leftover ham. Cut this quiche into six slices and keep them in the refrigerator so you can eat them for breakfast every day. Quiche also makes a great lunch or dinner with a simple salad as a side.
Only a few ingredients are required to make this delicious chia seed pudding and it’s simple to customize to your liking. You can use shredded coconut or any of your favorite berries as a topping. And of course, it's best made ahead.
These savory scones will pair great with a quick batch of scrambled eggs. If you want to eat them on their own, add bacon bits to the dough for extra flavor and protein. Though you may be tempted, don’t eat all of these right away. Instead, pack away a few so you’ll have breakfast ready to go on busy mornings.
Do you have no clue what to do with overripe bananas? It’s simple: make banana bread. This recipe freshens up things with the addition of fresh blueberries and white chocolate chips. Cut yourself a slice in the morning before heading to work. We also have other banana bread recipes for every day of the week.
Save money on groceries by skipping those sugary granola bars from the store. Instead, use this recipe to make healthy breakfast bars with fresh ingredients. This recipe calls for strawberries but you can always replace them with blueberries or raspberries. These bars are a perfect make-ahead breakfast.
You can easily pack this chicken vegetable bowl recipe in separate plastic containers, so you make a big batch on Sunday and take this to the office all week long. Use this recipe if you’re trying to use up leftover rice from Chinese takeout.
Stir-fries are one of the best ways to meal prep because you can chop the ingredients ahead of time so they're ready to go. Just fire up a skillet with peppers, mushrooms, water chestnuts or whatever veggies you prefer, cook them up and portion them over a generous scoop of rice or quinoa. You can easily substitute chicken or beef if you’re not sold on scallops. You can also use tofu or shrimp if you want to keep this dish pescatarian.
You need this cauliflower bowl if you’re looking for a simple meal to make when you’re having a busy week. Vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike will love this colorful salad filled with Buffalo-sauce-coated cauliflower and other fresh veggies, like radishes, cucumbers, celery or carrots. Simply store these bowls in the fridge and eat them throughout the week.
Chicken salad is good for meal prepping because you can make it en masse and keep it in the refrigerator. And it actually gets better the longer the flavors have to combine. Enjoy it on its own or place it in between slices of bread to make a sandwich.
Enjoy a filling lunch with this protein-packed quinoa bowl. This easy slow cooker recipe is full of Mexican-inspired flavors thanks to roasted tomatoes and taco seasoning. Pack five containers with some chicken, chorizo, steak or pulled pork and eat throughout the week.
If you struggle with knowing what to eat for lunch every day, meal-prepping tuna salad can be a solution. This classic recipe can get whipped up in less than one hour and will keep refrigerated for up to five days. Transform it into a sandwich or lettuce wrap.
This traditional Korean recipe has everything you need for a well-balanced meal. You can prepare this bibimbap recipe in large batches to meal prep for the week. You can choose to make it completely vegetarian using your favorite vegetables, or you can include marinated beef if you desire. Don’t forget to include a lovely soft-boiled or hard-boiled egg.
One broccoli and cheese recipe you need is this copycat Panera Bread broccoli cheddar soup. It’s a wonderful comfort food you’ll come back to again and again. Soups are awesome for meal prepping since you can make a big batch to enjoy at various times.
Salad is an easy go-to lunch that can easily be prepped ahead; store all the ingredients in containers in the fridge and keep the dressing separate so you can create a quick DIY salad bar at meal time. Keep it simple with fresh greens and vegetables drizzled with a light vinaigrette topped with perfectly grilled chicken or garbanzo beans. Or you can include homemade croutons and pickled vegetables to give your salad an upgrade.
Stuffed peppers are a dinnertime favorite that doesn’t require a lot of steps. This dish is completely meatless but doesn’t lack flavor. Make extra of this vegetarian dish so you can enjoy a cheap and easy lunch.
Cheese lovers gather around for this recipe, a cheesy broccoli and rice casserole that doesn’t take a lot of effort. You can pack some of it away to bring for lunch since it can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days — you won’t have to worry about cooking for the rest of the week.
This classic warming soup is simple to make when you’re meal prepping. Cook a large pot of chicken noodle soup on Sunday night and reheat for lunch or dinner throughout the week. It’s also great to freeze ahead of time and heat up when you need something to ease a stomachache.
Cooking beef brisket in a slow cooker will give you juicy, tender meat. Create a different meal every day by eating this brisket in a bun, on top of mac and cheese or inside of a tortilla for Taco Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Chicken is a versatile meat that you can use for lunch, dinner and everything in between. The best thing about this chicken with potatoes and olives recipe is that everything is baked on one pan, which means there are fewer dishes to wash. Plan to enjoy leftovers as part of a big salad another day.
This recipe is everything you love about tacos but in an easy-to-prep casserole. Ground beef, beans, corn, cheese and tortilla chips are all layered in one dish to make a delicious Mexican-inspired meal. It reheats well, which means you can make it over the weekend on your meal prep day and eat the casserole instead of takeout when you don't have the time or energy to cook.
Do you want a dish that has amazing leftovers? Make a meatloaf. And not just any meatloaf, either; this recipe incorporates popular Tex-Mex flavors to create something better than a combination of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Enjoy a few slices with salsa for dinner and make it into a sandwich for lunch the next day. If you can’t get enough meatloaf, here are some easy meatloaf recipes for inspiration.
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