A little meal planning goes a long way. I try to plan our meals for the week the night before I go grocery shopping, so that I can make my list dependent on what I’m going to cook that week.
On weekends, I try to cook extra items to make our meal preparation for busy weeknights easier. I received an Instant Pot for Christmas. It is a great too for meal prepping. Either I make dinner in the instant pot, while I make the meal for other nights on the stove or vice versa, make the meal for later in the week in the Instant Pot while I cook our dinner on the stove.
Here are a couple of easy recipes that will make multiple meals.
Basic Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot
About 3 pounds of chicken breasts
5 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic paste or 1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon onion powder
½ cup of water
Mix all the ingredients together in a gallon freezer bag with the chicken breasts and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Take out of marinade. Add into instant pot on steamer shelf with about a cup of water and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes. Allow natural release for 5 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure.
Now you have cooked chicken breasts to be able to add to whatever you like for the week. Roasting some veggies while the chicken is cooking, will lessen your load during the week even more.
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Green pepper, sliced into sticks
1 Yellow pepper, sliced into sticks
1 zucchini, sliced into sticks
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of pepper
¼ teaspoon of thyme
Toss veggies with olive oil and spices. Spread out on a sheet pan. Roast at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Here are some meal ideas with the chicken and veggies.
This feeds 5-7 people
Greek Inspired Chicken Pasta
1 ½ cups of cooked chicken, cubed
Roasted tomatoes and zucchini
1 16 ounce box of pasta shells (small shells – I like Wegman’s gluten-free)
4 to 6 ounces of crumbled feta
Juice of ½ a lemon
Cook pasta according to instructions on package and save some of the pasta water. Pour the pasta in to a serving dish. Add chicken, tomatoes, zucchini and lemon juice and one ladle full of the pasta water. Mix. Add more pasta water if too dry. Stir in the feta and serve. Add fresh basil if you have some.
2nd meal – for one ( This was my lunch one day)
Baked Sweet Potato with chicken, roasted veggies and feta
1 Baked Sweet Potato
¼ cup of chicken, diced
A couple of roasted peppers
1 to 2 ounces of crumbled feta
Cut open baked sweet potato. Add chicken, peppers and feta. Enjoy!
Baking the sweet potato in the oven is really my favorite way to cook it, but lack of time usually means that I make it in the microwave.
3rd meal feeds 4 to 5
6 flour tortillas (my gluten free favorite is Joseph’s or Mission GF)
1 to 1 ½ cups of cooked chicken, chopped
Roasted green and yellow peppers
8 to 12 ounces of shredded cheddar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray sheet pan. Place cheese, chicken and peppers on one half of each tortilla. Fold other side over and cook about 6 to 8 minutes on each side.
If there are any chicken and veggies left, toss them into a salad with your favorite dressing.
What are your favorite meal planning recipes? Here are some of my other recipes that have great leftovers to help you out during the week! It is all about making our lives easier: What to do with leftover cod, Turkey Fried Rice and Sweet Potato Two Ways.