THE MEAL PREP FORMULA
The easiest way to prepare a meal is to use a simple formula and add the ingredients. So for this meal, I used the protein + vegetables + veggies formula. Sometimes I do a protein + vegetables + grains formula. Either way, I keep the cooking method and seasonings simple to reduce the effort.
A third formula I sometimes use is chilled salad + protein. This formula is a bit more involved, in my opinion, as salads tend to require a bit more prep work than a simple roasted vegetable.
OTHER VEGETABLE OPTIONS
As mentioned above, one of the reasons I love this simple is that it's super customizable. If you're not a fan of the vegetables I used, you can substitute them with anything. Here are some options:
- Brocoli cuit à la vapeur ou rôti
- Carottes cuites à la vapeur ou rôties
- Pommes de terre rôties
- Haricots verts à la vapeur
- Chou-fleur rôti
- Courge rôtie
- Courgettes au citron et au poivre
- Champignons rôtis
- Asperges rôties
KEEP THE SEASONINGS SIMPLE
One of the keys to making this meal quick and easy is to not overthink the seasonings. This is a time when I usually rely on pre-made seasoning blends. I don't want to pull out ten bottles of herbs and spices, I just want to add a dash of one thing or another and be done with it. Possible seasonings include steak seasoning, Cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, chili seasoning, za'atar, curry powder, garlic herb seasoning, pepper or Greek seasoning.
I usually season the proteins a lot, then keep the seasonings for the vegetables fairly simple (salt, pepper, maybe garlic powder) so they don't compete too much.
BULK IT UP
A good way to add some volume to this meal without increasing the cost too much is to add a grain. Rice, quinoa, bulgur, farro or barley are all great options. Try cooking your grain in broth instead of water for an extra dose of flavor.
CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE MEAL PREP
This simple chicken and vegetable is an easy way to make meals ahead of time to save time and money, and it's customizable!
- SERVINGS: 4
- PREP: 15 mins
- COOK: 35 mins
- TOTAL: 50 mins
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts ($1.99)
- 1.25 lbs. sweet potato* ($1.25)
- 3 Tbsp cooking oil, divided ($0.12)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp pepper ($0.02)
- 1.3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast ($6.79)
- 2 tsp steak seasoning ($0.20)
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika ($0.05)
- 1 Tbsp butter ($0.10)
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Rinse the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with a tablespoon of oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Wash the sweet potato and cut it in half lengthwise. Prick the outer surface with a fork. Rub 1 tablespoon of oil on all surfaces of the sweet potato. Place the sweet potato, cut side down, on the baking sheet with the Brussels sprouts.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, stir the Brussels sprouts, then return the baking sheet to the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts have reached the desired level of browning. If the sweet potato is not completely softened at this point, simply remove the sprouts and return the sweet potato to the oven.
- While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the chicken breast. In a bowl, combine the steak seasoning, smoked paprika and sweet paprika. Coat chicken breasts with seasoning mixture.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once hot, add chicken breasts.
- Cook the chicken breasts, without turning, for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn breasts over and cook second side until golden brown and cooked through (internal temperature 165ºF). Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken.
- Transfer cooked chicken breasts to a clean cutting board to rest for five minutes before slicing.
- Cut the sweet potato halves in half again to create four servings. Divide the sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and sliced chicken among four containers. Add a dab of butter to each piece of sweet potato. Refrigerate for up to four days.