Are you short on time or can’t decide on healthy, delicious meals you can cook that the whole family will love? Everyone knows these struggles. When you want to prepare meals at home with less trouble during a busy week, a little planning can save lots of time. We’ve gathered recipes for three different dishes that use similar ingredients, so you can make a different meal for each day.
Gathering Your Make-Ahead Ingredients
Select a protein source, complex carbohydrates, such as dietary fiber and starches, and a small portion of healthy fats for a balanced meal plan. Mixing and matching is often the key as picking at least two or three in each category below adds flavor variety and broadens your nutritional intake. Some ideas include:
Protein: Chicken, beef, shrimp, pork, tofu and salmon
Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, bell peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus and snap peas
Seasonings: Cooking sauces, vinaigrettes, dressings and spices
After a grocery store trip, you need to do some planning and prep. Wash and cut your greens while keeping some airtight containers and bags handy. This is also a good time to season any proteins that your family would enjoy marinated for another day. Refrigerate or freeze these prepared portions as necessary.
Now that you have some components chopped or divided as well as sealed and stored, you can cook the meals that will feed your family for three days. Let’s cover some easy everyday meals that put all the ingredients together for this three-day meal plan.
1. Salad With Homemade Dressing
Arranging a fresh salad with the vegetables you gathered should only take a little work the following day. Try one of these five gluten-free Asian dressing ideas to drizzle over your tossed ingredients — perhaps a tangy lemon sauce or creamy sesame, or simply use a cooking sauce to leave out any measuring and whisking.
If you’d like to add some protein to bulk up the hearty greens, try a few lean cuts of chicken, a serving of quinoa or pre-cooked legumes such as beans, lentils or chickpeas.
2. Asian Stir-Fry
A stir-fry usually comes together in just three steps with a choice of protein, a mix of vegetables and a bit of Asian cooking sauce. For example, you could try beef and broccoli or teriyaki chicken with zucchini, red pepper and broccoli. If you favor plant-based proteins, tofu also makes a versatile main ingredient.
Do you have any leftover meat from your Asian stir-fry recipe? You could try bits of steak in an omelet the next morning or slice up chicken, pork or salmon to use for a lunchtime sandwich or salad.
3. Grilled Asian Kebabs
Grilled kebabs capture that memorable feeling of a family summer cookout. It’s also a smart way to heat up some main ingredients you haven’t used yet. Load up a skewer with smaller cuts of meat, vegetables and even some fruit such as pineapple, orange and cherry tomatoes. You can check out these Asian kebab recipes for ideas. Baste each side of the skewer with sauce to bring out the flavor in every mouth-watering bite.