Light and Easy Recipes and Meal Ideas

Meal Prep Ideas

  • Chicken Stew

    Chicken Stew

    Calories: 340 SmartPoints
    6
    6
    6

    This is really just like chicken soup with more of an Italian twist. If you have never made chicken soup with a whole chicken before, I promise it's not any more preparation than if you used just chicken breasts pieces. It's really simple to put together and makes an extremely nutritious and delicious dinner you can prepare on the weekend, and reheat during the week. I prefer using a whole chicken because the bones give the broth a very good flavor. Plus the dark meat is so tender I love it in soup.

     

    It's best if you let it simmer for about 2 hours. So plan ahead with that inactive cook time in mind.

     

    I almost always have home-made breadsticks in the freezer and they are perfect for dipping in this stew. And shaved parmesan cheese is amazing on this. 

     

    Nutrition facts and WW SmartPoints excludes breadsticks or parmesan cheese. Although chicken breast is zero SmartPoints on Blue and Purple, there is dark-meat in this recipe, and the soup is cooked with the skin on the chicken. You can double-check the SmartPoints for this recipe using the WW Recipe Builder in the WW app. When the soup is chilled overnight in the refrigerator, you can skim the fat from the top of the broth before re-heating. I know this will reduce the amount of fat in the recipe, but I am unsure of the exact SmartPoints value so I estimated it to be 6 SmartPoints per bowl.

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  • Marinara Sauce

    Marinara Sauce

    Calories: 1 SmartPoints
    0
    0
    0

    You don't need a lot of effort and ingredients to make a delicious zero point marinara sauce. I make this on meal prep day and use it throughout the week for 2 ingredient dough pizza, raviolis, grilled chicken pizza and other stuff.

     

    Recipe makes about 10 cups of sauce. Serving size is 1 cup.

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  • Marathon Meal Prep

    Marathon Meal Prep

    Calories: SmartPoints

    I was feeling quite ready to fully reset when I made these - which is why I'm calling this a Marathon Meal Prep. :-) But feel free to make just one or two of these if you want to cut time and the number of different ingredients needed.

     

    The way to keep these salads fresh for up to 4 days in the refrigerator is this: do NOT toss any of the ingredients together. Assemble the salads in a bowl starting with the lettuce first. If you combine more than one type of lettuce (for example: Romaine and raw Spinach leaves) - keep that separate too. Romaine on one side of the bowl, spinach on the other side. Once the lettuce is in the bowl, place the remaining ingredients on top (grouped together by ingredients). Do not toss together or add dressing until you are just about ready to eat it.

     

    Other tips:

    1. Avoid pre-cut bags of lettuce to extend the quality of the salad over a few days.

    2. Romaine lettuce keeps better than ice-berg once it is cut up.

    3. If you purchase uncut Romaine hearts in the bag, I recommend rinsing it well under cold water (even if it says it's pre-washed). It just tastes better once it's rinsed well. Then be sure to dry it completely. 

    4. To keep apples slices from browning, squeeze or rub a little lemon juice on them. 

    5. For salads with avocado, eat those first. 

     

    There are 4 types of salads shown here. This provides variety throughout the week. They all use a similar base of ingredients to reduce the number of different things to make in one day. But keep in mind, this is still a very ambitious meal-prep and you should account for about 2 hours to complete this (start to finish) if you decide to make all 4 different salads. This includes time for washing, drying, chopping the vegetables, cooking any chicken, fish, bacon, eggs, etc. - and the clean up.

     

    I made all 4 different salads but I am extremely comfortable in the kitchen and I don't mind spending several hours cooking on a Saturday. You may want to try just one or two if that works better for you. You can still make 4 in total - but repeat the same recipe to save time and cut your grocery list.

     

    Recipes for individual salads (with dressing recommendations) can be found by clicking here:

    Gorgonzola and Apples Salad

    Mediterranean Salad

    Grilled Salmon Salad

    Cobb Salad

     

    I used 32 oz clear containers for this, which I found at Shoprite. I was able to find them on Amazon but only in bulk (pack of 50 or more). You can browse Amazon if you are looking for similar containers.

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  • Chicken Soup

    Chicken Soup

    Calories: 346 SmartPoints
    7
    7
    7

    A very basic but delicious soup you can make in advance and enjoy all week long. Simple, tasty and filling. It makes a good dinner when paired with breadsticks and a salad. My kids enjoy it, and I can eat leftovers for lunch the next day.

