Meal Prep Inspiration Round 2: Lunch and dinner ideas

Checkout my last post Meal Prep Inspiration Round 1 where I share some healthy breakfast ideas and some of my freezer and pantry essentials. As promised, here’s an example of some of my lunch and dinner meals prepared over the Summer.

**A reminder that I draw inspiration from various sources and most of the time I just make a version of a classic dish and sub ingredients for what I have, what I want to try, or what fits better with my specific dietary needs so I may not have specific recipes available here.

Large, Make-ahead Dishes

Lasagnas, casseroles, shepherds pie, are easy make-ahead meals that I make a large batch of so I can store leftovers in the freezer and use for other weeks when I didn’t have time to do my meal prep.

  • Beef (OR chicken, pork, lamb, turkey, etc.) lasagna using globe zucchini sliced with a mandolin to create flat “noodles”. I make sure to include veggies in the sauce and find that lentils are a great substitute for meat for an easy, high protein vegetarian option.
  • Butternut squash (or any winter squash) souffle topped with mixed veggies and browned in the oven. I use my immersion blender to mix squash  with 1-2 eggs, a little cream,  and spices of choice, top with whatever vegetables I can find, and place in the oven to set. I like to keep things simple so I can change it up later in the week — maybe first it’s a side dish served with lamb or pork chops, then later by adding seeds or cheese to an individual serving to boost protein, I can have it another day for breakfast or lunch.
  • Asian pork and veggie stuffed savoy cabbage with spicy sauteed string beans. Both recipes adapted from Every Last Bite. This meal was a little labor intensive so I would save for an evening when you have some time. For me, Sunday is the day I can start cooking earlier in the day and have some time to invest in a more involved recipe. Making the sauces ahead of time and prepping the leaves for wrapping are great time savers.

 

Quick weekday meals 

Easy Prep Ahead:

Besides using my spiralizer with summer squash to make traditional spaghetti noodles, I sometimes prefer to use my mandolin for a short, thick julienne cut to make zucchini or yellow squash “penne” and store in the fridge to use throughout the week.

I make or buy a plain, whole roasted chicken for one meal, then debone the rest to make other dishes for later:

  • One-pan chicken piccata pasta: A quick butter, lemon, caper sauce with zuchhini noodles and leftover chicken. Top with fresh tomatoes, herbs like parsley or dill, and grated manchego.
  • Pasta Carbonara: Bacon, eggs, and cream?! Heck yes! I adapt my version from The Pioneer Woman‘s recipe for this delicious and easy dish made from just a few simple ingredients.

 

  • Homemade cashew parsley pesto with broccoli and leftover chicken. I like this pesto recipe from Pure & Simple Nourishment but before throwing the ingredients in the food processor, I soak the cashews in water and a little sea salt for 2-3 hours which helps reduce the phytic acid content and neutralize enzyme inhibitors so the nuts are easier to digest.
  • Chicken Tacos: For these I simmered leftover shredded chicken with diced tomatoes, onions, green chilies, and taco seasonings.  I substituted sliced and grilled turnips for tortillas.
  • Almond crusted fried chicken over salad with a homemade apricot and red pepper dipping sauce (a honey mustard vinaigrette would also taste yummy with this salad!). On The Plan we always make sure to include a combination of cooked and raw vegetables in our lunches and dinners so here I paired my fried chicken salad with sauteed kale and fennel.  Oven fried chicken recipe adapted from Everyday Maven. 

Meat Free Mondays

  • Wild rice and pepita stuffed globe zucchini (in the fall and winter, I like to use acorn, butternut, or pumpkin). You can use any combination of mixed seasonal veggies, whole grains (brown basmati and wild rice are my favorite), nuts, seeds, and spices. I will cook the rice or grain first (sometimes in homemade vegetable, chicken, or bone broth, or coconut milk with lemongrass), then saute with other mixed veggies and seeds while the squash cooks in the oven.
  • Homemade falafel with tahini and Greek salad for me, and the same salad topped with cooked ground lamb for the hubby. While I typically include 1-2 meat free days in my weekly rotation, I try to have a meat option ready for Ryan. For more about my personal dietary pattern and meat-free meal inspiration, checkout my post My 80/20 Practice and weekly meat-free rotation ritualFalafel recipe I found on the back of the Bob’s Redmill garbanzo bean flour package. You can find the recipe on the company site HERE.


These are just a few of my favorite meals thrown together over the past few months.  As we transition into my favorite Fall season, I am looking forward to including more warming foods and spices (and pumpkin!)  into my weekly rotation. Feel free to contact me if you need some help getting inspired or want to try out some of these recipes — I’d love to hear what you think!