You just got home from work, you’re starving, and you’re doing the ole ‘fridge stand-off’ waiting for ingredients to magically appear so you can transform them into a tasty meal. It’s almost enough to make you groan, reach for your phone, and open a takeout app. We’ve been there!
But, with just a little planning ahead and effort, dinner can be much faster than delivery. It’s all in the prep! It might sound like a lot of work, or like something that only people that frequent those fancy gyms do, but it’s really just a way of streamlining your cooking. Taking a little time upfront to prepare for the week will end up saving you time on weeknights, money spent on takeout, and calories in meals—and, you’ll have delicious and nutritious foods ready at home (bonus points for using beef).
Here are three easy ways to get ahead when making meals so you’re not caught in another ‘frozen in front of the fridge’ moment.
1. Minimal ingredients, multiple meals: Beef is all (okay, mostly) what you need.
With a big batch of beef as the star and a little support from mix-and-match ingredients, you’ll have multiple meals in a snap. Cook it once, and you can easily transform it with different sides into multiple dinners. With flavorful beef gracing the main stage, each meal is a winner.
Sweet Peas & Saffron’s Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Beef is a great recipe to start with. Cook the beef on the weekend to avoid the ‘Sunday Scaries’ when it comes to what to eat that week. You can prep your veggies while your beef is simmering, so everything is at hand when you’re ready for it. Once all of the ingredients are prepped and ready to go, you can enjoy tasty dishes like tacos, beef rice bowls, and Asian-inspired pulled beef sandwiches throughout the week in no time.
Load these ingredients right into your favorite grocery shopping list app for your next trip to the store:
2. Slice and dice your veggies, pre-cook your beef.
You don’t have to start from scratch every time you want to cook. By setting aside a little time and getting all the slicing and dicing of your fruits and vegetables done at once, it’s a lot less work to prepare a meal when you want to eat (or snack). Think of it as a little gift for your future self. By dedicating just 20 minutes after your grocery store trip to chopping, you will save yourself a ton of time during those busy weeknights.
We love this method for things like stir fry and salad—dishes that come together quickly once all that chopping is done. But it’s also great for sheet pan meals or cooking with the Instapot—we love throwing everything in and being able to walk away! Here are three meals you can enjoy with beef (of course), and a few sliced and diced veggies:
Steak Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Prep the veggies and sear off the steak in advance for an easy-to-assemble dinner.
Sheet Pan Beef Fajitas
With chopping done in advance and one sheet pan to cook it all together, that means not only a quick dinner but super easy clean up — yay!
Beef and Broccoli
Better — and faster — than ordering in.
Here’s what you’ll need to add to your cart next time it’s time to grocery shop:
3. Make Mason jar meals (even better) with beef.
Drinking glass, cold brew storage, bulk pantry ingredient holder—mason jars are our favorite versatile container. Let’s add one more way to use them to the list: portable meal dish. With some meal prep right in the mason jar, it is the ultimate grab-and-go dish. We especially love these for work lunches. Dining al desko has never been so tasty.
These recipes encourage some culinary creativity, so swap out ingredients as you like. Just keep in mind that dressings always go at the bottom, with heartier ingredients next. Save those delicate mixed greens for the very top of the jar.
Big Mac Salad Jars
All the good burger fixings, without the bun.
Steak Salad in a Jar
A good cut of beef makes everything better, including this steakhouse-inspired salad.
Healthy Taco Salad in a Mason Jar
Beef, beans, cheese and greens—with a zesty taco dressing to top it off. (Well, it goes on the bottom, but you get what we mean!)
Here’s what you need from the store to prep tasty (and trendy) mason jar meals:
Ditch the delivery fees and conquer the week!
There are so many ways to meal prep— this is just a taste! No matter the method, a little planning and effort in advance will have you eating delicious beefy meals all week. These three ideas are a great place to start, and the handy grocery lists will have you in and out of the store in no time.
Tried one of the above methods or one of our recipes? Give us a shout out on social and we’ll feature your post! Happy eating!