Muesli

Rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts soaked in cold milk or yogurt make Muesli a quick and refreshing meal prep breakfast for summer!

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I was rummaging through my pantry the other day and noticed that I had way too many half-used bags of dried fruit and nuts, and I knew exactly what I needed to make to use up all those odds and ends. Muesli! What is Muesli? The short answer: muesli is the old-school version of overnight oats. Keep reading below for a more detailed explanation!

Originally posted 3/1/2011, Updated 5/18/2022.

A batch of muesli in a bowl with ingredients on the sides.

What is Muesli?

Muesli is a mixture of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and fresh or dried fruit that have been soaked in milk, yogurt, or juice. This dish is attributed to a Swiss doctor, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, who fed this refreshing and filling breakfast to the patients in his hospital. For that reason, muesli often goes by the name “Bircher Muesli.”

Muesli vs. Granola

You might be asking yourself, “How is that different from granola??” While they are similar, there are distinct differences between muesli and granola. Muesli is almost like raw granola. You can turn muesli into granola by adding some sweeteners and binders, like honey or brown sugar and oil, then baking it until it becomes deliciously crunchy.

How Do You Eat Muesli?

There are a few different ways you can enjoy muesli. You can add cold milk or yogurt, stir it on up, and let it soak for just a few minutes so the oats are just barely chewy. Or, if you prefer a softer oat, you can let them soak overnight or for up to about four days. And just like the “overnight oats” that have taken the internet by storm over the past decade, muesli is a great way to meal prep your breakfast for the week.

You can also treat your muesli like little homemade instant oatmeal packets. Divide the muesli into ⅓ or ½ cup servings, place in resealable containers, then every morning add about a cup of milk and microwave for a minute or two and you have a hot bowl of oatmeal.

What Kind of Oats are Best for Muesli?

The best type of oat for muesli is, in my opinion, old-fashioned rolled oats. These oats are hearty and have a lot of texture, but still soften fairly quickly when soaked. Quick oats are very thin and delicate and will create a much mushier texture in your muesli. Steel-cut oats are very tough and will need to be soaked for several hours before they soften.

What Else Can You Put in Muesli?

Just like overnight oats, you can add so many different things to your muesli. You can add any type of dried fruit, nut, or seed to the dry mix (stored at room temperature), or once you begin soaking your muesli you can add wet or perishable ingredients, like fresh fruit or maple syrup.

Side view of a bowl of muesli with milk and a spoon.
Overhead view of a bowl full of muesli with ingredients on the sides.

Muesli

Rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts soaked in cold milk or yogurt make Muesli a quick and refreshing meal prep breakfast for summer!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Swiss
Total Cost $2.54 recipe / $0.32 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 8 ½ cup each
Calories 222kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dry old-fashioned oats $0.68
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts* $0.60
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries* $0.88
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds* $0.25
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional) $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.05

Instructions

  • Combine the oats, cranberries, walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir until evenly mixed. Store mixture in an air-tight container in a cool dry place until ready to eat.
  • To prepare the muesli, combine 1/2 cup muesli with 1/2 cup of cold milk. Let soak for 5 minutes, or up to four days in the refrigerator.

Notes

*You can use any type of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 4mg | Fiber: 4g

How to Make Muesli – Step By Step Photos

Muesli ingredients in a bowl, not stirred.

Add your oats, fruit, nuts, spices, and sweetener (optional) to a bowl. I used 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup chopped walnuts, ½ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup sunflower seeds, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and ½ tsp cinnamon.

Muesli ingredients stirred together in the bowl.

Simply stir the ingredients together and now it’s ready to use!

Muesli in a food storage container.

You can store this mix in an air-tight container at room temperature. It will last just as long as the individual dry ingredients themselves.

Milk being poured onto a single serving bowl of muesli.

To enjoy your muesli, measure ½ cup of the dry muesli mix into a bowl. Pour ½ cup of milk (or more) over top and let sit for about five minutes (or refrigerate overnight for a softer oat).

A bowl of muesli ready to enjoy with milk.

Enjoy the muesli as is or top with your favorite fresh fruit, maple syrup, or nut butter.

Close up side view of a bowl of muesli.

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Apple Pie Overnight Oats

These Apple Pie Overnight Oats are an easy and delicious make-ahead breakfast with no added sugar that you can enjoy either hot or cold.

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The weather is starting to warm up outside, so that means it’s officially overnight oats season in my house! When the weather gets hot, I switch from big bowls of warm oatmeal to chilled jars of overnight oats in the morning. Overnight oats are fast and easy to make and the flavor possibilities are endless. This week I made these Apple Pie Overnight Oats that have no added sugar, yet somehow, magically taste just like an apple pie. Yes, please!

Originally posted 6-8-2016, updated 4-13-2022.

A jar of apple pie overnight oats with apples and nuts in the background.

What are Overnight Oats?

If you’re looking for a super simple breakfast meal prep to make mornings fast and easy, overnight oats are it. They’re basically just oats that have been softened by soaking in a liquid for hours, rather than being briefly boiled in the liquid. And when you add all sorts of fun extra ingredients, they will absorb all those flavors as they soak, too! Great, right? Well, it’s even better when they’re apple pie flavored and don’t need any extra sugar to be scrumptious. #winning

Do You Eat Overnight Oats Hot or Cold?

