Need to get dinner on the table ASAP after a long day at work? Making quick, healthy, delicious meals is easy when you have these 6 essentials on hand!
This post is sponsored by Taylor Farms but all thoughts and opinions are of course my own. I am SO excited to be working with this amazing company — their salad and stir-fry kits are staples in my fridge! Thank you for supporting the brands that support Body Unburdened and make the work I do possible.
As much as we all wish we could spend hours in the kitchen, preparing yummy and healthy meals…
(or afford to have someone else do so for us! #goals)
… let’s face it: most nights we’re getting home late or are just really darn tired from a long day and need to get dinner on the table ASAP. We need some options that are quick but also healthy and delicious.
Well, my friend, I’m here to tell you that you can have it all! Healthy, delicious meals that you can whip up in a pinch.
Trust me, I’m The Queen of Lazy Cooking — I like to put in no more than 15 minutes of actual effort for dinner, and just 5-10 minutes for breakfast and lunch. But I don’t compromise when it comes to my health (I mean, not unless it’s really really worth it, like birthday cake or a cronut!) or my taste buds.
Making quick, healthy, delicious meals is easy when you have these 6 essentials on hand!
1) Stock your fridge with delicious, ready-made salad kits
I usually grab 2-3 of these ready-made Taylor Farms Crafted Salad Kits (for my two person household) each week at the grocery store.
They’re SO yummy and just so darn convenient, especially for those days when you need to get dinner on the table ASAP or grab something for lunch before running off to work in the morning.
Some of them are a complete meal in and of themselves with a good serving of protein included, while their Crafted Salad Kits can quickly be coupled with a protein (either batch-cooked ahead of time or quickly cooked up) to complete the meal.
There are a few key items I always batch-cook (see essential #2 below for more info!) and so have on hand — two of them are roasted sweet potatoes and chicken. I recently added both to Taylor Farm’s new Avocado Tomatillo Crunch Crafted Salad Kit (along with some spices and olive oil to make a sauce for the chicken) to make a delicious, healthy, and satisfying southwestern salad. This is definitely going to be one of my go-to, last-minute meals from now on!
Quick and Delicious Southwestern Salad
- 1 Taylor Farms Avocado Tomatillo Crunch Crafted Salad Kit
- 1.5 cups roasted sweet potatoes*
- 1 lb cooked chicken breast*
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 tsp taco seasoning OR 1/8 tsp chili powder, pinch of dried garlic powder, pinch of dried onion powder, pinch of dried oregano, sprinkle of sea salt
- 1 avocado
*I batch-cook these two ingredients to always have them on hand! See essential #2 below.
- Add the olive oil and taco seasoning OR chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and sea salt to a small-medium mixing bowl. Stir to combine into a sauce.
- Coat the chicken in the sauce.
- Add all of the ingredients from the Taylor Farms Avocado Tomatillo Crunch Crafted Salad Kit — mixed greens, black beans, roasted corn, cheese, tortilla strips, and dressing — into a medium-large mixing bowl, and toss.
- Add the sweet potatoes and chicken to the salad.
- Serve with sliced avocado and enjoy!
2) Batch-cook some key ingredients you can repurpose over and over
OK so this one does require some upfront time and energy, but is a game-changer. I like to batch-cook on Sunday when I have more time to spare, and probably only spend a total of 30 minutes doing so.
Some of my favorite foods to batch-cook and have on hand for the week:
- Chicken — source of protein that can quickly be added to salads (try it with Taylor Farms’ Asiago Kale Chopped Salad Kit or Buffalo Ranch Chopped Salad Kit!), coupled with some steamed veggies (see essentials #2 and #3 below) , batch-cooked sweet potatoes or quinoa (see just below!) for a yummy last-minute meal. I usually cook 2 pounds for our 2-person household.
- Hard boiled eggs — another good source of protein that can be enjoyed on their own, added to salad, or turned into egg salad. I usually hard-boil 1 dozen eggs each week.
- Roasted sweet potatoes — delicious with eggs in the morning, on top of salads, or as a hot entree side.
- Quinoa — a good source of plant-based protein that can be added to salads or enjoyed as a hot entree side. Try adding it to the Taylor Farms Sweet Kale Chopped Salad (I love pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries on salads) for a yummy fall meal!
- Chia pudding — no cooking actually required with this one! I usually make 2 batches each week to have for a quick breakfast, snack, or dessert option.
3) Stock your fridge with prepped fresh veggies
Broccoli and cauliflower already cut into florets? Green beans with the ends removed? Butternut squash peeled and diced for you!?
Prepped veggies are HUGE time-savers! All you need to do is open the bag, pop them in a steamer basket, and steam for 10-15 minutes while you kick up your feet. Pair with a protein, top with some spices and olive oil, and you’re good to go!
You can also eat the veggies raw with hummus or dip as a quick, healthy snack. And actually, my husband usually brings a bag of these Taylor Farm’s broccoli and carrots to work with some hummus at the beginning of the week for exactly that!
4) … and your freezer with a variety of frozen veggies for emergencies!
I always keep some frozen veggies in my freezer for those times when the fridge is all out of fresh produce and I don’t have the time or energy to run to the store!
Again, everything is prepped and ready to go, saving you time — they’re all set to be thrown in the steamer basket.
Oh and a number of studies have found that frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh (sometimes even more than!) since the fruits and veggies are flash-frozen almost immediately after ripening, when must nutrient-dense.
In addition to frozen fruits for smoothies, I always keep these frozen organic veggies on hand to quickly steam up and add to meals:
- A bell pepper blend
- Broccoli florets
- Haricots verts (much more crisp than regular ol’ frozen green beans)
- Pearl onions
- Chopped and whole spinach
- Blue curled kale
5) Spice it up!
Having a variety of different spices in your cupboard allows you to make the same or similar meals taste really different so you (or your family!) won’t get bored.
For example, one of my go-to last minute meals is steamed veggies, ground beef sautéed with onion, and tomato paste. If I add basil and oregano, it becomes more of an Italian-tasting dish. But if I add chili powder, it’s a bean-free chili! Both are really yummy and though they have the same base ingredients, taste SO incredibly different.
You can also easily add spices to olive oil to make a yummy salad dressing or sauce like we did with the Quick and Delicious Southwestern Salad above (refer back to essential #1 if you missed the recipe!).
6) Stock your pantry with protein-packed dry goods
My favorites are quinoa and chickpea pasta — both are high in fiber and plant-based protein.
Couple them with some veggies, sauce, and spices, and you have yourself a healthy, yummy, super quick meal. Or toss on top of a salad for extra protein and fiber!
Have any other tips or tricks for preparing quick, healthy meals?
Please share with us in the comments below!