     

    I use a whole chicken for chicken soup because the bones in the chicken give the soup a good flavor.

    Tip for selecting a chicken for soup: choose Whole Young Chicken (not a "Roaster"). 

     

    Recipe makes 6 servings. Serving size: about 2 1/2 cups 

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  • Pan Cooked Chicken

    Pan Cooked Chicken

    Calories: 114 SmartPoints
    3
    0
    0

    This is my go to meal-prep chicken.

     

    I start with full pieces of whole skinless boneless chicken breast (so not "cutlets" but rather the whole breast piece - tenderloin included).

     

    There are a few ways to be sure the chicken comes out juicy. #1. Invest in a meat thermometer. They are inexpensive and can be found at most grocery stores. Cook the chicken until the thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken). Overcooking the chicken makes it dry.

     

    Another way to prevent dry chicken is to brine it first (which is essentially just a soak in salt water). I learned about this method from TheSkinnyishDish.com. You can read The SkinnyishDish post on Easy Baked Chicken Breast here, which has all the specifics about brining chicken. I typically get pre-brined chicken from Aldi but it's available at almost any grocery store.

     

    Recipe makes about 4 (4 oz) servings. Please note that sodium levels may vary depending if and how the chicken is brined. Nutrition info sodium content is based on "unbrined" chicken.

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  • Freezer and Fridge Meal Prep

    Freezer and Fridge Meal Prep

    Calories: SmartPoints

    Hi there. Just some ideas for a fridge and freezer prep. See video for full details.

     

    Recipe for the Bagels here.

     


    Recipe for Chicken Soup here.

     

    Recipe for the pan cooked Chicken here.

     

    Recipe for Popsicles here.

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  • Mini Broccoli Cheddar Casseroles

    Mini Broccoli Cheddar Casseroles

    Calories: 130 SmartPoints
    3
    2
    2

    Easy to prepare and portion in advance. These delicious little cups of goodness are a great accompaniment to chicken or turkey. 

     

    Notes for this recipe: The casseroles will expand in the oven, and then sink a little after cooling. These are a bit soft so be sure to let them cool and set before removing them from the cupcake cavities. 

     

    If you are making these in advance for meal prep, you can store these in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Just be sure to remove the foil layer of the liner before heating in the microwave.

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  • Turkey Chili

    Turkey Chili

    Calories: 299 SmartPoints
    3
    0
    0

    You can use extra lean ground turkey or extra lean ground chicken in this recipe. Recipe makes about 8 servings (2 cups each).

     

    See video for quick demonstration

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  • Yogurt To Go

    Yogurt To Go

    Calories: 261 SmartPoints
    4
    1
    1

    These are my adult version of "Go-gurt" to take with me when I'm in a hurry.

     

    You can use these for road trips if you have an ice-pack or cooler bag to store them in. OR, freeze them so they stay cold and slowly defrost over the course of an hour or so.

     

    I added just a teaspoon of sugar and vanilla extract to the plain non-fat greek yogurt, just to take the tart taste out of the yogurt. You can use Truvia or another zero calorie sweetner if you prefer that.

     

    Recipe makes 3 yogurt packs. Serving size is 3 yogurt packs.

     

    You can find and purchase a 100 pack of these Zipzicle Bags on Amazon for about $10.

    Commission earned.

     

    You can also find and purchase a Re-usable Pastry Bag on Amazon for about $5.50. I use pastry bags often in a lot of my recipes. 

     

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  • Orange Creamsicle Pops

    Orange Creamsicle Pops

    Calories: 64 SmartPoints
    1
    1
    1

    This is a sweet refreshing treat you can enjoy all summer long. Just be sure the oranges you use are sweet and juicy. I've gotten really dry and grainy oranges before so these pops are only as good as the oranges that go in them. 

     

    Recipe makes 10 creamsicles. 

     

    I originally recommended the Nopro Frozen Ice Pop Maker. It was great at first, but after several washings I noticed this weird residue on the metal plate that surfaced every time it became wet. It may be because I put it in the dishwasher. Nowhere on the box did it state anything about how to wash or care for it. But I later noticed a note on the Amazon listing that said “hand washing recommended”. Apparently the product becomes unusable if you put it in the dishwasher.

