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Meal-prep ideas perfect for those busy weekdays

Tara Rochford is registered dietitian nutritionist and healthy living blogger at Tara Rochford Nutrition

It’s the new year, and Tara is focusing on ways to set herself up for success in 2021. As a new mom, she is realizing how precious time really is, so doing simple things like planning meals ahead of time for the week and prepping a few ingredients or meal components helps save time so she has delicious and nutritious meals for her family all the time!

Egg Roll Bowl


  • 1 tablespoon garlic infused extra virgin olive oil, or 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
  • 3 ½ cups shredded cabbage (green or purple)
  • 3 carrots, grated/shredded
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup chopped green onions, garnish


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over  medium  heat. Add the ginger, sauteeing for about a minute. Add the cayenne, salt and ground chicken or turkey. Cook and break apart the meat until it is browned.
  2. Add the shredded cabbage and carrots. Gently toss for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp yet tender.
  3. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with green onions. 


Start with one meal: Focus mainly on dinner when planning and rely on leftovers for lunch or other things you typically have around the house.

Plan 4 meals for 7 days: This allows for real life to happen. You can support local and order takeout one night, you can have a “clean out the fridge night”, etc.

Consider what you have going on in your weekly schedule: When she plans their meals, she first starts by writing down what they have going on each day. If Brian has a meeting one night, she’ll probably just have leftovers for Marie and herself, if they have a doctor’s appointment or something else in the evening she will put dinner in the slow cooker. 

Plan only one new/elaborate/fancy meal a week: This will help you feel successful! Meal planning is supposed to make your life easier, and if you plan more than one new or fancy recipe each week, it will not feel easy.

Rochford has more tips for meal planning and prepping to set you up for success on her blog as well as a meal schedule template.

Chicken and Chickpea Tikka Masala


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons garlic infused extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin olive oil + 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 lb chicken breast,  cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup freeze-dried chives
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, low sodium, drained and rinsed
  • ½ lemon, juiced


  1. In a medium saucepan, cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat garlic infused olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken and chives to the pot and cook until golden on the outside for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, ginger, garam masala, smoked paprika, ground cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, salt, and pepper for about a minute or until fragrant. 
  4. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until it is slightly thickened. About 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and garbanzo beans until heated through. Squeeze the lemon over the top of the mixture and stir. 
  6. Serve with rice. 

You can find these recipes and more from her on her website, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.