By Isadora Baum
Big batch meals are a meal prep hack that can make your wallet heavier, time in the kitchen shorter, and overall, your life way easier. And when it seems we’re all cooking more than ever (and cleaning the kitchen more than ever), cooking meals in larger portions helps make the most of your time in the kitchen. So the next time you’re thinking about what to prepare for dinner, don’t forget big batch meals. Whether it’s a hearty lasagna or sheet pan dinners with veggies and protein, consider this a list of ready to reheat meals to keep stashed in the fridge or freezer. You and your family still get a nutritious, home-cooked meal without having to clean all the pots and pans all over again.
Flavorful meatballs doused in tomato sauce with parmesan cheese and seasonings are easy to make in the slow cooker for busy weeknight dinners. And you can also go for different types of meatball varieties, going with chicken and pesto, for example. These are family-friendly and use ground beef for protein and heartiness. Sprinkle with red pepper for heat and serve over zucchini noodles to make it low-carb.
This chicken casserole dish is packed with veggies and fibrous black beans, as well as protein to keep you fuller longer. In little over an hour your family can dig in and expect leftovers too. Don’t forget the dollop of Greek yogurt for serving.
Never underestimate the power of a sheet pan meal to get a volume of cooking done. Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, and red onion all make an appearance and pair nicely with everything from chicken thighs to tofu. The leftovers are delicious in a breakfast scramble or rice bowl.
Fajitas are a favorite on busy weeknight evenings because they cook so quickly. Think of this recipe as a template so feel free to swap chicken thighs for steak, pork, tofu, lentils, or veggies too. You can also go with taco shells instead of tortillas, as well as a lettuce wrap for a low-carb option. All that’s missing a scoop of guacamole!
One-pan meals are even easier when you’re doing big batch recipes because it’s a simple clean up. This chicken and veggies number is no different. Cook it at the beginning of the week and enjoy the leftovers for lunch with a big salad or dinner, part two, alongside a complex carbohydrate, like quinoa or lentils.
This is a classic lasagna recipe that really delivers the comfort so be sure to use the highest quality ingredients you can. Choose grass-fed beef, lean sausage, and organic dairy to ensure you’re getting the best possible nutrition. Alongside a big salad, this is a family meal everyone can get behind.
This hearty lentil dish is the ultimate big batch recipe since all of the work happens in the slow cooker. Once the lentils are cooked, serve them with a dollop of Greek yogurt and roasted sweet potatoes, or over your favorite grain for a deeply nutritious and filling meal.
There’s big flavor packed into this easy-to-make dish of roasted chicken and potatoes and it only gets better the next day. This a meal we like to make on a Sunday so extras can be used for meals throughout the week. And because it’s done in about an hour, you don’t have to do too much planning to make it for dinner on a weeknight.
We’re always looking for new healthy takes on mac and cheese, and this veggie-packed recipe is a winner. Broccoli, spinach, or even Brussels sprouts are fair game so use what you have on hand. While this recipe calls for traditional pasta, go ahead and swap in the version your family prefers to make this healthy mac and cheese your own.
Grilled steak can be made in a big batch and saved for toppers for salads or pasta, protein add-ons for grain bowls, and of course, used for basic tacos or fajitas. Keep the fixings in the fridge too for meal prep as well, such as avocado slices, shredded cheese, and black beans.