Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Easy Meals for the Grill in Just 1 Hour

updated May 29, 2019
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn

What are your favorite types of meal prep sessions? Sometimes I like to spend a few hours in the kitchen and cook through a bunch of meals for the week ahead in their entirely, but more often I like to focus solely on prep work. These types of sessions are especially good for weeks when I’m only able to devote an hour to Sunday meal prep.

This Power Hour is all about celebrating the return of grilling season. It will help you fully prep a week of grilled dinners for two adults — plus breakfast and lunch — in just 60 minutes. During the week, you’ll fire up the grill for dinner, but you’ll have already completed all the prep work. Ready to get started?

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

My Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: A quick and wholesome breakfast for myself and my husband that can be eaten at home or on the go (five days).
  • Lunch: A light, protein-packed lunch for myself and my husband, mostly repurposed from dinner leftovers (five days).
  • Dinner: Fully prepped meals that can be tossed on the grill for quick cooking, or simply reheated (five days).
  • Nutritional Goals: While we don’t have any food restrictions, we make a point to work in a lot of vegetables and focus our diet on a wide variety of whole foods that feel (mostly) healthy to us.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Two people
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (15 to 20 minutes of grilling or reheating to get dinner on the table).

My Meal Plan

Breakfast

  • Greek Yogurt + Granola and Fruit

Lunch

  • Veggie + Hummus Wraps
  • Mix-and-Match Grain Bowls with Green Tahini

Dinner

Credit: The Kitchn

Below are the ingredients I bought or used for this meal prep plan. I also relied on staples already in my pantry, like olive oil and spices.

  • Produce: 2 pints berries, 1 bunch bananas, 4 lemons, 2 bunches parsley, 1 bunch cilantro, 1 bunch dill, 2 large red onions, 3 large zucchini, 2 large yellow squash, 2 red bell peppers, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 small eggplant, 8 ounces button mushrooms
  • Meat: 2 pounds flank steak, 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • Dairy & Refrigerated Items: Greek yogurt, hummus, 8 ounces plain whole-milk yogurt, 28 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • Pantry: Granola, tortillas, BBQ sauce, farro, tahini, pita chips
Credit: The Kitchn

Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done

  1. Soak the skewers: Start by soaking the wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. While they soak, move onto other tasks, then come back to assemble the skewers at the end of prep.
  2. Cook farro: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farro and cook it pasta-style, until it’s tender with a just a little bit of bite. (It takes about 20 minutes.) While it simmers, make a couple of sauces.
  3. Make sauces: Blitz together the smoky herb sauce in the food processor, then wipe out the processor and make a double batch of green tahini sauce. Store each in separate jars in the refrigerator.
  4. Marinate steak: Add the marinade ingredients to a large zip-top bag, mix them together, and add the steak. Seal the bag, place it on a plate, and store in the refrigerator.
  5. Marinate chicken: Repeat this process with the chicken thighs, adding them to a large zip-top bag after mixing together the yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic. Store the bag of chicken on a plate in the refrigerator.
  6. Prep vegetables: Cut the vegetables that will be skewered and grilled, plus a few extra for lunch wraps.
  7. Prep tofu: Cut the drained and pressed tofu into 1 1/2- to 2-inch cubes and thread them on several skewers.
  8. Thread and freeze skewers: Lastly, thread a mix of vegetables (bell peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and red onion) onto skewers. Wrap half the skewers and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then place in the freezer.
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

A Week of Prepped Meals from the Grill

Breakfast

Each morning for breakfast we have a bowl of plain, full-fat Greek yogurt topped with store-bought granola and fresh fruit.

Lunch

Monday and Wednesday, Veggie and Hummus Wraps: Since we haven’t fired up the grill yet, we kick off the week with a hummus wrap with fresh veggies, then switch it up with a mix of grilled veggies for Wednesday’s lunch. Since the vegetables are already prepped, it only takes a few minutes to assemble the wraps in the morning before work.

Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: Mix-and-Match Grain Bowls with Green Tahini Sauce: Using farro as the base, we make grain bowls for the remainder of lunches using the leftover grilled vegetables, steak, chicken, tofu, or a combo, then top it off with a drizzle of green tahini sauce.

Dinner

Monday, Grilled Flank Steak and Veggies with Smoky Herb Sauce: While the grill heats up, I remove the steak from the marinade, pat it dry, and let it sit at room temperature. I also take the herb sauce out of the refrigerator so it can come to room temp. Once the grill is hot, I add the vegetable skewers to the grill, followed by the steak about 5 minutes later. Dinner comes together within about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, Yogurt-Marinated Chicken: While the grill heats up, I remove the chicken from the marinade, pat it dry, and let it sit at room temperature. After throwing the chicken thighs on the grill, it’s only about 15 minutes before dinner is ready.

Wednesday, Vegetable and Tofu Kebabs: Once the grill is heated, I brush the grates with olive oil, then add the remainder of vegetable skewers straight from the freezer. They take about 15 minutes to cook until they’re charred around the edges and tender inside. About halfway through I add the tofu skewers. I cook them for about 5 minutes over direct heat, brush them with BBQ sauce, then cook for another 5 minutes.

Thursday, Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Green Tahini: We repurpose the leftover chicken into cold sandwiches, layered with greens, fresh veggies from the fridge, and green tahini sauce.

Friday, Grilled Vegetable Hummus Bowls: Tonight we’re eating my favorite hummus bowl, and instead of the roasted vegetables in the recipe, we’ll reheat and use what’s left of the grilled vegetables, and round out dinner with pita chips.

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Power Hour Meal Prep is the series where we help you put it all together. We show you how to eat well during the week with an hour or two of Power Hour prep over the weekend. Every plan is different; mix and match to find your own personal sweet spot.