Meal prepping is a great way to save time, money, and energy throughout the week. It allows you to plan your meals ahead of time to enjoy nutritious, homemade food without expending too much effort.
Preparing meals in bulk also ensures enough leftovers, making for less work during the week while still enjoying delicious meals.
With those big-batch recipes, meal prepping becomes even easier and more rewarding. These recipes provide options for an entire week or further, depending on how many people are eating with you.
All the dishes can be put together with minimal fuss and will keep in the fridge or freezer for up to two weeks—so whichever recipe you choose this weekend will reward you day after day until it’s gone.
With these masterfully crafted dishes, all the hard work is done for you—and now all that’s left is to reap your cooking rewards.
Here are 10 Time-Efficient Batch Cooking Recipes
1. Quinoa Fried Rice
Quinoa Fried Rice is the perfect time-efficient batch-cooking recipe. It’s a great way to use leftover quinoa; you can customize it with whatever vegetables you have. Plus, it’s ready in just 15 minutes.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat to make Quinoa Fried Rice. Add 1 cup of cooked quinoa and 1/2 cup of chopped vegetables to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened.
Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Stir everything together until combined, and cook for another minute or two. Serve with extra soy sauce and sesame seeds as desired.
2. Baked Potato Soup
Baked potato soup is a hearty, comforting soup that can be prepared in advance and enjoyed all week long. To make this delicious dish, peel, and dice 5-6 potatoes and add them to a large pot with 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender.
Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soup is creamy and thickened. Serve with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and chopped green onions as desired.
3. Slow Cooker Chili
If you’re looking for a hearty meal that can be prepared in advance and enjoyed all week long, look no further than slow cooker chili.
To make this delicious dish, start by combining two cans of diced tomatoes; one can of black beans, one can of kidney beans, 1/4 cup of tomato paste, 1/2 cup of diced onion, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of chili powder in the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and diced jalapenos as desired.
4. Vegetarian Lasagna
Vegetarian lasagna is the perfect make-ahead meal for busy weeks. To make this hearty dish, start by preheating the oven to 375°F. Spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9× 13-inch baking dish.
Layer 4 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, followed by 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of spinach leaves.
Repeat this layering twice, then top with the remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool before slicing and serving.
5. Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Creamy macaroni and cheese is a classic comfort food that’s easy to make in bulk. To make this dish, boil 1 pound of elbow macaroni for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
In a large pot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and whisk in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. Slowly add 2 cups of milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
Add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the sauce is thickened and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Add the cooked pasta and stir until combined. Serve warm.
6. Spinach and Mushroom Frittata
This spinach and mushroom frittata is an easy, delicious meal that can be made ahead of time and reheated for breakfast or dinner throughout the week. To make this dish, start by preheating the oven to 350°F.
In a large skillet, sauté 1 cup of diced mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of spinach and cook until wilted.
In a large bowl, whisk 8 eggs with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and stir to combine. Cook until just set, then transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Cut into slices and serve warm.
7. Chicken Fajitas
Chicken fajitas are a delicious and easy way to feed a crowd. For this recipe, start by marinating 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of chili powder for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side.
Remove from pan and set aside. In the same skillet, add 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, and 1 onion (all diced) and sauté until softened.
Slice the cooked chicken into strips and add back to the skillet with the vegetables. Serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. Enjoy.
8. Turkey and Bean Chili
Turkey and Bean Chili is a delicious, time-efficient batch-cooking recipe perfect for busy weeknights. The chili can be made in just one pot and feed a large family or provide plenty of leftovers for the entire week.
This healthier version of chili uses ground turkey instead of beef, plus plenty of beans for extra fiber and protein. Plus, the addition of fresh vegetables adds even more nutrition.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat to make this chili. Add 1 pound of ground turkey and cook until browned about 5 minutes.
Add 1 onion (diced), 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 bell pepper (diced), and 2 tablespoons of chili powder and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes; then it’s ready.
9. Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Bowl
This quinoa and roasted vegetable bowl is an easy, nutritious meal that can be prepped in advance and enjoyed throughout the week. Start by preheating the oven to 425°F.
Place 2 cups of cubed sweet potatoes, 1 cup of diced red bell pepper, 1/2 cup of halved cherry tomatoes, and the vegetables on a baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes or until golden and soft.
While he roasts vegetables, he cooks 1 cup of quinoa according to o package instructions; then sets it aside. Once the vegetables are roasted, remove them from the oven and set aside o cool. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa with the roasted vegetables.
Pour in ½ cup of balsamic vinaigrette and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir o combine. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy.
10. Piri-Piri Meatballs
PiriPiri meatballs are a hearty, flavorful meal that can be made in one batch and stored in the freezer for up to three months. This time-efficient recipe is perfect for busy households looking to save time cooking during the week.
The dish consists of ground beef or pork seasoned with piri-piri sauce, garlic, parsley, and bread crumbs. The mixture is then rolled into balls and cooked in a skillet on the stovetop.
To make this dish, start by preheating the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine 1 pound of ground beef or pork with 2 tablespoons of piri-piri sauce, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), ½ cup of bread crumbs, ¼ cup of parsley (chopped ), and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix until fully combined.
Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with your favorite sides, and enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
1. What Is Batch Cooking, And Why Is It Time-Efficient?
Batch cooking is the process of preparing multiple servings of a recipe at once, typically to store leftovers for future meals. It saves time because you only need to cook once, but you can enjoy multiple meals without preparing everything from scratch each time.
2. What Are Some Time-Efficient Ingredients For Batch-Cooking Recipes?
Time-efficient batch-cooking recipes often utilize ingredients that can be easily prepped, cooked in large quantities, and stored well. Examples include chicken breasts, ground beef or turkey, rice, pasta, quinoa, beans, and various vegetables. These ingredients can be used in various recipes and cooked in advance for quick meal assembly.
3. Are There Any Specific Kitchen Tools Or Equipment To Help With Time-Efficient Batch Cooking?
Yes, certain kitchen tools and equipment can streamline the batch cooking process. Some examples include a slow cooker or Instant Pot for hands-off cooking, a food processor for quickly chopping ingredients, a large sheet pan for roasting vegetables or proteins in bulk, and airtight storage containers for storing cooked meals.
4. How Should I Plan My Batch-Cooking Meals To Maximize Efficiency?
Planning is crucial for time-efficient batch cooking. Start by selecting recipes with overlapping ingredients or components to minimize prep time. Create a weekly meal plan and identify which meals can be batch cooked. Consider cooking larger portions of proteins, grains, or sauces that can be used as building blocks for multiple meals.
Batch cooking is an efficient and cost-effective way to prepare meals in advance. With the right ingredients, kitchen tools, and meal-planning strategies, you can save time and effort while enjoying nutritious meals.
Meet our air fryer recipe expert, Jenny J. Brown. Jenny is a culinary enthusiast with a passion for creating healthy, delicious meals using the latest kitchen appliances. As an experienced home cook and food blogger, Jenny has spent years experimenting with air fryer recipes and perfecting her techniques to create meals that are both nutritious and satisfying.