We’ve all seen the commercials, the posts on social media, and received those enticing discount codes in the mail. What if we told you that with just a little prep work, you could have your own subscription-type meals ready to cook any day of the week? And what if we told you that they could be just as amazingly delicious as those boxed recipes? Save money and time out of your week by planning ahead with your own meal prep dinners!
By taking just a little time on the weekend to prepare a menu, chop vegetables, and measure ingredients, you can create your own weekly meal plans on a budget. Make a list of your meal prep ideas, pick up the ingredients, and get prepping! With a little extra prep, you can even prepare further ahead by making healthy make ahead freezer meals. If you’re trying to save money through making meal prep dinners, then we recommend picking dinner ideas that have similar ingredients.
Meal Planning Tips
Aside from picking out recipes that have similar ingredients, there are plenty of other ways to save money and time when you’re putting together your meal prep recipes. Below are a few of our favorite tips that we’ve picked up that we think will help you, too.
- Save recipes that you love and inspire yourself! Make a list of recipes you enjoy that are also easy for you to make.
- Plan for theme nights! For example, does your family do Taco Tuesday? Making up “themes” for different days of the week will help you plan ahead of time every week.
- If you want to save even more money, cook based on what’s currently on sale at your grocery store of choice. Your store will have an ad that tells you their current sales!
- Make enough for leftovers! We understand that there are picky eaters out there and that not everyone will eat leftovers, but if that’s not a problem for you, then we recommend making enough for leftovers. You can even freeze some for the future!
Meal Prep Dinners You Need Right NOW!
Below are some of our favorite meal prep dinners that we know you’ll love just as much as we do. Start saving time and money by making these delicious, easy dinner recipes!
1. Chicken Fajita Meal Prep Bowls
Slice the peppers, cook the rice, and make the marinade beforehand for these Chicken Fajita Meal Prep Bowls. Pop the chicken into the marinade up to 4 hours before cooking to let the flavors work their magic on the chicken. Double this recipe for a healthy lunch all week!
2. Spinach Baked Ziti Make Ahead Freezer Meal
We love meal prep dinners that are freezer-to-table easy! Our Spinach Baked Ziti Make Ahead Freezer Meal can easily be prepared ahead of time and stored in the freezer for later. Cook up some extra pasta and sausage to use in other meal prep recipes.
3. Low Carb Pad Thai
Shred the celery to use for noodles up to 2 days ahead of time in our Low Carb Pad Thai. You can also prep the sauce up to one week ahead of time for this quick, low carb dinner recipe!
4. Healthier Make Ahead Lasagna Freezer Meal
Even as it starts to get warmer outside, there’s still room on our plates for comfort food recipes like this Healthier Make Ahead Lasagna Freezer Meal. Packed with spinach and two kinds of cheese, this delicious lasagna recipe will not last long in your freezer, or on your plate! Make a double batch: one to serve the week you make it, and one to freezer for later.
5. Tuna Rice Bowl with Yum Yum Sauce
You don’t want to marinate fish too long this Tuna Rice Bowl with Yum Yum Sauce. So, we suggest preparing the marinade and vegetables ahead of time, then pouring the marinade over the fish the night before you want to put your rice bowl together.
6. Whole Chicken Meal Prep
Who doesn’t love cooking just once to make three easy meals to eat? Carmy roasted a whole chicken and turned it into three delicious meals! Her Whole Chicken Meal Prep is a great example of a smart meal plan recipe.
7. Shrimp Stir Fry
Stir fry meals like this Shrimp Stir Fry are the perfect recipes for planning ahead. Chopping the vegetables and marinating the meat beforehand makes this already quick stir fry even faster to fry up! The Schmidty Wife suggests preparing ahead of time and storing in the freezer for an easy weeknight meal.
8. Cilantro Lime Chicken
The Lean Green Bean cooks up a large batch of this chicken and freezes it to use in meal prep dinners. Her Cilantro Lime Chicken is perfect for taco filling, burrito bowl topping, or even as an addition to salads. It can be made in a slow cooker or multi cooker, making your meal planning that much easier!
9. Mexican Pulled Pork
Make-Ahead Meal Mom has a whole site full of meal prep dinners! She calls her Mexican Pulled Pork a multi-tasker, meaning that one batch of pork fed her family for four separate meals. Not only is this dish easy for menu planning, it’s also easy on your grocery budget!
10. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Meal Prep
Not only does Project Meal Plan make delicious lunches out of these meatballs, but she has tips for cooking them in an instant pot. She put her Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Meal Prep into containers for perfectly portioned, easy lunches!
11. Sweet Potato Taco Bowl
Sweet potatoes add a unique, delicious flavor and texture to this taco bowl recipe. This Sweet Potato Taco Bowl from My Kitchen Love has very little hands on time, and even less if you prepare everything but the avocado ahead of time!
12. Instant Pot Shrimp Meal Prep
Garden in the Kitchen lists the benefits of meal prep recipes, which includes helping you stick to healthier goals and staying on a budget. Their Instant Pot Shrimp Meal Prep has just two simple steps and tons of flavorful seasonings!
13. Chicken Brown Rice (Meal Prep)
Curry Trail says that multi-tasking and little prep work can set you up with a week’s worth of healthy meals for you and your family (we agree!). Their Chicken Brown Rice (Meal Prep) recipe has lemony and buttery chicken with crunchy stir fry veggies and cilantro flavored brown rice.
14. Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli
Savory Tooth says that the cut of meat is important in instant pot meal prep dinners. She used chuck roast for her Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli for its marbling and because it gets more tender when you put it in the pressure cooker. Double the recipe for not only dinner, but a week’s worth of lunches, too.
15. Turkey Taco Bowls with Cauliflower Rice
Beautifully Broken Journey likes taco bowls more than tacos because you can customize them with what you have on hand. Add that handful of chips from the bottom of the bag, toss in some salsa or avocado, or stir in some sour cream! Make a double batch of this rice and have Turkey Taco Bowls with Cauliflower Rice any time you want!
16. Easy Cashew Chicken Meal Prep
Project Meal Plan recommends pairing this Easy Cashew Chicken Meal Prep with rice for a delicious take-out style meal! She suggests shaking the sauce in a jar that can be easily stored in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
17. Sheet Pan Salmon, Lentils, and Asparagus
My Kitchen Love uses canned lentils in this sheet pan recipe. If you can’t find canned lentils, then cook up a pot on the weekend to use in this Sheet Pan Salmon, Lentils, and Asparagus! Leftover lentils can easily be tossed into salads for lunch.
Want more meal prep dinners and inspiration? Try this Stuffed Beef Roll Meal Prep Dinner and more meal prep recipes!
The Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.