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!

The post Easy Chicken and Vegetable Meal Prep appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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.

The post Easy Chicken and Vegetable Meal Prep appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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.