You can eat overnight oats hot or cold. In the summer I love overnight oats cold, but if you prefer a hot breakfast, simply microwave the oats for 60-90 seconds until heated through. They’re great either way!

What Kind of Oats Should I Use?

Old-fashioned rolled oats are my favorite for overnight oats because they soften overnight, but maintain a good deal of texture. Quick or instant oats will soften quickly as well, but they have a lot less texture and will give a more mushy result. While you can do a variation of overnight oats with steel-cut oats, they require a more liquid and a longer soaking time, so they can not simply be swapped into the recipe below.

What Kind of Containers Should I Use?

You can use any type of resealable container for overnight oats. the blue-top Ziploc containers are great if you’re on a tight budget, but mason jars or glass meal prep containers also work great. For the recipe below you’ll want a container that holds 1-1.5 cups. I used 8oz. jars.

What Kind of Dried Fruit to Add

You have a few options here, which will allow you to use the ingredient that is most affordable or accessible to you. I used dried cranberries today because that’s what I had on hand, but you can also use raisins, dried currants, or chopped dried dates.

Overhead view of a bowl of apple pie overnight oats.

Shown garnished with fresh apples and walnuts.

Overhead view of a bowl of apple pie overnight oats.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

These Apple Pie Overnight Oats are an easy and delicious make-ahead breakfast with no added sugar that you can enjoy either hot or cold.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours
Servings 4
Calories 306kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats $0.24
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves $0.02
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts $0.60
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries $0.44
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce $0.62
  • 1 1/3 cups milk $0.27

Instructions

  • Add ⅓ cup oats each to four resealable containers. Also add ⅛ tsp cinnamon, a pinch of ginger, and a pinch of cloves to each container.
  • Add 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts and 1 Tbsp dried cranberries to each container.
  • Finally, add ⅓ cup applesauce and ⅓ cup milk to each container.
  • Close the containers and refrigerate overnight or up to four days. Stir the contents of the container before eating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 35mg | Fiber: 5g

Four jars of apple pie overnight oats from above.

How to Make Apple Pie Overnight Oats – Step by Step Photos

oats and spices added to jars, from above.

Add ⅓ cup old-fashioned rolled oats to each container. Also, add ⅛ tsp cinnamon and a pinch of ground ginger and ground cloves to each jar.

Walnuts and dried fruit added to the jars, from the side.

Next, add 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts and 1 Tbsp dried cranberries to each jar.

milk being poured into the jar.

Finally, add ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce and ⅓ cup milk to each jar.

Overnight oats after soaking, one jar stirred.

You can either stir each jar before soaking, or just add the lid and soak as-is, then stir just before eating. Either way, let your oats soak overnight (8 hours) or up to four days. Give them a good stir just before eating, and enjoy.

Overhead view of a bowl of apple pie overnight oats.

You can add more toppings to your overnight oats, like fresh apples, after soaking, if desired.

Try These Other Overnight Oats Recipes:

No Sugar Added Apple Pie Overnight Oats are the perfect healthy and delicious make-ahead breakfast for summer. BudgetBytes.com

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Sausage and Vegetable Skillet

This super fast and easy Sausage and Vegetable Skillet is the ultimate busy-day meal and is perfect for meal prep!

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I’ve been obsessed with this super simple Sausage and Vegetable Skillet lately, making it at least once per week. There’s no chopping, it only takes a few ingredients, it’s super filling, packed with color and flavor, and it makes the perfect meal prep! Plus, it’s quite flexible and can take a lot of different random substitutions and add-ins!

skillet full of sausage and vegetables from above

What’s in the Sausage and Vegetable Skillet?

This meal is a result of me scavenging my fridge and freezer for whatever I had left and tossing it all into a skillet. And wouldn’t you know, it tasted great! The skillet basically includes some sort of seasoned meat (in this case sausage), frozen cauliflower, frozen peppers and onions, frozen kale, and your favorite seasoning.

What Kind of Meat to Use

It’s important to use some sort of pre-seasoned meat for this skillet for maximum flavor. In the photos here, I’ve used Italian sausage, but you could also use chorizo, or I’ve even used some leftover Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork. If you do plan to try this with a plain ground meat (turkey, chicken, pork, beef) you’ll want to add seasoning to the meat as it cooks as well as seasoning the skillet at the end.

What Else Can I Add?

You can experiment with adding other frozen vegetables, like broccoli, corn, peas, green beans, etc. Or try adding in some beans or roasted potatoes to bulk it up a bit. Another way to bulk this up is to increase the vegetables (you might want to increase the seasoning if you do so).

Extra toppings are always fun, like a fried egg, avocado, sour cream, cheese, salsa, or any other sauce or dressing that you like. But me? I keep it simple and just eat it as-is!

How to Serve Sausage and Vegetables

I’ve been eating this dish just the way it is straight out of the skillet, but if you want to bulk it up even more you can serve it over rice or mashed potatoes. A little Garlic Bread would also be awesome with this meal!

Sausage and Vegetables in glass meal prep containers.
Sausage and Vegetables in glass meal prep containers.

