It's only Monday, yet you're officially out of ideas for the family's lunches this week. The salad mix you bought over the weekend for your midday meals is starting to wilt, and you can't stand looking at one more sad desk lunch. You'd love to try meal-prepping in advance, but it seems complicated — where would you even begin? Well, these deliciously simple meal-prep recipes are a great way to get started! Instead of stressing about about what you're going to feed your family, you can spend your newfound extra free time doing fun things (or even catching up on sleep — wouldn't that be amazing?).
Your family members won't be the only ones to benefit from these creative meal ideas. Whether you're dieting and looking for a guilt-free, low-carb, low-fat, low-whatever recipe or you want a sinfully cheesy, treat-yourself dish, we've got you covered. And if you can rope your family into helping you prep over the weekend, you'll have mouthwatering dishes ready for the week in no time.
Keep scrolling to discover everything from time-saving one-pan dinners to lighter ground turkey recipes.
To enjoy zoodles, you'll need to pick up a veggie spiralizer ($29.99, Amazon). Fortunately, these kitchen tools come with various attachments, meaning you get to enjoy veggies sliced and shredded lots of different ways.
What makes this meal-prep recipe so easy is that you can whip up a huge batch and save it for throughout the week, just like you would with pasta — except with zoodles, you won't have that mid-afternoon post-carb crash if you bring this for lunch. Zucchini noodles with turkey meatballs are light and healthy, and — most important — they'll make you forget all about your regular old pasta. Get the directions from Damn Delicious.
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Courtesy of Mom on Timeout
Cheesy Kielbasa, Rice, and Broccoli Skillet Dinner
Isn't it the worst when you have to clear away a huge pile of pots, pans, and plates after slaving away over a hot stove to feed your family? Somehow your hubby and the kids always manage to run out of the room before you can even ask, "Who's going to help me with the dishes?" Well, not this time! Treat your tastebuds to this easy-to-make Cheesy Kielbasa, Rice, and Broccoli Skillet Dinner — and your sad, dry hands to a break from scalding dish water.
If you're looking for a healthier version, you can swap out the kielbasa for a turkey or chicken version. And for picky eaters who don't like broccoli, feel free to substitute in a different veggie; peppers, onions, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, and eggplant all come to mind. Get the directions from Mom on Timeout.
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Courtesy of Cookie + Kate
It may be the middle of summer, but nothing fills people up like a piping hot bowl of chili no matter how hungry the kids are after sports practice. Even though this is a vegetarian dish, your family won't miss the meat thanks to filling ingredients like black beans, carrots, and pinto beans.
Later in the week, this vegetarian chili makes for the perfect leftover lunch or dinner. (If you ask us, food just tastes better the longer you give the ingredients a chance to really sit and stew.) Over time, the beans will soak up all the flavor of the onions, peppers, garlic powder, and oregano, creating a meal with an even richer mix of taste and tang. Get the directions from Cookie + Kate.
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Courtesy of Let the Baking Begin
Potato, Salmon, and Asparagus One-Pan Dinner
This delicious Potato, Salmon, and Asparagus One-Pan Dinner sounds like something straight off a restaurant menu. Little will your coworkers know that today's desk lunch is actually homemade — or that you made everything using just one pan!
To make cleanup easier, simply place a piece of tin foil on your pan before adding in the fish and veggies. Having only one pan to clean already saves you time while washing dishes, but adding the tin foil means you won't have to spend time scrubbing like a madwoman to remove caked-on food later.
If you buy fish in bulk, simply section off what you need for a week or half a week's worth of meals and freeze the rest. Saving money and saving time? Now that's a win-win! Get the directions from Let the Baking Begin.
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Courtesy of Cooking Classy
Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps
For those meals when you're craving tex-mex, skip the drive-through at Taco Bell, and try these Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps instead. Just like regular tacos, these bad boys are totally customizable. Don't like salsa? Skip it. Want to knock your socks off with spice? Pile on the hot sauce. Looking for something light? Pile on the veggies.
On Sunday, all you have to do is whip up a large batch of cooked ground turkey (or ground beef, or just veggies) and save it in the fridge. Then, during the week, just reheat your meat, place it on a lettuce leaf, and add your favorite toppings — easy, peasy! Get the directions from Cooking Classy.