With the start of college, it can be difficult to plan meals and to know what ingredients to purchase from the food store. A great start to your grocery list includes some fruits such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Vegetables are a healthy choice including carrots, corn, spinach, bell peppers and lettuce. 

A variety of cheeses along with bread or rolls can be used in multiple ways. Don’t forget onion and garlic which can be used to flavor a dish. Add to the list a rotisserie chicken, ground beef, chicken breasts and eggs for proteins. With these ingredients, you can prepare many recipes that can be eaten immediately or saved in the refrigerator for consumption all week. 

Shred up your rotisserie chicken when you get home from the store. Store it in an air-tight container. This shredded chicken will be used to make several meals. For the first night, a chicken and rice meal with cooked vegetables and sauteed spinach would perfectly balance your plate. 

The second meal might be the chicken tossed with lettuce, feta cheese, dried cranberries and pecans for a scrumptious salad. The third meal could be a Mexican-style bowl with the chicken tossed with taco seasoning. Add rice and beans on the side, along with sauteed peppers, onions, corn and garlic. You could even make several of these bowls and pop them in the refrigerator to have another night, or even for lunch. 

Maybe you want to prepare food to share with housemates. Let’s say you wanted to have a dip night with your friends. What’s an easy and satisfying dip to make? Buffalo chicken dip, of course! The shredded rotisserie chicken can be used again, tossed in hot sauce, along with a few other ingredients and viola! An instant crowd-pleaser. (See recipe at end of article). 

How about an easy, to-go breakfast? After shredding the rotisserie chicken when you get home from the store, wash the strawberries, blueberries and any other berries you enjoy. Cut up the banana into slices. Take about a cup of the fruit mixed together and store it in containers or ziplock bags in the freezer. Before class in the morning, use the fruit containers to make a smoothie with almond or coconut milk and ice. Delicious!

Another great meal prep for breakfast is egg muffins. Simply mix the eggs with milk, salt and pepper. Add any ingredients you like such as mushrooms, cheese, onions, bacon, spinach, or tomatoes. All you do is spray a muffin pan, pour in the mixture and bake for half an hour. Store in the fridge and reheat as needed. So easy! And it makes a protein-packed, grab-and-go savory breakfast. 

Many meals can be prepared ahead using ground beef. You could prepare hamburgers to be cooked anytime during the week. You can also brown some ground beef on the stove, store in an air-tight container and take it out as needed. Maybe you make it into tacos one night and bolognese sauce with spaghetti another night. If you have a few hours on a lazy Sunday, find a favorite meatball recipe, cook in a pot of marinara sauce and enjoy throughout the week. Meatballs can even be frozen and taken out when your schedule might be busier and you have less time to cook. 

Chicken breasts are so versatile. If you make them into breaded chicken cutlets, you can eat them hot or cold, turn them into chicken parmesan or even cut them up and toss them in a Caesar salad. There are endless options. 

As you can see, a little thought and effort ahead of time can make your life less stressful. You can enjoy delicious, homemade, healthy meals all week by thoughtfully purchasing ingredients and spending a short amount of time on meal prep.  

Buffalo Chicken Dip:

  • 1 shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese
  • about 1 cup sour cream
  • about 1/4 cup of Ken’s blue cheese dressing 
  • Franks red hot wing sauce (to taste)
  • Frank’s original red hot sauce (to taste) 
  • Mexican blend cheese
  • Tortilla chips (for scooping)

Just mix together, sprinkle Mexican blend cheese on top and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

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