Sausage and Vegetable Skillet

This super fast and easy Sausage and Vegetable Skillet is the ultimate busy-day meal and is perfect for meal prep!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Meal Prep
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.91 recipe / $2.23 serving
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 about 1.25 cups each
Calories 484kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage $5.99
  • 1/2 lb. frozen cauliflower florets $1.00
  • 1/2 lb. frozen peppers and onions $1.00
  • 1/4 lb. frozen kale $0.83
  • ½ tsp seasoning salt or seasoning blend (or to taste) $0.05

Instructions

  • Add the cooking oil and sausage to a skillet. Cook the sausage over medium heat until brown and crispy.
  • Add the cauliflower, peppers and onions, and kale to the skillet with the sausage. Continue to stir and cook until the vegetables are heated through.
  • Add a liberal amount (or to taste) of your favorite seasoning salt or seasoning blend and stir to combine. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 40g | Sodium: 1178mg | Fiber: 5g
Side view of sausage and vegetables in the skillet, close up.

How to Make Sausage and Vegetable Skillet – Step by Step Photos

Browned sausage in a skillet.

Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a skillet and add the Italian sausage (or whatever seasoned meat you prefer). Cook the sausage until it is brown and crispy.

Frozen vegetables added to the skillet.

Add ½ lb. frozen cauliflower florets, ½ lb. frozen bell peppers and onions, and ¼ lb. frozen kale to the skillet. You don’t have to measure these exactly, just estimate based on the weight of the bag (if it’s a 12 oz. bag, estimate ⅔ of the bag to get ½ lb.).

Cooked vegetables and sausage in the skillet.

Continue to stir and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are heated through. Don’t overcook the vegetables.

Seasoning being sprinkled over the skillet.

Then just add a liberal amount of your favorite seasoning blend. I’m using Tony Chachere’s here, but you can use just about any seasoning blend. I tend to use seasoning blends that already contain salt, but if yours doesn’t, just keep in mind that you’ll want to add some salt to help make the flavors in the skillet pot.

Finished sausage and vegetable skillet.

And that’s it! The skillet is done! The fat and seasoning from the sausage adds a ton of flavor and richness to the entire skillet, and then the added seasoning at the end adds a final layer of flavor. It’s simple, but SO GOOD.

Sausage and vegetable skillet in glass meal prep containers.

And now my lunches for the next few days are done! :)

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Cajun Sausage and Vegetables

This simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep is a fast, easy, flavorful, and delicious way to get your daily dose of vegetables!

The post Cajun Sausage and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s another super easy meal prep for you! This super simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep follows the basic protein + veg formula and is super fast to make. I’ve got some additional suggestions for you below, if you’d like to bulk up the meal a bit or just make it a little fancier!

four glass containers full of Cajun sausage and vegetables

Vegetable Options

This recipe is super flexible, so if you don’t like the vegetables I chose, you can swap them out with other vegetables. Here are some options:

  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Green Beans
  • Brussels sprouts

For heartier vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts, you may want to pre-steam them for a few minutes just to make sure they get tender.

Protein Options

The Andouille sausage in this recipe is packed with herbs, spices, and a delicious smoky flavor, which ends up adding flavor to the entire dish. You can swap the sausage out with something like shrimp or chicken thighs, but if you do so, I suggest coating the chicken or shrimp well with plenty of Cajun seasoning since they don’t have seasonings built-in, like the sausage.

Bulk it Up!

If you need some carb action to keep you full and satisfied, you can serve these Cajun Sausage and Vegetables over a bed of rice. You can cook your rice in broth or add some herbs and spices for even more flavor.

Another option is to serve the sausage and vegetables over a bed of pasta. I think penne would be a great choice. If serving over penne, you can add a vinaigrette to help coat everything in flavor. I think the Smoky Vinaigrette that I used in my Smoky Roasted Sausage and Vegetables recipe would go nicely.

How Long Does it Last?

I generally keep meal preps like this for about four days, but the lifespan will vary depending on the conditions in your refrigerator, the freshness of the vegetables, and how long you cook the vegetables. Since I cooked this with the intention of reheating later, I purposely cooked the vegetables very lightly to prevent them from getting super soggy as they wait in the refrigerator. By nature, they will wilt a bit as the days go by, but undercooking them slightly can definitely help.

Close up of Cajun Sausage and Vegetables in the skillet
rectangular glass containers with Cajun Sausage and Vegetables lined up

Cajun Sausage and Vegetables

This simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep is a fast, easy, flavorful, and delicious way to get your daily dose of vegetables!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.94 recipe / $1.74 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 440kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini (½ lb.) $0.72
  • 1 yellow squash (½ lb.) $0.70
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 red onion $0.28
  • 14 oz. Andouille sausage* $3.33
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.20

Instructions

  • Slice the zucchini and yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice the red bell pepper and red onion into strips. Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl.
  • Slice the sausage into rounds. Add the sausage and 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet. Cook the sausage over medium heat until well browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the sausage to a clean bowl.
  • Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil, then sprinkle the smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper over top. Toss the vegetables to coat them in oil and spices.
  • Place the same skillet back over the heat and turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high. Once very hot, add the vegetables and sauté just until they are slightly tender. The vegetables will pick up the flavor left in the skillet from the sausage, so do not clean the skillet first. Be careful to not overcook the vegetables, as they will cook more when you reheat your meal preps.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cooked sausage and chopped parsley to the vegetables. Toss to combine with the vegetables. Give the sausage and vegetables a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.
  • Serve immediately or divide into four portions and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Notes

*If you can not find Andouille sausage in your area, you can substitute it with any smoked sausage, like kielbasa.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25recipe | Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 36g | Sodium: 1043mg | Fiber: 3g
Close up of a forkful of Cajun sausage and Vegetables

How to Make Cajun Sausage and Vegetables – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables in a bowl

Prep the vegetables first, so they’re ready to go. Slice one zucchini and one yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice one red bell pepper and one red onion into strips. Place the vegetables in a bowl.

sliced sausage on a cutting board

Slice 14oz. Andouille sausage into rounds.

