Happy Sunday! It’s a start of a new week and the start of a new meal planning week!
When do you like to meal plan? Whether you do a little throughout the week or just get it done all at once the key is to save time and not to spend more than 29 minutes meal planning each week. If you’ve been meal planning for awhile you probably can meal plan in minutes and the more you meal plan the easier it will get. Keep sticking with it as you’ll see results not only in your pocket book but also saving time making dinner.
Today is all about meal prep and prepping ahead. You can save a ton of time prepping meals ahead. After you do your weekly grocery shopping take the time to cut and prep veggies, cut meats like chicken and put in resealable bags and place pantry staples needed for each meal in little bins along with the recipe. The more you can do to prep ahead the easier it will be getting dinner on the table.
Don’t feel like prepping all your meals at once? No problem! If you’re not ready to dive into prepping 5 meals at once or don’t have a lot of extra space for containers and bins than the meal for the next day prep the night before. Cut up veggies, marinate meat, measure out as many ingredients as you can. Put all the cold ingredients together in a small bin and refrigerate and collect all the other ingredients and pantry staples for the recipe and put them in another bin. That way you have all the ingredients on hand and ready to go when you’re ready to cook and will save you time looking around for ingredients when it’s time to make dinner. By having it all in a bin or container you have all the ingredients laid out for you to make meal time a breeze!
This weeks recipes are all about easy meal prep and meals you can easily prep ahead of time!
This weeks meals
- Pesto Lasagna Rolls
- Loaded Taco Salad with Creamy Salsa Ranch Dressing
- Hawaiian Skillet Chicken
- Meatball Sub Casserole
- Red Curry Chicken
Meal #1 – Meatless Monday!
Pesto Lasagna Rolls
Making the pesto ahead of time saves time when preparing this meal! You can even make this entire meal the night before, cover with foil and pop in the refrigerator. When ready for dinner just pop in the oven!
- 9 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
- 28 ounce store bought or homemade marinara sauce (easy homemade marinara sauce recipe below)
- 9 tablespoons store bought or homemade basil pesto (easy basil pesto recipe below)
- 15 ounce ricotta
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium bowl mix ricotta, egg yolk, ½ cup mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and garlic.
- Spread ⅓ cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9-inch baking or pie dish.
- Lay lasagna noodles on a large clean surface (wax paper works great) and spread each noodle with 1 tablespoon pesto. Top each noodle with 3 tablespoons ricotta mixture.
- Roll lasagna noodles and place seam side down in baking dish.
- Pour remaining marinara sauce evenly on top of rolls. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
- Serve immediately.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a low boil then reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least 10-20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
- Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender. Start blending, then stream in olive oil until blended. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Meal #2 – Taco Tuesday!
Loaded Taco Salad with Creamy Salsa Ranch Dressing
This mouthwatering salad is loaded with ground beef, diced tomatoes,Mexican shredded cheese,crushed tortilla chips and tossed in an easy Creamy Salsa Ranch Dressing!
- 1 pound ground meat (lean ground beef, turkey or chicken)
- 1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning or 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning
- ¾ cup water
- 1 head romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped
- ½ pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- 2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
- Additional add-ins:
- ½ cup black olives, cut in half
- ½ cup corn
- ½ cup black beans, drained
- ½ red onion, sliced
- 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- Salsa-Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- ½ cup mild salsa
- Cook meat in a large skillet over medium heat until thoroughly cooked.
- Stir in taco seasoning and water and cook for a few minutes longer.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- To assemble salad place lettuce in a large bowl.
- Add in meat mixture, tomatoes, cheese and additional optional add ins and toss until combined.
- Before serving toss salad with desired amount of dressing and top with crushed tortilla chips.
- Salsa Ranch Dressing
- Mix salsa and ranch in a small bowl or mason jar until combined.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Hawaiian Chicken Skillet
Escape to the tropics with this easy Hawaiian Chicken Skillet that uses a lot of pantry staples that you can set aside until ready to cook!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (about 6-7 ounces each)
- 8 ounce can pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon freshly minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small red onion cut into 1 inch pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Cilantro for garnish
- Place chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper and using a mallet or a rolling pin flatten chicken to about ½ inch thick.
- In a small bowl whisk ⅓ cup reserved pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and ginger until combined. Set aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and cook for about 4-5 minutes just until slightly tender.
- Season each side of chicken with salt and pepper.
- Add in chicken and cook about 5-7 minutes per side until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- Pour in sauce and deglaze skillet, about 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add in pineapple chunks and return chicken to skillet, turning chicken to coat with sauce.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes longer, turning chicken halfway.
- Remove chicken to serving platter. Whisk in cornstarch to thicken sauce. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with fresh cilantro.
*After I whisk the cornstarch to the sauce in the skillet I usually add the chicken back to the skillet and turn the chicken to coat to smother the chicken in the thick sauce.
TIP! Wrap fresh ginger in plastic wrap and in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. Whenever a recipe calls for fresh ginger you have fresh ginger right at your fingertips. Plus keeping it in the freezer makes it easier to mince too!
Meatball Sub Casserole
There’s no doubt your family is going to love this yummy Meatball Sub Casserole! You can even lighten it up using turkey meatballs!
- 1 loaf Italian bread, cut into large bite size cubes (about 1 inch each)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 pound frozen meatballs or turkey meatballs, thawed
- 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl mix mayonnaise, cream cheese, ½ cup mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning until blended.
- Add in Italian bread cubes and gently toss until to coat.
- Pour bread cubes evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.
- Add meatballs then top with sauce.
- Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Cook for about 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Meal # 5
Red Curry Chicken
Craving Thai? Skip the takeout and whip up this delicious Red Curry Chicken and serve over white rice ready in about 30 minutes!
- 1½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite size pieces
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 green pepper, cut into strips
- 1 red pepper cut into strips
- ½ white or sweet onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 13.5 ounce can regular or light coconut milk
- 4 ounce jar red curry paste
- ½ lime, juiced
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup bean sprouts, optional
- Shredded thai basil or regular basil for serving, optional
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet.
- Cook chicken stirring occasionally until all sides are brown and chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 10-12 minutes.
- Add in peppers, onion and garlic and cook until slightly tender about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl mix together coconut milk, red curry paste and lime juice until blended.
- Add sauce in with chicken and stir to coat.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste if desired.
- Stir in bean sprouts and basil right before serving.
MEAL PLANNING 101
We encourage you to listen to our Meal Planning 101 podcast for tips and ideas on how to maximize your weekly meal plan!
You can also find all our meal plans and meal planning podcasts in our meal planning section located in the index.