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Meal planning may seem like a lot of work, but it can actually save you time in the long run. Having a plan can save you money on groceries, reduce household food waste, and help you eat healthier.
Planning ahead, checking what you have, and making a shopping list will ensure you always have what you need and deplete what you have.
we take advantage PlateJoy, a digital meal planning app, to create a simple and easy meal plan to get you started. These recipes are based on pantry staples you may have on hand and are flexible enough to substitute ingredients when you don’t have time to shop.
This collection of five easy recipes for dinner, breakfast, and lunch can be followed as-is or used for cooking inspiration. Happy cooking!
Prescription: Speedy Huevos Rancheros
This quick and tasty breakfast has the right balance of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats to keep you feeling full and energized until lunch.
Mix up the flavors by trying a salsa verde or a fruit-based salsa, like pineapple or mango. If you don’t have black beans, you can substitute pinto or kidney beans.
This Speedy Huevos Rancheros recipe is a quick morning meal, but it also makes an easy, 10-minute dinner.
Prescription: Quick Rice and Bean Burritos
If you’re making packed lunches, this recipe is a great one to add to your rotation. It’s easy, portable and even freezable.
Burritos can be made ahead of time, wrapped tightly in plastic or foil, and frozen for up to three months for easy on-the-go meals. The recipe is intentionally simple, so it works for a wide range of dietary preferences.
Spice up your burritos by adding cheese, avocado, hot sauce, or a bit of chorizo (veggie chorizo works too). Get creative with your favorite flavors and what you have on hand.
Prescription: Quick and Easy Vegetarian Black Bean Soup
This recipe is perfect to prepare at the end of the week when the refrigerator looks empty. It only takes four simple pantry ingredients to make the soup, but a few fresh ingredients will take it to the next level.
We recommend sour cream and green onions, but chopped red onion or chives are also delicious. You can also substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream and serve with sweet potato chips for a little crunch.
Prescription: Quick Chicken Fried Rice
We know leftovers can be a drag, but this recipe helps make them shine again! If you have leftover rice, chicken, and vegetables, you can whip up this family meal in less than 10 minutes.
Roast chicken from last night and rice to go from the weekend? No problem. Throw in some frozen vegetables and dinner is almost ready. If you’re more of a planner or love to meal prep, you already know that pre-cooked grains and protein make meals a breeze.
Premixed frozen vegetables work well if you’re in a hurry, but you can also reduce waste and save money by using whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand; just plan on a little more time to snack.
Rprescription: Pan glazed chicken and cabbage with rice
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Chicken thighs and thick slices of napa cabbage are grilled in a savory, tangy glaze until crisp-tender. Keep the cabbage leaves together by cutting off the main stem and roast with the chicken so the cabbage absorbs some of the juices.
Simple and flavorful, you can serve this chicken and cabbage duo over rice or noodles or make it a low carb meal with steamed cauliflower rice.
Rprescription: Moroccan baked eggs with turkey and boiled vegetables
Eggs are often thought of as a breakfast food, but they’re also an easy and inexpensive option for dinner. This one-dish dish can spice up your dinner routine and provide plenty of protein at the same time.
Traditionally made with ground lamb, we’ve substituted the ground turkey for a healthier (and more affordable) version that still draws inspiration from the flavors of Morocco.
If you don’t have kale, you can use any dark leafy green – collard greens, Swiss chard, or spinach are great alternatives. To use frozen spinach, thaw and drain well before adding. A little extra liquid is fine, but too much will make the eggs runny.
Prescription: chana saag over rice
Chana saag is a combination of chick peas (chana) and spinach (saag) stewed in a curry sauce. This recipe adds crushed tomatoes and coconut milk for a rich, creamy sauce that balances out the strong spices.
If spicy foods aren’t your thing, skip the cayenne pepper and opt for a mild curry powder.
Using dry spices is a great way to add a lot of flavor to a dish. Buying dry spices can be expensive, but there are ways to save. Find a store that sells spices in bulk so you can buy just what you need.
Check if there is an ethnic or international grocery store in your area; These stores often have fresher spices at a lower cost and have a wider variety of package sizes.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be stressful, rigid, or require you to spend all day in the kitchen on a Sunday. Having a few easy dinner ideas, plus a few breakfasts and lunches for the week, can help you easily make a shopping list and stick to your cooking plan.
If you’re looking for more help putting together meal plans, consider signing up with a meal planning service like PlateJoy.