Cooked sausage in a skillet

Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage is well browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the sausage to a clean bowl.

seasoning being added to the vegetables

Drizzle 1 Tbsp cooking oil over the vegetables, then sprinkle with ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Toss the vegetables until they’re coated in oil and spices.

Sautéed vegetables in the skillet

Turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high. Once very hot, add the vegetables and sauté just until they begin to soften. The vegetables will pick up the flavor and browned bits left behind by the sausage. Be careful not to overcook the vegetables. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Finished Cajun sausage and vegetables in the skillet

Return the cooked sausage back to the skillet along with a couple of tablespoons of chopped parsley. Toss to combine. Give it a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

rectangular glass containers with Cajun Sausage and Vegetables lined up

Serve immediately or divide into four portions and refrigerate until ready to eat.

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Easy Chicken and Vegetable Meal Prep

This simple chicken and vegetable meal prep is an easy way to prepare meals ahead to save time and money, plus it’s customizable!

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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.

Four rectangular glass meal prep containers with chicken, brussels sprouts and sweet potato

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:

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.

lineup of meal prep containers with chicken, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes
lineup of meal prep containers with chicken, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes

Chicken and Vegetable Meal Prep

This simple chicken and vegetable meal prep is an easy way to prepare meals ahead to save time and money, plus it's customizable!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost $10.59 recipe / $2.65 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 461kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

*I had one very large sweet potato and used ¼ of the potato per portion. You could also use two smaller sweet potatoes and use ½ of each per meal prep.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 18g | Sodium: 448mg | Fiber: 9g

How to Make Chicken and Vegetable Meal Prep – Step by Step Photos

Prepped Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet

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.

Prepped sweet potatoes on the baking sheet with 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.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato

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.

Seasoned chicken breasts on a cutting board

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.

oil being added to the skillet

Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-low.

Cooked Chicken breasts in the skillet

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).

Sliced chicken breasts

Transfer the chicken breast to a clean cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

meal prep containers full of chicken, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potato scattered on the surface

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.

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Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables

This Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables meal prep is super fast and easy, and holds up well in the fridge for tasty lunches all week!

The post Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Are you ready for this? Because I wasn’t quite ready for how easy and delicious this meal was. When I sat down to eat my first bowl of these Pesto Chicken and Vegetables I was like, “Oh yes, I’m going to make this every single week.” It’s the perfect light, flavorful, and fast recipe for meal prep. And it’s just SO SIMPLE.

Pesto chicken and vegetables in a skillet

Vegetable Options

I used a summery mix of yellow squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, green beans, and red onion for this quick sauté, but there are a lot of options when it comes to the vegetables. Here are some other vegetables you could add:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh corn
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach

The key thing to keep in mind when using different vegetables is when to add them to the skillet. For this recipe you don’t want to fully cook the vegetables. They should be just tender-crisp. So, keeping that in mind, add sturdy vegetables first and tender vegetables later to make sure they don’t get overcooked.

Can I Substitute the Chicken?

Yes, there are options for that, too! I think shrimp would be absolutely awesome in this recipe, as would tofu. If using tofu, I would do a cornstarch coating and fry it separately (see the technique used in this recipe) before tossing it together with the vegetables and pesto at the end.

How to Serve Pesto Chicken and Vegetables

I ate this dish as-is, just a bowl of flavorful chicken and vegetables. But there are more options! You could eat this over a bowl of rice, stir in some cooked orzo or quinoa, or even add them to a bed of greens. Honestly, I would probably even add them to a flat bread and top with mozzarella as a sort of vegetable pizza!

How Long Does it Stay Good?

I got about four days out of my pesto chicken and vegetables, but this can vary depending on the conditions in your refrigerator, freshness of the ingredients, and how long you cook the vegetables. As I mentioned above, you want to barely cook the vegetables for this recipe. Just make them tender-crisp so they don’t get too wilted. Not only does this give them great texture and a fresh, bright flavor, but they last a little longer in the fridge, too.

side view of a bowl full of pesto chicken and vegetables
Easy pesto chicken and vegetables in a skillet with a spatula

Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables

This Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables meal prep is super fast and easy, and holds up well in the fridge for tasty lunches all week!
Total Cost $11.07 recipe / $2.72 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 369.33kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 zucchini $0.60
  • 1 yellow squash $0.50
  • 1/2 red onion $0.19
  • 1.3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast $6.67
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1 cup frozen green beans $0.67
  • 1/3 cup pesto* $0.73
  • 1/8 tsp salt* $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper* $0.01
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan* $0.11

