15 Weekend Meal Prep Ingredients Best Cooked in Big Batches

Meal prep may sound like an activity for disciplined dieters and hardcore athletes. However, it is actually a great strategy for anyone with a busy schedule. If you like the idea, but aren’t sure you want to commit to cooking all your meals for the entire week at once, why not try prepping big batches of ingredients. That way you will be able to exercise your creativity during the week while still cutting your cooking time in half!

For some ideas of what make great, versatile ingredients to use throughout the week, check out the list below.

1. Roasted veggies

slow-roasted-shallots-big batch
Bon Appétit

If you’re using the oven anyways, why not throw some foil-wrapped veggies in there to roast? Roasted veggies make great side dishes, are delicious in salads, and even taste wonderful on their own. Don’t know what kind of veggies to use?

For something new, try roasting some shallots with this recipe.

2. Raw snacking veggies

raw veggies big batch

Raw veggies are easy and make a great snack. Any vegetable can be chopped up to use as a side dish, an after-school snack, or an addition to your morning smoothie.

Rotate what you prep every week to keep easy variety in your meals.

3. Zoodles

zoodles big batch
Nom Nom Paleo

While you are in the middle of prepping all your veggies, why not get a little extra creative? With a spiralizer, you can upgrade your zucchini to something even your kids will love – noodles!

Zucchini noodles have the texture of regular wheat-based noodles are a natural complement to tomato-based sauce. Plus, they cook in under five minutes.

Get the preparation technique here.

4. Caramelized onions

big-batch-caramelized-onions-
Bon Appétit

Onions are great to give your dishes flavor. However, if you caramelize them first and add them to a dish, you just created a gourmet meal. Try them in salads, sandwiches, soups, and on top of your meat.

Get the recipe here.

5. Hard-boiled eggs

boiled egg stock photo

Eggs are an almost perfect food themselves. Loaded with protein to get you through your day, they are always good snacks or easy addition to bulk up a salad.

Boil a batch at the beginning of the week so that you have them for a quick breakfast or a great protein-filled meal topper.

How long do you need to boil them? Find out here.

6. Beans

big batch black beans
Serious Eats

One of the basic food staples, beans are a great addition to many dishes from Mexican to Indian because their flavor profiles across the board are so adaptable.

All you have to do is throw in whatever spices you like into a pot of beans and boil away. Get a recipe here.

7. Lean proteins

grilled chicken big batch stock photo
Pexels

If you’re like most people, you probably eat meat at least several times during the week. So having some prepped will drastically reduce meal preparation time.

Try chicken or turkey whose mild flavors makes them versatile and perfect for most dishes. Get the recipe here.

8. Rice

big batch rice
The Kitchn

A great economical staple, rice comes in a wide range of colors, textures, and flavors. You can cook brown rice for its chewy texture and fiber content, or you can whip up a batch of classic basmati that can be used as the carb component of almost any dish.

Plus, if your rice gets a little hard in the fridge throughout the week, all you have to do is sprinkle a little water on it when you reheat and it will soften right up.

Learn how to cook the perfect pot of rice here.

9. Barley

barley porridge with corn, broccoli, garlic, mushrooms and peppe
Delish

Barley can be used just as you would use rice. With its nutty flavor and great texture, it’s a great option if you want to up the fiber content in any of your rice dishes.

Get a great recipe here.

10. Oats

breakfast-oatmeal-cacao-figs- big batch
Bon Appétit

A big batch of oats can be used for both cookies and breakfast. Ingredients don’t get much more versatile than that! A great way to use cooked oats is to portion them out into separate containers with some mix-ins, then, even if your mornings are hectic, you will never be in danger of missing breakfast again.

Find some new ideas on how to use cooked oats here.

11. Pizza dough

fresh dough ready for baking

Why not make some pizza dough? Once the dough is made, making the pizza is a cinch. Plus, if you freeze the dough after only letting it rise once, when you thaw it, it will rise a second time and be ready to bake.

Get a simple recipe here.

12. Chicken stock

Chicken soup ingredients cooking

Are you roasting a chicken this week? Don’t throw away the bones! Instead combine them with some vegetables and spices to make your own chicken stock, and make any sauce or soup taste perfectly homemade.

Get the recipe here.

13. Tomato sauce

vista dall'alto sugo di pomodoro in padella di metallo sfondo tavolo rustico

As a basic sauce that the whole family loves, why not make a lot of it? Tomato sauce can be used for tomato soup, Italian food, chili, and pasta dishes.

Get the recipe here.

14. Chili sauce

Hot chilli oil

Sometimes you need to add a little spice to your dishes. Why not have a jar of chili oil handy just for that reason? If you’ve never tried it, but love hot sauce, you might not be able to stop eating it.

Get the recipe here.

 15. Peanut sauce

peanut-dressing

A classic sauce in Asian cuisine, peanut sauce is also great for simply dipping or putting on a salad. Get creative with this sauce. It can give your dishes an unusual twist to keep them tasting fresh throughout the week.

Get the recipe here.

Read More: These Fun Placemats Are Kid-Tested, Mom-Approved to Keep Dinner on the Table