Meals Made Easy
Try these 6 Make Ahead Meals that use minimal ingredients for healthy options during your busiest weeks.
Meal planning can be tough, and so too can be sticking to your plan when you head out the door early for work without any time to make a good breakfast, and you’re running in the house after a long day of school, works, sports, and everything else. That’s why we are providing you with 6 meals that can be made ahead of time and can be used throughout the week to keep you and your family nourished.
Some of these meals call for a Crock-Pot or slow cooker. If you don’t already have one, we suggest one that is programmable and that will allow you to keep your foods warm after the cooking time has elapsed. This gives you a lot more flexibility as far as when you eat and you don’t need to be worried about running late and your food cooling down once cooking is complete. For easy clean up, we suggest using slow cooker liners which are available on Amazon or at Target, among other stores. No fuss and no mess!
Slow Cooker Overnight Oats: So easy and so delicious, these can be mixed together in the crockpot at night and enjoyed first thing the next morning. Not only will you have breakfast waiting for you, you will wake up to your whole house smelling like warm cinnamon apples to start your day. Leftovers can be stored in a tupperware and heated up throughout the week.
- 2 cups oats (avoid instant oats and instead opt for steel cut or gluten free old fashioned oats)
- 3 cups milk of your choice (whole, almond or coconut)
- 3 cups of water
- 3 apples peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Dash of salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Splash of pure maple syrup (optional for sweetness)
Throw all ingredients in your slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to low heat for 7 hours. After 7 hours, remove lid and stir. Add more milk if oats are too thick. Serve oats with almonds or pecans for added crunch.
Easy Egg Bake: If you’re looking for a protein packed option to start your day, look no further. This versatile recipe is sure to become a weekly staple and is a great way to increase your vegetable intake. For additional flavor, saute some lean breakfast meat like chicken sausage and add it to the bottom of the baking dish with your veggies. Get creative and try out some different combinations!
- 12 eggs
- 4 cups vegetables of your choice (For convenience, buy pre-cut veggies in the produce section of your grocery store)
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Toss in vegetables and saute for 5-7 minutes or until tender.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spread vegetables on the bottom of a non-stick 11x 7 or 13 x 9 baking dish.
- Scramble all eggs in a mixing bowl and pour over the vegetables. Add salt, pepper and cheese (optional).
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are no longer runny. Cut into equal size squares and refrigerate.
- When ready to serve, heat for 45-60 seconds in your microwave.
Lunch and Dinner
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken: This slow cooker specialty can be eaten when prepared and also can be used throughout the week for a number of meal options. The possibilities are really endless and the recipe can be doubled to feed a larger family a couple of meals.
- 2 lbs chicken breasts
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place ingredients in slow cooker on low heat for 8 hours.
- Remove chicken from slow cooker and gently pull, separating apart with 2 forks.
Pulled Barbecue Chicken: Mix chicken with your favorite barbecue sauce and serve with a baked sweet potato or bake up some Alexa’s Organic Sweet Potato Fries and a side of vegetables. If you’re looking for an easy option to get some greens, grab a bag of organic salad or broccoli and cauliflower that can be steamed in the microwave. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. If you have some extra time, roast some brussel sprouts coated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the oven on 400 degrees for 30 minutes and serve with your chicken and sweet potatoes.
Chicken Caesar Salad: Put aside some of the pulled chicken for lunch or dinner another day and toss it with some romaine lettuce and caesar dressing. Throw in some roasted almonds or cashews to add a little crunch and chow down. For an extra kick, mix some buffalo sauce with your Caesar dressing for a Buffalo Chicken Caesar Salad.
Chicken Burritos: Add pulled chicken to your favorite tortilla with steamed rice (the kind in a big that you heat in the microwave works fine!) and load up with your favorite toppings for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Make sure to add some veggies to your burrito to balance out your meal.
Modern Meatloaf Muffins: These tasty treats can be prepared ahead and made in a muffin tin for quicker cook times than your traditional meatloaf.
- 1 ½ lbs ground meat of choice (beef, chicken, or turkey)
- 1 egg plus a splash of milk of your choice
- 1 cup bread crumbs (regular, panko, or gluten free)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 TBS Montreal Seasoning (optional)
- ½ cup ketchup, ½ cup salsa and splash of worcestershire sauce
- Mix all ingredients ahead of time and store in a covered bowl in the refrigerator up to 3 days in advance.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Scoop mixture into a non-stick muffin tray filling each cup to about ¾ full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Serve with leftover rice or sweet potatoes from above and a veggie or salad.
Mexican Meatloaf: Skip the ketchup, worcestershire, and Montreal seasoning and instead toss in a packet of taco seasoning. Serve with rice, black beans and a side salad.
Chicken Avocado Meatloaf: Prepare the recipe above with ground chicken and without the sauce. Skip the Montreal Seasoning and instead add in 1 TBS garlic powder. Add in one extra egg. Immediately before cooking, gently mix in about a cup of diced avocado (from 2 whole avocados).
Slow Cooker Chili: A winter favorite in most homes, our version can be tossed in the slow cooker first thing in the morning and ready and waiting for you when you get home.
- 2 lbs ground meat of choice (beef, chicken, or turkey)
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 envelope chili seasoning (If you prefer homemade, mix together 3 TBS chili seasoning, dash of salt and pepper, 1 TBS each of oregano and basil, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper–if you prefer spice, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp onion powder)
- Heat 1 TBS of olive in a large pan on medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add ground meat to pan and cook until browned.
- Allow meat to cool and either refrigerate until you are ready to prepare the chili or mix immediately with remaining ingredients in slow cooker on low heat for 6-8 hours.
- Serve immediately and store leftovers in tupperware and reheat for lunch the following day.
Easy Vegetable Pasta: With simple ingredients and robust flavor, this dish is sure to become a family staple. This is also a great way to use leftover vegetables in your fridge at the end of the week.
- 4 cups vegetables (Or more–don’t be shy!)
- 1 LB pasta (plain, gluten free, or zoodles are recommended)
- 2 jars of marinara sauce (no sugar added)
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place all vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Roast for 20 minutes.
- Simultaneously, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain in colander and toss with olive oil.
- Allow to cool and refrigerate until you are ready to make your meal. Gallon size freezer bags are a great way to store your cooked noodles and vegetables.
- When you are ready to make your meal, place cooked pasta and vegetables in large pot with 2 jars of sauce. Heat until warm throughout. Serve with parmesan cheese.
- If you’re feeling extra creative, toss in some of the leftover pulled chicken from above for a protein boost.
We hope you enjoy one or many of these meals and that they become regulars in your rotation. Remember to keep it simple and when it doubt, buy pre-cut vegetables from the produce section to cut down your prep time. If you have any questions on catering these meals to you or your family’s needs, feel free to comment below or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bon Appetit!