Instructions

  • Chop the bell pepper, yellow squash, and zucchini, and slice the red onion. I like to make different shapes for each vegetable, but aim to make the pieces all around the same size.
  • Cube the chicken breasts into ½-inch pieces.
  • Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Once the skillet and oil are very hot, add the chicken and sauté until the chicken pieces are opaque (3-5 minutes – the chicken will continue to cook as you add vegetables).
  • Add the green beans to the skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes more, or just until thawed.
  • Add the bell pepper and red onion to the skillet. Sauté for 1-2 minutes more. If water is beginning to pool in the skillet, turn the heat up slightly. It should be hot enough that the water released from the vegetables evaporates quickly.
  • Add the yellow squash and zucchini to the skillet and continue to sauté 2-3 minutes more, or just until the squash softens slightly.
  • Turn the heat off, add the pesto to the skillet, and stir until everything is coated. Give the vegetables a taste and add salt, pepper, or more pesto if desired. Top with a light sprinkle of Parmesan just before serving.

Notes

*You may need more or less pesto, salt, pepper, or Parmesan depending on the volume of your vegetables and your personal taste. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 369.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.68g | Protein: 36.8g | Fat: 19.2g | Sodium: 423.15mg | Fiber: 3.43g
Pesto chicken and vegetables in glass meal prep containers lined up side by side

How to Make Pesto Chicken and Vegetables – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Chop the vegetables first so they’re ready to go. Chop one red bell pepper, one yellow squash, one zucchini, slice ½ of one red onion and measure 1 cup frozen green beans. I like to do different shapes for the vegetables, but aim to keep them roughly the same size.

Cubed chicken breast on a cutting board

Cut 1.3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast into ½-inch pieces.

Cooked chicken in the skillet, frozen green beans being poured in

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Once very hot, add the cubed chicken and sauté just until the chicken is opaque (3-5 minutes – it will continue to cook as you add more vegetables). Next, add the frozen green beans and sauté for a couple of minutes more, or just until thawed.

Red bell pepper and red onion added to the skillet

Next add the bell pepper and red onion. Continue to sauté a couple of minutes more. If you see water pooling in the skillet, turn the heat up higher. The heat should be high enough that any moisture released by the vegetables evaporates quickly.

zucchini and yellow squash added to the skillet

Finally, add the yellow squash and zucchini to the skillet. Sauté just a couple of minutes more, or just until the raw edge is taken off the squash.

Pesto being added to the skillet

Turn the heat off. Add about ⅓ cup pesto to the skillet and stir until everything is coated.

Finished pesto chicken and vegetables

Give the vegetables a taste and add salt, pepper, or more pesto if needed (I added a pinch of each).

pesto chicken and vegetables in a bowl topped with a pinch of parmesan

Top with a light sprinkle of Parmesan just before serving.

Three glass meal prep containers full of pesto chicken and vegetables

Perfect for meal prep!!

The post Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Kale and White Bean Power Bowls

These kale and white bean power bowls are full of flavor, texture, protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Perfect for meal prep!

The post Kale and White Bean Power Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’ve been around Budget Bytes a while, then you already know how much I love bowl meals (we even have a whole category for them). So when several people asked me to replicate the Healthy Choice brand frozen Power Bowls, I needed to go see what all the fuss was about. I bought a few, and I have to say, they’re pretty good! …but expensive. So I knew I could do better. Here is my first riff off of the freezer aisle power bowls: Kale and White Bean Power Bowls. Pretty easy, VERY filling, and about half the price!

Overhead view of a kale and white bean power bowl with a fork in the side

My Modifications

This particular bowl is inspired by the White Bean & Feta Salad by Healthy Choice. Since that one had some of my fav ingredients, I knew it was a great place to start. The bowl was nice and filling, but overall it was a touch too sweet for my taste. So here’s what I subbed:

  • Sun dried tomatoes instead of dried cranberries to reduce the sweetness.
  • A homemade vinaigrette that is more tangy than their sweet vinaigrette.
  • Walnuts instead of pepitas. Walnuts just seemed like a better fit for this flavor profile.
  • Brown rice instead of mixed grains (theirs has brown rice, red rice, quinoa, and barley). Using one grain was just more convenient.

P.S. My bowls cost about $1.50 each and the store bought version retails at my local grocery store for $3.99 each ($3.50 on sale when I bought them). WIN.

Make it Your Own

One of my favorite things about bowl meals is that they are endlessly customizable. If you don’t like some of the ingredients I used, you can just swap them out! Here are some options:

  • Spinach instead of kale
  • Quinoa or cauliflower rice in place of brown rice
  • Chickpeas or kidney beans in place of cannellini beans
  • Store bought Greek or Italian dressing in place of the homemade vinaigrette

How to Store Kale and White Bean Power Bowls

This recipe is made for meal prepping. You can keep these bowls refrigerated for about 4 days, or you can freeze them for a couple of months. I suggest using a microwave to reheat the bowls (if frozen, use the defrost setting first, then full power to heat through).

three glass meal prep containers filled with kale and white bean power bowls
Overhead view of a Kale and White Bean Power Bowl with a fork in the side

Kale and White Bean Power Bowls

These kale and white bean power bowls are full of flavor, texture, protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Perfect for meal prep! 
Total Cost $5.81 recipe / $1.45 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 550.05kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain brown rice $0.40