     

    In any case, I was able to very easily return the item on Amazon for a full refund since it was less than 30 days since I purchased it. The return process was easy and free.

     

    Since then I tested 3 other popsicle makers (listed in order of preference). 

     

    Fox Run - Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    American Ice Pops - Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    Xing-Rui 10-Cavity Slicone - Frozen Ice Pop Maker

     

    The one I found to be best, is the Fox Run Frozen Ice Pop Maker (very similar to the Nopro). Here are the specifics on my criteria and testing:

     

    First, I only considered popsicle makers with wooden sticks. I like the classic look of a wooden stick verses plastic. And the shape of the pop itself had to have a classic popsicle shape. Second, I wanted a popsicle maker that made a set of 10 pops since I already developed recipes based on 10 popsicles. Last, I wanted something that costs $20 or less.

     

    The Xing-Rui Silicone Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    This one was ok, but I didn’t like it for a 2 reasons. 1.) The pop cavities bulged out a little when I filled them with fruit and yogurt. They didn’t hold their shape well. 2.) I can’t see the filling through the cavities since this pop maker is red. It’s hard to see how full they are as you add layers of different flavors to the pop.

     

    American Ice Pops Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    I found this pop maker to be very good. You can even remove the plastic cavities individually from the plate. The cavities were just slightly smaller in size (2.25 oz vs 3.0 oz). Otherwise, they held their shape well and removed fairly easily. But the price was $22.

     

    Fox Run Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    The price was $18.99 and they provided a coupon to save $3.60. With Amazon prime, I did not pay shipping. They hold shape really well. You can see through the semi-transparent plastic. They slide out fairly easily. But as stated on the listing “hand washing recommended”… this time, I did NOT put this popsicle maker in the dishwasher. I washed it by hand several times and it’s holding up great. The popsicles turn out beautifully.

     

    For all ice-pop makers, you have to run the cavities under hot water for about 30 seconds in order to remove the pops. Anything aluminum cannot go in the dishwasher. Hope this info helps. Happy popsicle making!

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  • Mini Quiche - Breakfast Bakes

    Mini Quiche - Breakfast Bakes

    Calories: 115 SmartPoints
    3
    1
    1

    These mini breakfast egg bakes double as a crustless quiche that you can have as a side dish. Recipe makes 12 breakfast bakes/mini quiches. Serving size is 1 mini quiche.

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  • Cherry Hand Pies

    Cherry Hand Pies

    Calories: 97 SmartPoints
    2
    2
    2

    These hand pies are just 2 points each, so delicious and satisfying. You can eat these for breakfast or a dessert. Make them in batches and freeze in a ziplock bag - then reheat in the toaster oven.

     

    I got the frozen cherries from Trader Joes (which I know are zero points) but almost any grocery store has them. Just check the ingredients on the bag to be sure there is no added sugar.

     

    The cookie cutters used here come in very handy for a lot of recipes. You can find and purchase the following items used in this recipe:

    Pastry/Cookie Cutters (about $7.00)

    Bisquick Heart Smart baking mix (about $4.00)

    Dough scraper (about $8.00)

    (commission earned on links above)

     

    For my friends outside the U.S.A., you can use pancake mix in place of the Bisquick - just check the SmartPoints for the recipe using the recipe builder in the WW app.

     

    Recipe makes 8 hand pies. 1 pie per serving.

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  • Panera Bread Inspired Vegetable Soup

    Panera Bread Inspired Vegetable Soup

    Calories: 192 SmartPoints
    4
    0
    0

    I love the 10 Vegetable Soup from Panera Bread, so I decided to make my own version for Meal Prep. This does not taste "exactly" like Panera's version but I think it's pretty close. I replaced the grains used in the original recipe with lentils and used ingredients I had on hand. It turned out really tasty.

     

    Recipe makes about 6 two-cup servings. WW SmartPoints and nutrition information excludes the breadsticks shown in the photo. 

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  • Side Salads

    Side Salads

    Calories: 152 SmartPoints
    3
    1
    1

    This is not really a recipe as much as an idea for meal prep day. I find these little side salads to be really handy as a filler before meals - so I don't over-do it at dinner time. Having these prepared ahead of time makes it a lot easier and prevents me from over-eating when I'm very hungry.

     

    Recipe makes 4 side salads. 1 side salad per serving.

