Power Hour: How I Prep a Week of Summer-Inspired Sheet Pan Meals
By the time early June rolls around, I’m more than ready for summer to be here. And even though its start is still a few weeks away, that doesn’t stop me from eating like it’s summer. For me, summer eating means meals that are lighter and brighter, packed with as much fresh seasonal produce as possible, with a minimal amount of time in the kitchen. And the beauty of early June cooking (at least in most areas), is that it’s not yet so sweltering that I don’t want to fire up the oven. It’s just the right time to lean on a week of easy sheet pan meals, inspired by the flavors and ingredients of summer!
In this Power Hour, I’ll walk you through prepping a week’s worth of sheet pan dinners (most of which just involve chopping), plus a satisfying, feel-good breakfast and a lunch that will help you repurpose leftovers. With all the chopping complete, during the week all that’s left to do is drop everything onto a trusty baking sheet and pop it in the oven. Let’s get started.
Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: A filling, make-ahead breakfast with a dose of veggies that will hold you over until lunch (five days).
- Lunch: Satisfying, veggie-packed lunch that helps repurpose leftovers (five days).
- Dinner: Easy meals packed with summer veggies that can be prepped in advance, then just dropped on a sheet pan during the week (five days).
- Nutritional goals: No specific nutritional goals this week, although all meals are packed with a variety of seasonal summer produce.
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: Two people
- Prep Time: About 2 hours
- Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
- Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate. Cooking or reheating is required throughout the week, although it’s mostly hands-off and all the prep work is complete.
- Mix-and-Match Salad
This week’s shopping list relies on a mix of produce, dry and refrigerated pantry basics, and store-bought conveniences. Shop your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before setting foot in the store (or opening your grocery delivery app) to avoid adding items to the cart that you already have on hand. I also used staple ingredients like olive and vegetable oils, kosher salt, and black pepper that are not listed here.
- Produce: 1 pint blueberries, 1 medium zucchini, 1 medium yellow squash, 1 medium lemon, 1 head garlic, 1 small bunch fresh parsley, 1 small bunch fresh rosemary, 1 medium bunch fresh basil, 1 pound medium red potatoes, 1 bunch asparagus, 4 medium bell peppers (any color), 2 pints cherry tomatoes, 3 small red onions, 1 pound French green beans, 2 ounces cremini mushrooms, 1 medium English cucumber, 1 bunch radishes, 1 head butter lettuce, 1 bag arugula
- Refrigerated & frozen: 5 cups milk of choice; 20 ounces plain Greek yogurt; 1 pound fresh, shelf-stable, or frozen potato gnocchi; Parmesan; 1 pound pizza dough; 12 ounces ricotta cheese; 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pantry: 5 cups old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey, 2 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds, 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 cans chickpeas, bottled salad dressing
- Meat & seafood: 4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon filets, 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done
- Cook Italian chicken. While the oven heats to 425°F, prep the following ingredients: Trim 1 pound green beans (if necessary), cut 1 red onion into 1/2-inch wedges, mince 2 garlic cloves, and cut 1 1/2 pound boneless chicken thighs into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Place on a rimmed baking sheet with the cherry tomatoes, olives, olive oil, and salt; toss to combine. Roast until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Prep vegetables. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables for the week’s meals. For the Sheet Pan Salmon: Mince 2 garlic cloves and chop fresh parsley leaves until you have 2 tablespoons, and place in a small container in the refrigerator. Trim the ends from 1 bunch asparagus and store in the refrigerator. For the Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Veggies: Core, seed, and cut 2 bell peppers into 1-inch chunks; cut 1 red onion into 1-inch chunks; smash 4 garlic cloves; and coarsely chop 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For the Farmers Market Pizza: Cut 1/2 small zucchini and 1/2 small yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch-thick half moons; core, seed, and thinly slice 1/2 red bell pepper; thinly slice 1/2 small red onion; and thinly slice 2 ounces stemmed cremini mushrooms. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For the lunch salad: Core, seed, and chop the remaining 1 1/2 bell peppers; trim and chop 1 English cucumber; trim and slice 1 bunch radishes; and thinly slice the remaining 1/2 red onion. Store together in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Core and chop 1 head butter lettuce, and roughly chop the remaining parsley leaves. Toss together with 1 bag baby arugula and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse 2 cans chickpeas and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Assemble overnight oats. Grate the remaining 1/2 zucchini and yellow squash using the largest holes on a box grater over a clean kitchen towel or a few pieces of paper towel. Gather up the edges of the towel and squeeze the liquid from the zucchini and squash. Add the shredded zucchini and squash to a large bowl with 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 5 cups unsweetened milk of choice, 2 1/2 cups unsweetened plain yogurt of choice, 1 pint blueberries, 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey, 3 tablespoons chia seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and stir to combine. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
- Monday through Friday, Blueberry-Zucchini Overnight Oats: Each morning give the oats a good stir, and dish up a couple of portions. If you like a good crunchy topping, sprinkle with your favorite toasted nuts and/or seeds.
- Monday and Wednesday, Summer Salad with Chickpeas: Each day, divide a couple handfuls of the prepped greens between two bowls, top with chopped vegetables and chickpeas, and drizzle with dressing.
- Tuesday, Summer Salad with Leftover Salmon: Divide a couple handfuls of the prepped greens between two bowls, top with chopped vegetables and leftover salmon, and drizzle with dressing.
- Thursday and Friday, Summer Salad with Leftover Italian Chicken: Each day, divide a couple handfuls of the prepped greens between two bowls, top with chopped vegetables and about half of the leftover chicken and green beans, and drizzle with dressing.
- Monday, Sheet Pan Crispy Salmon and Potatoes: Stir together chopped garlic and parsley with lemon juice and olive oil, and marinate the salmon for about 10 minutes in the fridge while the oven heats up. Add the salmon, potatoes, and prepped asparagus to a rimmed baking sheet and broil until the salmon is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Tuesday, Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies: Add the gnocchi and prepped vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, toss to combine, and slide into the oven. Dinner is ready in about 20 minutes. Top with chopped fresh basil and Parm. Eat half tonight and refrigerate the remainder for later in the week.
- Wednesday, Sheet Pan Italian Chicken: Dinner is already cooked and just needs reheating. Place about half of the Italian chicken and veggies on a rimmed baking sheet and warm in the oven until heated through, about 10 minutes. Divide between plates, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and chopped fresh basil, and dig in.
- Thursday, Leftover Gnocchi and Veggies: Reheat the leftover gnocchi and vegetables on a sheet pan in the oven just until heated through, about 8 minutes. Divide between bowls, top with chopped fresh basil and Parmesan, and dig in.
- Friday, Farmers Market Pizza: Remove the pizza dough from the fridge 1 to 2 hours before you plan to assemble the pizza (it’ll be much easier to work with). While the oven heats up, mix together the cheese mixture, roll the dough, and assemble the pizza on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 16 to 20 minutes.
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.