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.52
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.30
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.05
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.15
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Sautéed Kale

  • 1/2 lb. chopped fresh kale (6 cups) $1.15
  • 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.02
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02

Bowl Toppings

  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans $0.07
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes $0.83
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts $0.03
  • 2 oz. feta $1.14

Instructions

  • Begin cooking the rice first. The remaining bowl ingredients can be prepared while the rice is cooking. Add the rice and 2 cups water to a saucepot. Place a lid on top and bring the water up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice sit with the lid in place for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff just before serving.
  • While the rice is cooking, make the vinaigrette so the flavors have a little time to blend. In a jar or bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine, or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
  • Add the cooking oil and minced garlic to a large pot or skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute. Add the chopped kale and salt. Sauté for a few more minutes, or just until the kale is wilted. Set the kale aside.
  • Finally, prepare the rest of the toppings. Rinse and drain the white beans. Chop the sun dried tomatoes and walnuts. Crumble the feta.
  • When the rice has finished cooking, it's time to assemble the bowls. Add about ¾ cup rice to each bowl or container, followed by ½ cup sautéed kale, ⅓ cup beans, and a tablespoon each of sun dried tomatoes and walnuts. Sprinkle a little feta over each bowl. Divide the vinaigrette between four small containers. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • Reheat the bowls using a microwave just before serving, then drizzle with vinaigrette, stir, and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 550.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 64.18g | Protein: 16.58g | Fat: 26.3g | Sodium: 887.8mg | Fiber: 10.1g

How to Make Kale and White Bean Power Bowls – Step by Step Photos

Cooked brown rice in a pot being fluffed with a fork

Start with the brown rice because it takes about 50 minutes to cook and the rest of the bowls can be prepared while the rice cooks. Add 1 cup brown rice to a pot with 2 cups water. Place a lid on top and bring it up to a boil over high heat. When it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, lid in place, for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork just before serving.

Overhead view of homemade vinaigrette in a jar.

Next, make the vinaigrette so the flavors have a little time to blend. Combine ¼ cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, ½ Tbsp Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper in a jar or bowl. Whisk the ingredients to combine or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.

Chopped kale in a colander

Next, prepare the kale. I buy pre-chopped kale because it’s super inexpensive and really cuts down on the prep work. I do give it an extra rinse, though, and pick out any large pieces of stems.

Minced garlic and oil in a large pot

Add ½ Tbsp cooking oil and one clove of minced garlic to a large pot or skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium for about a minute.

Sautéed kale in the pot

Add 1/2 lb. chopped kale to the pot with ⅛ tsp salt and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or just until the kale is wilted. Set the kale aside.

Sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, beans, and feta on a cutting board

Prepare the last few ingredients. Chop about ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes and ¼ cup walnuts. Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of cannellini beans. Crumbled about 2 oz. feta.

Power bowls base layer of rice, kale, and beans

When the rice is finished cooking, it’s time to build the bowls. Start with ¾ cup rice in each bowl or container, ⅓ cup beans, and about ½ cup sautéed kale.

Sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, feta, and dressing added to the power bowl

Add about 1 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes and chopped walnuts on top, and a light sprinkle of crumbled feta. Divide the dressing between four containers. Refrigerate the bowls until ready to eat. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the bowls after reheating, then stir and enjoy!

Overhead view of a Kale and White Bean Power Bowl with a fork in the side

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The Bagel Lunch Box

Here’s another quick lunch box idea (or meal prep breakfast idea) for you! While this one isn’t completely no-cook because it contains a hard boiled egg, it is still a super easy no-reheat lunch box that you can take to work, school, or on the road. This Bagel Lunch Box includes a mini bagel, some […]

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Here’s another quick lunch box idea (or meal prep breakfast idea) for you! While this one isn’t completely no-cook because it contains a hard boiled egg, it is still a super easy no-reheat lunch box that you can take to work, school, or on the road. This Bagel Lunch Box includes a mini bagel, some of my favorite Scallion Herb Cream Cheese, a handful of vegetables that go oh so well with the flavored cream cheese, and a simple hard boiled egg. It’s super simple to put together, but it makes life so much easier when your mornings are busy. Just grab a lunch box and go!

Three glass meal prep containers in a diagonal line filled with the bagel lunch box items

About that Cream Cheese…

I included my Scallion Herb Cream Cheese in this bagel lunch box because it has so much flavor and really adds a nice element of interest to the meal. If you don’t want to make this cream cheese you can use plain cream cheese or use a store-bought flavored cream cheese. Another nice option is to use plain cream cheese, but then bring some Everything Bagel Seasoning with you to add some extra flavor.

Other Lunch Box Add-In Ideas

If you want to substitute any of the ingredients or add to this lunch box, here are some good ideas of things that would also match well:

  • Smoked salmon
  • Carrot sticks
  • An orange, tangerine, or cutie
  • Grapes
  • Deli ham
  • Alfalfa sprouts

Where Did You Get Those Containers?

The divided glass meal prep containers and the small metal cups were both purchased on Amazon (links in the bottom of the recipe card below). 

