When it comes to meal prepping it brings with it multiple benefits. It saves you time at the end of the day to know you have a meal ready to be cooked-up once you’re home, it saves a lot of money (take-out gets expensive), and if you are trying to follow a specific nutritional-plan it is stellar for staying on-track with a healthy diet.
Should you know how to cook but not be sure of good meals to prep in advance, this article has three great suggestions for healthy meal prep recipes earlier in the week and then have an easy time cooking when you’re ready to eat them–plus there is a bonus tip about meal prepping too.
White Chicken Quinoa Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 large white onion, finely diced
2 medium chicken breasts (8 oz.)
16 oz. salsa Verde
15 oz. can white northern beans, drained
15 oz. can navy beans, drained
15 oz. can white hominy (or corn)
1 cup white quinoa, uncooked
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth (4 cups)
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/8 cup lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro
Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add in minced garlic and white onion. Sautee for 1 minute and then add in chicken breast, quinoa, chicken broth, beans (drained), hominy, and salsa.
Bring to a boil, uncovered. Let simmer and cover for 30 minutes on low until chicken is cooked.
Shred chicken and then place back in. Add in cumin, salt, lime juice, and fresh cilantro. Mix again. If your Chili is too thick (it tends to do that), add more chicken broth or water.
West African Spicy Peanut Chicken Wings
4 lbs chicken wings, split at the joint, wingtips removed and discarded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for frying
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 habanero or Scotch bonnet Chile, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
⅓ cup natural smooth peanut butter
1 bay leaf
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp fish sauce
¼ cup finely chopped roasted, salted peanuts, for serving
2 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced, for serving
Spread the wings in a single layer on wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and season liberally with salt and pepper. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 275F. Working in 2 batches, fry the wings, tossing occasionally, until pale brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes per batch. To test for doneness, lift a wing from the oil and pierce with a paring knife. If there is no resistance they are done. Transfer the wings with a slotted spoon to a clean rack set over a baking sheet and let cool for at least 30 minutes. (Make sure the oil returns to the proper temperature between batches.)
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and chile and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter and bay leaf, then pour in the broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer then cook, stirring often, until it is thickened and slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, discard the bay leaf and stir in the fish sauce. Finely grate the zest of 1 lime into the sauce, then add its juice. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then pour it into a blender and puree until very smooth. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and keep warm.
Increase the temperature of the frying oil to 425ºF. Working in 3 batches, fry the wings again until the skin is golden brown and very crisp, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer the wings to a large bowl and season each batch with salt while hot. (Make sure the oil returns to the proper temperature between batches.)
Pour two-thirds of the reserved peanut sauce over the wings and toss to coat evenly. Transfer the wings to a platter and sprinkle with the peanuts. Finely grate the zest of another lime over the wings then cut the remaining limes into wedges. Serve the wings immediately with lime wedges, sliced mango and extra peanut sauce on the side.
Healthy Baked Parmesan Chicken Nuggets
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/2 cup parmesan cheese divided in half
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside.
In a food processor place the chicken breasts, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, cold water, and salt +pepper. Pulse for 1 minute or just until the chicken is minced, and everything is well combined.
Pour the panko breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup parmesan into a shallow dish. Shape the minced chicken mixture into small nuggets and coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Line nuggets on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil or spray with cooking spray.
Bake 12-15 minutes then transfer under the broiler for 2-3 minute or until nuggets are lightly golden. Serve warm with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce.
A Bonus Tip
Should you enjoy cooking but find it tedious to prepare your meals for cooking later in the week, various meal kit delivery services may be right up your alley. Whether you use a more general service (Hello Fresh) or one geared towards specific diets (Purple Carrot), these can deliver an assortment of pre-prepped meals for you every week that you simply just store until you’re ready to cook. All the advance work is done for you and you’re able to focus on the main task of getting the meal made.