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  • Blueberry Banana French Toast Sticks

    Blueberry Banana French Toast Sticks

    Calories: 115 SmartPoints
    2
    2
    2

    This is a very wet dough, almost like a batter. You will need a pastry bag to pipe the dough/batter onto the baking sheet. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can use a large ziplock bag and cut the tip off of it to pipe the batter onto the baking sheet. See video for specifics.

     

    Recipe makes 10 six-inch sticks. Once they are baked and cooled, you can freeze them (in a zip-lock bag) then pop them in the toaster oven when you're ready to eat them. 

     

    Nutritional information and WW SmartPoints values based on 1 French Toast Stick.

     

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  • White Chicken Chili

    White Chicken Chili

    Calories: 302 SmartPoints
    7
    4
    4

    I make this on meal prep day to have throughout the week. Sometimes I just heat it up in the jar, or add it to a corn tortilla to make it a taco. It's also good as a dip with corn crackers. I used 93% lean ground chicken because I find the extra lean chicken (97% lean) to be too dry. 

     

    Recipe makes about 10 one-cup servings. 

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  • Chicken and Broccoli Soup

    Chicken and Broccoli Soup

    Calories: 279 SmartPoints
    4
    2
    2

    I make this soup on meal prep day and store it in containers for lunches or dinner during the week. The bones in the roasted chicken breasts give the broth a good flavor. I use a little flour to thicken it a bit. It's comes out like a cross between cream of broccoli soup and traditional chicken soup. Recipe makes 6 servings (about 2 cups each).

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  • Beef Stew

    Beef Stew

    Calories: 350 SmartPoints
    9
    8
    6

    This goes well with a nice side salad for dinner, then pack up the leftovers for lunch the next day. 

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  • Italian Salad

    Italian Salad

    Calories: 283 SmartPoints
    7
    5
    5

    If you do not use fresh herbs to season your food, you are missing out on life. Not dried herbs, but fresh herbs. The fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan and balsamic dressing are a delicious combination, mimicking anti-pasta salad. I also love Arugula lettuce.

     

    You can find the recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette here >. Points value and nutrition information for this recipe excludes balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

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  • Grab and Go Snack Packs

    Grab and Go Snack Packs

    Calories: SmartPoints

    Sometimes I pack these up in advance so I have something to grab when I need to eat in a hurry. This is just an idea (not a recipe).

     

    SmartPoints values and Nutrition information have been omitted for this idea since it depends on the combination of items you choose to snack on.

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  • Minestrone

    Minestrone

    Calories: 345 SmartPoints
    5
    3
    3

    Hello person reading this. This is a regular in my soup line-up. I like to cook the Ditalini pasta separate so it doesn't get soggy for leftovers. I make a big batch of this on the weekend and freeze it so I have it for many lunches and dinners to come. Recipe makes about 6 two-cup servings.

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  • Sausage, Spinach and Cheese Egg Bakes

    Sausage, Spinach and Cheese Egg Bakes

    Calories: 153 SmartPoints
    4
    2
    2

    These are a tasty option you can prepare for breakfast in advance. I store them in the freezer (in a ziplock bag) and reheat in the microwave for a minute or two (rotating in between) when I'm ready to eat them.

     

    Turkey sausage links used in this recipe are "Banquet Brown 'N Serve Sausage links". You can find them in the freezer section of almost any mainstream grocery store.  If you use a different type of turkey sausage, you may need to adjust the SmartPoints and nutrition values.

     

    Recipe makes 12 Egg Bakes in total. Serving size is 1 Egg Bake.

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  • Lentil Soup

    Lentil Soup

    Calories: 255 SmartPoints
    2
    0
    0

    Easy, yummy and healthy lunch to heat up on busy weekdays if you make it in advance. Recipe makes about 6 two-cup servings.

     

    If you are unable to find the canned Lentils, you can use dried Lentils. Use  but be sure to soak them in water overnight. Then rinse and drain them before adding them to the soup.

     

    SmartPoints values and Nutrition information exclude the crackers and sour cream shown in the photo.

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  • Mix and Match Salad

    Mix and Match Salad

    Calories: SmartPoints
    I change my mind a lot about what I feel like eating each day, so instead of preparing a specific set of salads on meal prep day, I wash and cut up various items to mix and match throughout the week. I store it in zip lock bags or tupperware containers.
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