Three bagel lunch boxes lined up in a row

 
Three bagel lunch boxes lined up in a row

The Bagel Lunch Box

This Bagel Lunch Box is an easy and affordable grab and go breakfast or lunch idea, perfect for work or school.
Total Cost $5.32 recipe / $1.33 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 307.18kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Scallion Herb Cream Cheese

  • 4 oz. cream cheese $0.60
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro $0.04
  • 1 green onion, sliced $0.11
  • 1/16 tsp garlic powder $0.01
  • 1/16 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice $0.02

Lunch Box Ingredients

  • 4 mini bagels $1.52
  • 4 large eggs $0.92
  • 1 cucumber, sliced $1.29
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes $0.75

Instructions

  • To hard boil the eggs, place the eggs in a sauce pot and add water until the eggs are covered by one inch. Place the pot over high heat and allow the water to come up to a full boil. When it reaches a full boil, turn off the heat, place a lid on the pot, and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool.
  • To make the scallion herb cream cheese, combine the cream cheese, parsley, cilantro, green onion, garlic powder, salt, and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir together until evenly combined.
  • Place one bagel in each lunch box along with ¼ of the cucumber slices, ¼ of the grape tomatoes, ¼ of the cream cheese (1 oz.), and one hard boiled egg. Refrigerate up to five days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1lunch box | Calories: 307.18kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.6g | Protein: 12.98g | Fat: 15.1g | Sodium: 420.95mg | Fiber: 420.95g

How to Make the Bagel Lunch Box – Step by Step Photos

Place Eggs in Ice Bath

To hard boil the eggs, add the eggs to a sauce pot and add enough water to cover them by one inch. Place the pot over high heat and allow the water to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, transfer the eggs to an ice water bath to cool.

Scallion Herb Cream Cheese Spread mixed

To make the scallion herb cream cheese, combine 4 oz. cream cheese, 1 Tbsp chopped parsley, 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro, one sliced green onion, 1/16 tsp (or one pinch) garlic powder, 1/16 tsp (one pinch) salt, and ½ Tbsp lemon juice in a bowl. Stir until everything is evenly combined.

One bagel lunch box in a glass meal prep container

Place one bagel, one hard boiled egg, ¼ of the sliced cucumbers, ¼ of the tomatoes, and ¼ of the cream cheese (1 oz.) in each lunch box. Refrigerate up to five days.

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The Peanut Butter Lunch Box

Continuing on with the series of no-cook lunch boxes, I bring you The Peanut Butter Lunch Box! This one is so simple, yet I may have enjoyed this one the most out of all the lunch boxes I’ve prepared so far. I don’t know if it was the sweet-salty combo, or maybe it was just […]

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Continuing on with the series of no-cook lunch boxes, I bring you The Peanut Butter Lunch Box! This one is so simple, yet I may have enjoyed this one the most out of all the lunch boxes I’ve prepared so far. I don’t know if it was the sweet-salty combo, or maybe it was just nostalgia (for about two years straight in elementary school I ate peanut butter apple sandwiches for lunch), but every day I looked forward to this lunch box! So, if you’re a fan of peanut butter sandwiches, but want to change things up, give this peanut butter lunch box a try!

Three glass containers lined up with peanut butter apples, celery, pretzels and dates.

What’s in the Peanut Butter Lunch Box

Peanut butter is the focus of this lunch box, with both sweet and savory side items that are all delicious dipped into the creamy peanut butter. For my peanut butter lunch box I added pretzels, apple slices, celery, and dates. If you can’t eat peanut butter, this lunch box would be just as good with any other nut butter you prefer (almond, cashew, sunflower, etc.).

About Those Dates…

If you’ve never eaten dates with peanut butter before, prepare for your mind to be blown! Medjool dates are rich, sweet, sticky, and taste a little bit like caramel, so it tastes like you’re eating caramel with peanut butter! It’s the perfectly rich and sweet natural dessert.

You’ll find Medjool dates in the produce department of most major grocery stores (scroll down to the photos below the recipe card to see what type of container they come in). They usually have a small pit inside, but they are easily pulled open with your fingers, and then you can simply remove the pit before smearing that creamy peanut butter all over the date.

How to Keep the Apple Slices Fresh

As most people know, apples begin to brown after they are sliced in response to exposure to oxygen. This brown color is a simple chemical reaction and does not indicate that the apple has gone “bad.” To help slow the browning, keep the apple slices bunched closely together to reduce the exposure to oxygen on the cut surfaces (see photos). You can also sprinkle a little lemon juice over your apple slices to further slow the browning, if you prefer. Even without lemon juice, my apple slices only browned a very small amount over four days in the refrigerator.

What Containers Do You Use?

For this lunch box I used a set of divided glass containers that I purchased on Amazon (linked below in the bottom of the recipe card). The dividers don’t go all the way up to the lid, so they don’t keep liquid items separate, but for solids or super thick stuff like peanut butter, it works just fine. 

A single peanut butter lunch box with peanut butter on a Medjool date and a pretzel dipping into the peanut butter

 
Three glass containers of the peanut butter lunch box lined up in a row

The Peanut Butter Lunch Box

This peanut butter lunch box is an easy no-cook lunch idea for school, work, picnics, or road trips! No reheating needed!
Total Cost $4.57 recipe / $1.14 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 572.68kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup peanut butter* $1.49
  • 60 mini pretzels $0.26
  • 2 apples $0.78
  • 8 Medjool dates $1.33
  • 4 ribs celery $0.70
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional) $0.01

Instructions

  • Wash and slice the celery into sticks. Slice each apple in half, remove the core, then cut into slices. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apple slices to slow browning, if desired.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of peanut butter to each container. Add about 15 pretzels to each container, along with ½ an apple, some celery sticks, and two dates. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate up to five days.

