I went down the rabbit hole of looking at diet or macro-friendly meal delivery services online the other day. It’s a booming business these days and I was really curious about what kind of food these services offered. What I found were incredibly simple meals offered at a super high price (IMHO) for the convenience of not having to prepare them yourself. So, I wanted to offer a DIY option for those that can’t afford $9-$12 per meal to have them delivered. These Salsa Chicken Meal Prep Bowls area really easy to make, super satisfying, and customizable to fit your tastes (or macros). ;)
And hopefully I’ll have a few more options like this in the coming weeks!
The Simple Meal Prep Formula
Meal prep is super easy. Just pick a protein, pick a vegetable, pick a carb (or a second vegetable), and add a fat or sauce if desired. For this southwest inspired meal prep I combined shredded chicken cooked in salsa, roasted bell peppers, brown rice, and a dollop of sour cream. You can adjust the quantities of any of these four components to make the meal fit your preferred macro ratio.
Make Your Salsa Chicken Meal Prep Fancy
I kept this meal simple to mimic the type of meals that you’d get with the meal delivery services, but you could always make this more fancy, if you prefer. Try adding more toppings like fresh jalapeño, pickled red onions, or even some tortilla crisps. I added a dollop of sour cream to the top of mine, but you could also do a little cheese.
Salsa Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
- 1 cup brown rice ($0.60*)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1.75 cup water ($0.00)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total) ($5.62)
- 16 oz. salsa ($1.99)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth ($0.07)
- 1 tsp chili powder** ($0.10)
Roasted Bell Peppers
- 3 bell peppers ($2.99)
- 1 Tbsp oil ($0.04)
- pinch salt ($0.02)
- 2 green onions, sliced ($0.22)
- 4 Tbsp sour cream ($0.11)
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Cook the brown rice according to the package directions. (Add rice, salt, and water to a pot, cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 35 minutes.)
- While the rice is cooking, begin the chicken. Add the chicken breasts to a medium sauce pot along with the salsa, chicken broth, and chili powder. Give everything a brief stir.
- Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once the liquid starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the chicken simmer over low for 30 minutes. Make sure it's simmering the whole time, adjusting the heat slightly if needed.
- While the rice and chicken are cooking, prepare the bell peppers. Slice the bell peppers into 1/2-wide strips. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with cooking oil. Toss the peppers to coat them in oil, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Roast the peppers in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are browned on the edges, stirring once half way through.
- After the chicken has simmered for 30 minutes, remove it from the salsa mixture and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the shredded chicken to the pot of salsa and stir to combine.
- Once the rice has rested, the chicken has been shredded, and the peppers have finished roasting, it's time to build the bowls.
- Add about 3/4 cup rice to each container, followed by 1/4 of the roasted peppers, and 1/4 of the shredded chicken. Spoon the salsa mixture from the pot over the shredded chicken in the containers. This will act as a sauce to help moisten the entire dish. Top with sliced green onions and a dollop of sour cream and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Salsa Chicken Meal Prep – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Begin cooking 1 cup brown rice according to the package directions (the rice I am using specified 1 cup rice, 1.75 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt, simmer for 35 minutes).
Once the rice has cooked, turn the heat off and leave it on the stove with the lid in place until the chicken and peppers are finished cooking (they should finish soon after the rice finishes).
While the rice is cooking, begin the chicken. Place two boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total) to a medium sauce pot and add a 16 oz. jar of salsa (I’m using cilantro lime salsa from Aldi).
Also add 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1 tsp chili powder to the pot with the chicken and salsa. Give everything a brief stir, place a lid on the pot, and bring it up to a boil over high heat. As soon as it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer over low for 30 minutes. Make sure it’s simmering the entire time, adjusting the heat slightly if needed.
While the rice and chicken are cooking, begin working on the bell peppers. Slice three bell peppers into 1/2-inch wide strips.
Place the sliced bell peppers on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil, and toss until the peppers are well coated in oil. Add a pinch of salt, then transfer the peppers to the oven.
Roast the bell peppers for 20-25 minutes, or until they’re browned on the edges, stirring once half way through.
After the chicken has simmered for 30 minutes, remove the chicken to a cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat.
Return the shredded chicken to the salsa in the pot and stir to combine.
To build the Salsa Chicken Meal Prep Bowls, place about 3/4 cup cooked rice in each container, followed by 1/4 of the roasted bell peppers, and 1/4 of the shredded chicken. Spoon the salsa liquid from the sauce pot over the chicken in each container.
Finish the Salsa Chicken Meal Prep Bowls by topping with sliced green onion and a dollop of sour cream (or the toppings of your choice).
I’ve been trying to find some meal prep recipes that I can eat for multiple days without getting tired of the taste, and I’m already on week 2 with this meal! So easy to put together and it’s great.
This was delicious! Had to a make a few changes tho, as my salsa was less chunky. At the end of cooking, I added arrowroot starch+water to make the salsa thicker and more sauce like. Delicious! Thanks for sharing!
I have made this twice now and it is absolutely delicious!! I used two bell peppers and one onion.
I made this today for lunches this week. I tasted it and didnt really get much salsa or chili powder taste so I will just keep trying different kinds. I added some onions with the bell peppers and plan on using this chicken and rice for burritos/fajitas (I’m not looking for macros just budget friendly foods haha) Even with the lack of salsa flavor (more than likely due to the brand I used) it is still a very hearty and savory dish! Cant wait to enjoy it this week!
Can i freeze this ?
This should freeze pretty well. :)
Can this be frozen?
This one would probably freeze pretty well. :)
I’m not a fan of cooked bell peppers do you have any specific substitutions? I was thinking to just cook some sweet potatoes.
p.s. I’m in college and love budget analysis and simplicity of these recipes.
Zucchini are always great! I think you could probably do just about any vegetable in this meal prep box and it would be tasty. :)
love your meals plans we are now doing are full week of meal prep and its lovely to come home from and not cook we spend 3 hours on Sunday doing our meals. my question how long can this meal be kept in the fridge
I usually suggest about four days, but your milage may vary. :)
Whoa, this is crazy good! I simmered the chicken for 40 minutes because I had the time and used water instead of broth. I’m already excited to make it again!
Can you post the brand of products you used in your recipe? it will help identify similar products with similar nutritional breakdown.
Some of us are cooking these recipes from outside the USA. Beth uses essentially fresh ingredients, with only a few exceptions, so that should be easy enought to replicate. For example, in this recipe brown rice and fresh bell peppers would be the same, regardless of the brand. Aldi in Germany does not do this salsa, so I would just have to find something else that’s similar to work. I think its not about following the recipes to a T, but to use this as an inspiration to create delicious food yourself. :-)