Large Meal Prep Ideas: Dishes That Scale For Busy Lives

Looking for large meal prep ideas that go beyond the basic chicken and rice? This guide will introduce you to meal ideas designed for batch cooking.

Photo by Askar Abayev

Large Meal Prep Ideas: Breakfast

The most important meal of the day can also be the most delightful and stress-free with these large meal prep ideas.

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are a simple, nutritious option that you can prepare in large quantities. To make multiple servings, you will need:

    • Old-fashioned oats
    • Milk or milk alternative
    • Fruits like berries, banana, or apple
    • Nuts such as almonds or walnuts
    • Sweeteners like honey or maple syrup

Combine the oats, milk, and your choice of sweeteners in a large bowl. Stir well. Portion this base into individual jars and top with fruits and nuts. Seal the jars and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast burritos can be a filling and balanced meal that’s easy to make in large quantities. For this, you’ll need:

    • Scrambled eggs
    • Sautéed vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, onions)
    • Cooked sausage or bacon
    • Cheese
    • Tortillas

Cook each component separately and let them cool. Assemble the burritos by laying out tortillas and evenly distributing the eggs, vegetables, meat, and cheese. Fold and roll the tortillas to make burritos. Wrap them in aluminum foil and freeze. They can last in the freezer for up to a month. Reheat in the oven or microwave when ready to eat.

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Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seed pudding is another convenient and healthy breakfast option. To prepare large quantities, you will need:

    • Chia seeds
    • Milk or a milk alternative
    • Sweeteners like honey or agave syrup
    • Fruits for topping (e.g., mango, berries)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chia seeds, milk, and sweeteners. Stir thoroughly to avoid clumps. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes and then stir again. Once the chia seeds have started to absorb the liquid and the texture becomes gel-like, portion the pudding into individual servings. Top with fruits before refrigerating. These can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

For more meal prep options go here… Meal Prep: Your Ultimate Guide to Prepping Meals Like a Pro

Large Meal Prep Ideas: Lunch

Lunchtime shouldn’t be a rush or an afterthought. With these large meal prep ideas, you can enjoy a wholesome midday meal without the hassle.

Quinoa Salad

A quinoa salad is not only nutritious but also extremely versatile. Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Cooked quinoa
    • Fresh vegetables (e.g., cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers)
    • Protein (e.g., grilled chicken, tofu, or chickpeas)
    • Dressing of your choice (e.g., olive oil and lemon juice, balsamic vinaigrette)

Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions and let it cool. Dice your chosen vegetables and protein. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa, diced vegetables, and protein. Drizzle the dressing over the top and mix well. Portion into individual containers for easy grab-and-go lunches.

Chicken Caesar Wraps

For a portable yet satisfying lunch, try Chicken Caesar wraps. You’ll need:

    • Grilled or baked chicken breast
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Caesar dressing
    • Shredded Parmesan cheese
    • Tortilla wraps
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Cook the chicken breasts seasoned with your choice of herbs or spices. Once cooled, slice them into thin strips. Separate the romaine lettuce leaves and wash them. To assemble, lay a tortilla flat and layer it with lettuce, chicken strips, Caesar dressing, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Roll up the tortilla into a wrap and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

Vegetable stir-fry offers a burst of flavors and nutrients. Ingredients include:

    • Assorted vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, broccoli, carrots)
    • Sauce (e.g., soy sauce, teriyaki)
    • Oil for stir-frying
    • Optional: protein like tofu or chicken

Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Prepare the stir-fry sauce by mixing ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, and a touch of honey. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Stir-fry the vegetables in batches to maintain the heat and crispiness. Add your sauce and protein, if using, toward the end of the cooking process. Divide the stir-fry into meal-prep containers for easy lunches throughout the week.

Large Meal Prep Ideas: Dinner

End your day on a high note with dinners that not only satisfy your taste buds but also make life easier through large meal prep.

Spaghetti Bolognese

This classic dish is perfect for large meal prep. Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Ground meat (beef, pork, or a mix)
    • Onions and garlic
    • Tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
    • Spices (e.g., oregano, basil, salt, and pepper)
    • Spaghetti pasta

Begin by sautéing chopped onions and garlic in a large pot until translucent. Add your ground meat and cook until browned. Incorporate tomato sauce and spices, then simmer for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. In a separate pot, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Portion out the meat sauce and pasta into individual containers for easy reheating.

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Chili

A pot of chili is not only hearty but also freezes well. You will need:

    • Ground meat (beef, turkey, or chicken)
    • Canned beans (e.g., kidney, black, pinto)
    • Tomato sauce
    • Chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper

Brown the meat in a large pot and drain off any excess fat. Add beans, tomato sauce, and spices. Allow the mixture to simmer for at least an hour. Portion the chili into freezer-safe containers. These can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Sheet Pan Fajitas

This is a quick and efficient way to prepare a tasty meal. Ingredients include:

    • Protein (e.g., chicken, beef, or tofu)
    • Bell peppers and onions
    • Fajita or taco seasoning
    • Oil

Preheat your oven and prepare a large baking sheet with a layer of foil or parchment paper for easier cleanup. Cut your protein and vegetables into strips. Toss them in a bowl with oil and seasoning. Spread this mixture on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until the protein is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Portion into containers and serve with tortillas or rice.

Snack Ideas

    • Fruit cups: Portion fruits into small cups for easy snacking.
    • Energy bites: Make these with oats, honey, and peanut butter.
    • Yogurt parfaits: Layer yogurt, fruit, and granola in jars.

Vegetarian Options

    • Lentil soup: Make a large batch and freeze individual servings.
    • Stuffed peppers: Fill bell peppers with a mixture of quinoa, beans, and veggies.
    • Vegetable curry: Cook a large pot and serve over rice.

Conclusion

Large meal prep doesn’t have to be repetitive or boring. By trying out these large meal prep ideas, you can enjoy a variety of delicious meals without the daily hassle of cooking.

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