Ever ran into a picture of professional athletes, body builders, or fitness models on Instagram and gawked at their perfectly sculpted bodies and wondered, how is that even possible? Who doesn’t want a body like that right? I know I do. What most people fail to realize is how hard these people work to achieve those results; consistent determination in the gym, along with healthy dieting, propelled them to reach such aesthetics. The key to becoming fit, staying in shape and looking great is meal prep. In my Asparagus Recipe, I mentioned that over the last five years or so, I’ve drastically improved my eating habits. (See how I keep my snack monster in check with these easy no bake snacks.) Prepping meals is one major improvement I’ve made. It has become a major part of my weekly routine and helps me keep my head in the game.
All the pros meal prep so you should too!
To help you get meal prepping started, I am sharing a super healthy dinner recipe that I created and love. This meal will feed two people, dinner, and lunch for four maybe even five days. Now I know you’re probably thinking, eating the same thing every day is boring, but this dish is versatile. Get creative. I’ll add some tips at the bottom of the recipe.
Before I go on, let me tell you that I love cooking! Writing this recipe was somewhat hard for me though. Why, because I cook without instructions. A dab of this, a dash of that and bada bing, bada boom dinner is ready! (Yep. I totally said that in “The Godfather’s” voice btw.) Sometimes I try to follow a set of instructions, but the recipe always ends up being tweaked and adjusted to my liking. I don’t even realize I am doing it; before I know it, I already dipped my fingers in a seasoning and sprinkled it on the food. It has always worked out in my favor, thankfully, and my husband has no complaints.
Ready to get your meal prepping on? Let’s get started!
7 chicken breast
4 TBSP EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra for the coating of the cookie sheet)
2.5 lbs of carrots
2 large zucchini
3 Red Bell Peppers
6-8 mushroom heads (Add more if you like mushrooms if you don’t, scale down)
1/2 cup of corn
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1/3 cup of salsa (pick your favorite)
1 TBSP of lime juice
2 TSP of chili powder
2 TSP of powder garlic
2 TSP of salt (or to taste)
1/4 TSP of Sazon Goya
1/8 TSP of cumin
A pinch of smoked paprika
A pinch of Cajun seasoning
Prep and cooking instructions:
- Set the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and coat with EVOO enough so that the chicken won’t stick. Spread the oil with your fingers.
- While the oven heats up, cut the excess fat off the chicken (if any). Place the chicken in a clean bowl. Add the salsa. 2 TBSP of EVOO. 1 TSP of chili powder. 1 TSP of garlic powder (instead of garlic powder you can use minced garlic if you have it, just 1 TSP ). Finally, add 1 TSP of salt (After the chicken finishes cooking, add more salt depending on your taste). Mix the ingredient well together with a spatula or your hands. Evenly spread out the chicken breast on the cookie sheet. Place the chicken in the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes.
- Wash and chop all the veggies while the chicken cooks. Chop whichever way you like. I did the bell peppers and zucchini in two-inch strips. Cut the carrots into smaller pieces for faster cooking. The mushrooms I chopped as small I could. Cecil is not a big fan. Preheat a round skillet, on medium, big enough to fit the veggies and chicken combined. My Calphalon 3-qt. Saute pan is perfect for this task. Cecil laughs at my mountains of food because every time I cook, it looks like I am going to feed an army, but it’s just food for the week. The saute pan is a trooper though. I’ve bought the set of Calphalon pots and pans over four years ago and the 3-qt saute pan has cooked many delicious meals. Definitely got a bang for my buck with this set.
- Back to the recipe. Add two tablespoons of EVOO then add all the vegetables. Add the rest of the seasonings. (1 TBSP of lime juice, 1 TSP of chili powder, 1TSP of garlic powder, 1 TSP of salt, 1/4 TSP of Goya Sazon and 1/8 of cumin). Stir well. Cover with a lid and stir about every minute or two. The vegetables take about fifteen to twenty minutes to soften.
- When the timer for the chicken goes off, check the temperature with a food thermometer. Make sure it is at 160-165 degrees. I learned this trick from my dad. He used to be a professional chef and loves cooking. Here is the one I use. If it is not at the right temperature, stick back in the oven for an additional two to five minutes (or until the chicken reaches the cooked temperature).
- Once cooked, allow the chicken to cool and continue stirring your pot of goodies. By the time the vegetables are soft, the chicken should be cool enough. Turn off the stove and begin to shred the chicken with your hands or a fork. Place the shredded chicken in a small bowl or the same pot with the veggies. (Careful not to touch the hot pan.)
When you’re finished shredding the chicken, stir in with all the veggies. After this step, serve food.
High five! Dinner is ready.
For the meal prepping part: You don’t have to do this, but it will make your life easier the rest of the week. You’re already storing leftovers after dinner, might as well store them in separate containers. Easy enough to grab-and-go. My husband loves that he can just put his lunch in his backpack and head to work. I need to mention that these left overs are great reheated.
Divide out lunch portions in small containers. Two years ago I bought two sets of these glass storage containers with locking lids. They make storing food in the freezer and heating food in the microwave a breeze. Got my money’s worth because I use them daily. (Thinking about buying these now.)
After separating lunch portions, store the left over food in a large container for dinner.
Creative dinner options:
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that this dish is versatile. Here is how.
One night, we will have this dish on its own. Meaning no sides.
Another night, I will heat up tortillas and make tacos.
A different night, I heat up some refried beans and spread it on a tostada then add my shredded chicken and veggies. Top it off with avocado and queso fresco.
If you’re craving carbs, add Tostitos chips on the side for a yummy crunch.
Get creative guys! This dish is fabulous like that.
I am turning it over to you. What dinners do you cook to make life easier? Do you meal prep? If so, what’s your opinion on it? Have any dinner suggestions? I’d love to hear about them.