It’s January again and this time of year there are a LOT of people experimenting with meal prep, whether it be for budget reasons, health reasons, or maybe you’re just trying to work on organization and time management. Well, this blog post is simply to remind you that meal prep doesn’t have to be complicated. This Easy Chicken and Vegetable Meal Prep is what I make when I don’t want to think too hard. It’s easy, always satisfying, and there is plenty of room for customization.
The Meal Prep Formula
The easiest way to meal prep is to use a simple formula and just plug ingredients into the formula. So for this meal prep, I used the protein + veg + veg formula. Sometimes I do a protein + veg + grain. Either way, I keep the cooking method and seasonings simple to reduce effort.
A third formula that I use sometimes is refrigerator salad + protein. This formula is a little more involved, in my opinion, because salads tend to take a little more prep work than a simple roasted vegetable.
Other Vegetable Options
As mentioned above, one of the reasons I love this simple meal prep is that it’s super customizable. If you’re not a fan of the vegetables I used, you can swap them out with just about anything. Here are some options:
- Steamed or roasted broccoli
- Steamed or roasted carrots
- Roasted potatoes
- Steamed green beans
- Roasted cauliflower
- Roasted squash
- Lemon pepper zucchini
- Roasted mushrooms
- Roasted Asparagus
Keep the Seasonings Simple
One of the keys to keeping this meal prep fast and easy is to not overthink the seasonings. This is one time when I usually lean heavily on pre-made seasoning blends. I don’t want to pull out ten bottles of herbs and spices, I just want to add a sprinkle-sprinkle of one thing and that and be done with it. Some great seasoning options are steak seasoning, cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, chili seasoning, za’atar, curry powder, garlic herb seasoning, lemon pepper, or Greek seasoning.
I usually season the protein heavily, and then keep the seasonings for the vegetables quite simple (salt, pepper, maybe garlic powder) so they aren’t competing too much.
Bulk it Up
A great way to bulk this meal up a bit without adding too much to the cost is to add a grain. Try rice, quinoa, bulgur, farro, or barley are all great options. Try cooking your grain in broth instead of water for an easy extra dose of flavor.
Chicken and Vegetable Meal Prep
- 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 the oven to 400ºF. Rinse the Brussels sprouts and slice them in half. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Wash the sweet potato then slice it in half lengthwise. Prick the outside surface with a fork. Rub 1 Tbsp oil over all surfaces of the sweet potato. Place the sweet potato, cut sides 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 your desired level of browning. If the sweet potato is not softened all the way through at this point, just remove the sprouts and return the sweet potato to the oven.
- While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the chicken breast. Combine the steak seasoning, smoked paprika, and sweet paprika in a bowl. Coat the chicken breasts in the seasoning mixture.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the chicken breasts.
- Cook the chicken breasts, without flipping, for about 8 minutes, or until well browned on the bottom. Flip the breasts and cook on the second side until well browned and cooked through (internal temperature 165ºF). Cooking time will vary with the thickness of the chicken.
- Transfer the cooked chicken breast to a clean cutting board to rest for five minutes before slicing.
- Cut the sweet potato halves in half once again to create four portions. Divide the sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and sliced chicken between four containers. Add a pat of butter to each piece of sweet potato. Refrigerate up to four days.
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How to Make Chicken and Vegetable Meal Prep – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Rinse one pound of Brussels sprouts and slice them in half. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp cooking oil, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat the Brussels sprouts.
Wash a sweet potato (or two) and slice it in half length-wise. Use a fork to prick the outer skin. Rub a tablespoon of cooking oil over all surfaces of the sweet potato. Place the sweet potato, cut sides down, on the baking sheet with the Brussels sprouts.
Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes, then stir the Brussels sprouts and return everything to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the Brussels have browned to your liking. If the sweet potatoes are not softened all the way through, simply remove the Brussels and return the sweet potato to the oven until tender.
While the vegetables are in the oven, prepare the chicken. Coat the outside of two boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a mix of 2 tsp steak seasoning, ½ tsp smoked paprika, and ½ tsp sweet paprika.
Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-low.
Once the skillet and oil are hot, add the seasoned chicken breasts. Cook on one side, without flipping, for about 8 minutes or until well browned on the bottom. Flip the chicken breasts and cook on the second side until well browned and cooked through (internal temperature of 165º).
Transfer the chicken breast to a clean cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Divide the Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and chicken between four meal prep containers. Add a pat of butter to each sweet potato. Refrigerate up to four days.