Power Hour Meal Prep

How I Prep a Week of Easy and Flavorful Meals with Fresh Summer Vegetables

published Aug 26, 2022
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summer veg recipes in prep containers and on surface
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Summer eating is super colorful. Take a stroll through just about any farmers market right now and it will be bursting at the seams with vibrant produce. It’s hard not to want to cart home a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, sunny corn cobs, glossy zucchini, and more right now.

This week’s Power Hour is a celebration of these seasonal treats. In two hours or less you’ll have prepared a week of easygoing breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that put summer vegetables front and center.

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: One easy store-bought option that requires no prep.
  • Lunch: Grab-and-go choices that make use of summer vegetables.
  • Dinner: Colorful meals that are seasonally, naturally feel-good, and extra easy.
  • Nutritional Goals: No set nutritional goals but this meal plan is produce-heavy and plant-based.

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: 2 adults
  • Prep Time: About 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (about 10 to 40 minutes of easy cooking and reheating)

Meal Plan


  • Fresh fruit, yogurt, and granola



Shopping List

This week’s shopping list leans on seasonal vegetables and fruits, along with a few pantry and grocery items. It assumes cooking basics like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.

  • Produce: Mixed berries or stone fruit (any variety), 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, 2 large English cucumbers, 2 small bell peppers (any color), 1 head garlic, 1 medium tomato, 1 clamshell or bag baby spinach, 1 lemon, 8 ounces zucchini or yellow summer squash, 2 medium red onions, 1 bunch fresh parsley, 1 ear corn
  • Meat: 1 1/2 pounds Angus New York strip steak, 4 ounces salami slices, 1 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
  • Refrigerated: 2 large tubs plain yogurt (any variety), 2 (6- to 7-ounce) containers basil pesto, 4 ounces cream cheese, 4 ounces mini mozzarella balls, 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian blend cheese
  • Pantry: Granola, quinoa, red wine vinegar, 1 (12-ounce) jar whole pimento or roasted red peppers, 1 (12-ounce) jar quartered and marinated artichokes hearts, honey, low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, red pepper flakes, dried Italian seasoning, granulated sugar, kalamata olives,
  • Other: 1 loaf soft French bread, 15 long wooden skewers, 4 pieces naan bread

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Take cream cheese out of fridge: Remove the cream cheese for the sub sandwich from the refrigerator to soften.
  2. Make pasta salad: Prepare the Italian Pasta Salad according to recipe instructions.
  3. Cook quinoa: Once the pasta salad is made, transferred to an airtight container, and chilling in the refrigerator, start cooking the quinoa for the grain salad.
  4. Prepare grain salad: While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the veggies and dressing for the grain salad, then toss everything together once the quinoa is cooked. Let cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container.
  5. Marinate steak: Prepare the marinade for the steak and veggie skewers and toss the steak in it. Cover and refrigerate.
  6. Make sandwich: Prepare the sub sandwich according to recipe instructions. Cut into 4 sandwiches, tightly wrap individually, and refrigerate.
Credit: Design: Kitchn

A Week of Flavorful Summer Meals


  • Enjoy a simple bowl of yogurt with fresh summer fruit and granola.


  • Monday, Tuesday: Unwrap one of the veggie sub sandwiches. Better yet, take it to the park. 
  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: Enjoy portions of the grain salad cold or at room temperature.


  • Monday: Soak the wooden skewers for the steak and veggie skewers while you cut the vegetables, then remove the marinated steak from the fridge, light the grill, and prepare the skewers according to recipe instructions. Refrigerate leftovers for Wednesday’s dinner.
  • Tuesday and Thursday: Dig into a bowl of pasta salad. Just let it come to room temperature and taste and season again with salt, pepper, or a splash of olive oil or red wine vinegar. 
  • Wednesday: Enjoy leftover grilled steak and vegetables.
  • Friday: Fire up the grill and prepare the pesto chicken flatbreads according to recipe instructions.