Make Dinner in a Dash With This Genius Formula

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You can't seem to scroll through your Pinterest feed or open a health magazine without coming across the concept of meal prepping. More than just a buzzword, meal prep can help curb the urge to pop in a frozen pizza or call for your favorite delivery dish on chaotic nights or busy workdays. If you are overwhelmed by planning a weekly menu, find chopping tedious, are intimidated by selecting the right spices or despise the attention needed to follow a recipe, though, this mix-and-match Meal-O-Matic tool will be liberating.

This simple formula is genius, allowing even the most rookie chef to create delicious, nutritious dishes. There are countless ways to mix and match healthful meals, meaning you'll never get bored. Use the chart below to pick your preferred protein, vegetables, fat, flavor and grain and you'll have a complete meal every time. To make, cook the meat and veggies using your desired preparation method, then just add the preferred grain to complete the meal. If you're ready to take cooking to the next level or need a little more guidance, check out one of the recipes listed below, each of which contains a few more ingredients and detailed directions. Each recipe gives a one- and four-serving option.

To make it even easier, prepare a double or even a triple batch of your preferred combination for leftovers later in the week. Additionally, you can prep extra servings of just your protein, allowing you to change up your veggies and grain for a quick, but varied meal throughout the week. Successful meal prep is all about planning, so consider planning a few fallback meals for those nights when you have to stay late at work or the kid's game goes into overtime. Keep your kitchen stocked with some canned meat, frozen or canned vegetables, an instant-cook grain and a few meals in mind and you'll be able to throw together meals no matter what comes up—no drive-thru required.


Recipe Inspiration

Chicken BLT Wrap
Ingredients 1 Serving 4 Servings Directions
Chicken Breast,
cut into strips
4 ounces 1 pound Coat skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add chicken strips to skillet.
Garlic Powder dash ¼ t. Sprinkle chicken breasts with garlic powder and pepper.
Cook 6-8 minutes until chicken is no longer pink inside.
Black Pepper dash ¼ t.
Tortilla, 6" diameter (low-carb, whole-wheat) 1
4 Spread tortilla with mashed avocado.
Avocado, mashed 2 T. ½ cup
Bacon Crumbles,
2 t. 8 t. Top avocado with crumbled bacon and cooked chicken.
Romaine Lettuce,
cut into thin strips
½ cup 2 cups Top chicken with lettuce and tomato.
Roll up tortilla and secure with a toothpick.
Tomato, chopped 2 T. ½ cup
Baby Carrots 5 20 Serve wrap with carrots and Ranch salad dressing.
Ranch Salad Dressing,
2 T. 1/2 cup
5-Alarm Veggie Eggs and Whole-Wheat Toast
Ingredients 1 Serving 4 Servings Directions
      Coat skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat.
Sweet Bell Pepper ¼ cup 1 cup Add peppers and mushrooms to skillet.
Sauté for 3 minutes until tender.
Mushrooms, diced ¼ cup 1 cup
Eggs, beaten 2 8 Add eggs to skillet. Scramble lightly while cooking.
Pepper Jack Cheese,
1 ounce 4 ounces Add cheese and let melt.
Salsa 2 t. 8 t. Top cheese with salsa and Tabasco.
Tabasco dash ¼ t.
Whole-Wheat Bread 1 slice 4 slices While cheese is melting, toast bread.
Butter or Margarine 1 t. 4 t. Spread toast with butter or margarine.
Oven-Roasted Crusted Chicken with Parmesan Green Beans and Corn
Ingredients 1 Serving 4 Servings Directions
      Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Milk, lowfat 3 T. ¾ cup Pour milk into a medium bowl.
Whole Wheat Cracker Crumbs ¼ cup 1 cup In a Ziploc bag, combine cracker crumbs, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.
Oregano, dried 1/8 t. ½ t.
Ground Cumin 1/8 t. ½ t.
Paprika 1/8 t. ½ t.
Salt dash ¼ t.
Pepper dash ¼ t.
Chicken Breasts, skinned, deboned,
5 ounces each
1 4 Dip chicken breast into milk to coat and place in bag. Seal bag and gently shake to coat breast. Remove breast from bag and place on baking sheet. Repeat as needed.
Place pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Green Beans, fresh, trimmed 3 ounces 12 ounces While chicken is baking, place green beans, olive oil, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Stir to coat beans.

After chicken has cooked for 10 minutes, remove baking sheet from oven. Flip chicken with spatula and place on half the sheet. Add green beans to the other half of sheet, in a single layer. Return baking sheet to oven and bake 10-15 more minutes.
Olive oil 1 t. 1T. + 1 t.
Salt dash 1/8 t.
Pepper dash 1/8 t.
Parmesan Cheese, grated 1 t. 1 T. + 1 t.
Frozen Corn ½ cup 2 cups Prepare frozen corn according to package directions.

The meal is ready to serve when chicken is golden brown (165 degrees internal temperature) and green beans are tender-crisp.