Notes

I used natural style peanut butter, but you can use whichever type you prefer, or another type of nut butter.

Nutrition

Serving: 1lunch box | Calories: 572.68kcal | Carbohydrates: 80.15g | Protein: 14.53g | Fat: 25.65g | Sodium: 517.13mg | Fiber: 9.93g

The Peanut Butter Lunch Box – Extra Notes

Cored and sliced apples

I used Granny Smith Apples for this lunch box, but you can use any variety of apples you like. I included ½ an apple with each box. Slice the apples in half, then remove the core (I used a sharp measuring spoon, but you could use something like a melon baller as well). Slice each apple half into slices. Keeping the slices close together prevents oxygen exposure, which will slow the browning. You can also sprinkle a little lemon juice over the slices to further help slow the browning.

Medjool date container

Medjool dates are usually sold in a container like this, but sometimes I see them sold loose by the pound, which is really nice when you only need a few! I see them at just about every grocery store now, so they are widely available. You’ll find them in the produce department, usually not refrigerated.

Open Medjool date

To eat the dates, simply pull them open with your hands. They are soft and sticky, so they pull open very easily. You’ll find a small pit in the center (you can see the pit on the left side). Remove the pit.

Date half with peanut butter

Smear a little peanut butter on each half of the date and enjoy! This combo is super rich and sweet, so you’ll only need one or two! Enjoy!

Three peanut butter lunch boxes in glass containers

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The Tuna Salad Lunch Box

Here’s another no-cook cold lunch idea for you! Tuna salad is a classic cold lunch item, but you can’t prep a few days worth of sandwiches ahead and expect them to hold up and not turn into a soggy mess. Unlike piling tuna salad onto a sandwich or onto a bed of greens, this Tuna […]

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Here’s another no-cook cold lunch idea for you! Tuna salad is a classic cold lunch item, but you can’t prep a few days worth of sandwiches ahead and expect them to hold up and not turn into a soggy mess. Unlike piling tuna salad onto a sandwich or onto a bed of greens, this Tuna Salad Lunch Box holds up for days in the refrigerator, so you can pack your lunch for the week all in one go. 

These no-cook lunch ideas are convenient for the hot summer months, work places that don’t have a microwave for reheating, picnics, and road trips! Scroll down for a list with more of my no-cook lunch boxes just below the recipe!

Three divided glass meal prep containers with tuna salad, crackers, and vegetables

What Kind of Tuna Salad Should You Use?

You can use your favorite tuna salad recipe in your tuna salad lunch box. I used my Classic Tuna Salad, but this would also work well with my Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad, Sesame Tuna Salad, or even my White Bean and Tuna Salad.

How to Keep the Crackers Crunchy

Tuna salad does have a lot of moisture in it, so if you put your crackers in the same box without any protection they will slowly absorb that moisture and soften. To avoid this you can either wrap the crackers in a fold top sandwich baggie, or just pack them separately.

Other Tuna Salad Lunch Box Ingredient Options

If you don’t like the items I packed in my tuna salad lunch box, there are more options! You can pack sliced cucumber, carrot sticks, pretzels, or even butter lettuce leaves (to use as a sort of wrap). 

If you want to make your lunch more filling, consider adding an apple, orange, or a cup of yogurt on the side.

What Are Those Containers??

I got these divided glass meal prep containers on Amazon. You can find a link to them in the bottom of the recipe card below.

A tuna salad lunch box with tuna in a pepper and a cracker tipping into the salad

 
A tuna salad lunch box with tuna in a pepper and a cracker tipping into the salad

The Tuna Salad Lunch Box

This Tuna Salad Lunch Box is an easy make-ahead lunch idea with plenty of vegetables and protein to keep you full.
Total Cost $7.68 recipe /. $1.92 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 573.98kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Classic Tuna Salad

  • 1 12oz. cans chunk light tuna in water $3.98
  • 1 cup diced celery $0.35
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts $0.30
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.12
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise $0.40
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Other Box Ingredients

  • 4 ribs celery $0.52
  • 12 mini sweet peppers $1.22
  • 20 crackers $0.74

Instructions

  • Drain the tuna well. Finely dice the celery and slice the green onion. Combine the tuna, celery, green onion, walnuts, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
  • Slice the remaining celery into sticks. Cut each mini sweet pepper in half and scoop out the seeds.
  • Divide the tuna salad between four containers (about 1 cup each). Add celery sticks, mini sweet peppers, and crackers to each box with the tuna salad. For extra protection, either wrap the crackers in a sandwich baggie or pack them separately. Refrigerate the lunch boxes up to four days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1box | Calories: 573.98kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.93g | Protein: 44.1g | Fat: 34.8g | Sodium: 1409.73mg | Fiber: 8.03g

Check Out These Other No-Cook Lunch Ideas:

Three glass containers of the tuna salad lunch box scattered

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