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Quick Meal Prep: Prep 5 Healthy Dinners in 1 Hour for Under $100

Aug 13, 2021 | Meal Planning | 0 comments

Quick Meal Prep Meal Plan

Want quick meal prep ideas? Get step-by-step instructions on how to prep 5 dinners in 1 hour, plus a free meal prep meal plan download!

Key Takeaways

  • Homemade dinners don't have to be complicated. Our Prep Dish Super Fast meal plans help you prep 5 dinners in 1 hour to make family meals easy.
  • Meal prep doesn't have to take all day. Even just chopping your veggies and making a sauce or salad dressing goes a long way toward less stressful weeknights.
  • Prepping 5 meals in 1 hour means you have quick, dinners to finish off each weeknight, making weeknight family dinners totally doable.
  • Make sure to scroll down to get your free copy of the meal prep meal plan we talk about here so you can try our quick meal prep approach for yourself!

As a mom of 3, entrepreneur and generally busy human, I understand the need for quick meal prep.

That's why I decided last spring to offer weekly “Super Fast” menus to all Prep Dish subscribers.

What are Super Fast menus? They're meal prep meal plans that enable you to prep 5 (delicious) healthy dinners in just 1 hour. Many people say they actually take less than an hour to prep!

5 meals in 1 hour? How exactly does that work? What do the meals look like? And how are they budget-wise? I'm sharing all of the details with you today.

Quick Meal Prep – What's included?

Here's an overview of what we're going to prep today, all using a Prep Dish meal prep meal plan:

Meals: 5 Healthy Dinners
# People: 4
Time Required: 1 Hour
Cost*: <$100

(*Reflects grocery costs at the time this post was written, in 2021)

Unlike our other meal plans (Gluten Free, Paleo and Low Carb), Super Fast menus don't follow a specific diet. As a dietitian and lover of healthy food though, I can assure you they are nutrient-dense, produce-heavy balanced meals. You can also easily make them gluten free by choosing gluten free pasta/ bread when relevant. I do this all of the time for my own family!

Our Super Fast menus also usually include one vegetarian meal. If that's not your thing, you can easily add your favorite animal protein. I always include tips for adding more protein to our vegetarian meals in the weekly subscriber newsletter. And if you do love plant-based meals, we always offer vegetarian substitution ideas for all Gluten Free, Paleo and Super Fast meals in our weekly subscriber newsletters!

5 Dinners 1 Hour, $100 – What's on the menu?

Meal Prep Meal Plan Menu

These meals are from one of our March Super Fast menus. I'd love for you to try it out so I'm actually including the whole meal plan, with an organized grocery list and meal prep instructions, as a free download! Just scroll to the bottom of this post and click the button to download.

Meal Prep Grocery List

On to the food!

Here's an outline of the groceries needed for today's meal prep, along with the prices.

A couple of notes on prices:

  • These are based on a Kroger in Texas in 2021, when this post was originally written.
  • I included all items other than salt and pepper, so your total will almost certainly be lower. You likely have olive oil, balsamic, garlic powder, butter, etc. but I included them just in case.
  • Grocery prices include the price for an entire package (e.g., a whole package of butter, a whole bottle of heavy cream), not just the price for the amounts you'll actually use.

If you'd like to see the format of our meal prep grocery lists, check out this post (or scroll to the bottom of this page to download your free meal plan with meal prep grocery list included!)


  • Garlic ($0.33)
  • 8 oz Sliced Mushrooms ($2.29)
  • 1 Yellow Onion ($0.62)
  • 1 Bunch Carrots ($0.79)
  • 1 Bunch Celery ($1.39)
  • 4 Russet Potatoes ($2.72)
  • 4 Red Potatoes ($2.06)
  • 2 Cups Green Beans ($1.79)
  • 5 oz Baby Kale ($3.49)
  • 5 oz Arugula ($3.49)
  • 2 Pears ($1.96)


  • 4 Uncooked Turkey Burger Patties ($4.99)
  • 1# Sirloin Steak ($12.09)
  • 8 oz Precooked Ham ($4.25)
  • 4 Salmon Fillets, Skin On, 4-6 oz Each ($7.99)

Dairy (Always Optional on All Prep Dish Meal Plans Except Keto):

  • Goat Cheese Crumbles ($4.98)
  • 4 Slices Provolone ($2.00)
  • Grass-Fed Butter ($3.99)
  • Heavy Cream ($1.99)

Pantry & Freezer:

  • 1/2 Cup Walnut Halves ($5.99)
  • 10 oz Frozen Chopped Spinach ($1.00)
  • Quinoa ($3.99)
  • 45 oz Chicken Broth ($2.78)
  • 4 Hamburger Buns (OR Sub GF or Lettuce Wraps) ($3.49)
  • Garlic Powder (1.00)
  • Dried Thyme ($2.99)
  • Dried Oregano ($1.00)
  • Olive Oil ($6.99)
  • Balsamic Vinegar ($5.99)

Pre-Tax Total = $97.91

That's all we need to prep 5 meals in 1 hour!

On to The Quick and Easy Meal Prep!

Are you ready to prep 5 dinners in 1 hour?

When you go into a meal prep session, you might think about prepping one meal at a time. So you might do everything you need to prep the Salmon w/ Quinoa before moving onto the Turkey Burgers.

With my meal prep meal plans though, I instead break it down in the most efficient way possible. So, for example, I always start my meal prep with anything that needs to cook for a long time, in this case, the potatoes. Then I generally prep all of my produce so I don't have to keep going back and forth to my cutting board.

Here's the play-by-play for exactly how this quick and easy meal prep session will go:

1. Bake Potatoes: preheat oven to 375F and bake russet potatoes for 1 hour.

Bonus Tip: For all of our meal prep meal plans, we make sure everything bakes at the same temperature for your meal prep session. That way you're never left waiting for something to finish cooking before you can put something else in the oven. These little efficiencies really add up!

2. Cook the Quinoa while the potatoes are baking.

3. Prep the Produce: Chop an onion, chop carrots and celery, chop garlic and chop the green beans.

4. Prep the Meat: Cut sirloin into bite-size pieces, cut ham into 1/2 inch cubes.

5. Make Spice Mixes & Dressings: Mix spices for the Herbed Steak Bites and make the balsamic dressing for the Quinoa Salad.

And that's it! With just this little bit of meal prep, you'll have 5 prepped healthy dinners requiring very little effort the night you plan to serve.

Dish Day: Finishing These Quick and Easy Family Dinners

Quick and Easy Family Dinners Quinoa Salad

So what does a weeknight look like once you have these meals prepped? Here's exactly what you'll need to do to finish cooking these meals and serve to your family.

Monday: Seared Salmon w/ Quinoa, Spinach & Goat Cheese

  • Reheat half the quinoa and stir in frozen spinach and half of goat cheese crumbles. Season with salt.
  • Season salmon with salt & pepper and sear in a pan with olive oil.

Tuesday: Mushroom Turkey Burgers w/ Carrot & Celery Sticks

  • Sauté mushrooms in olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Sprinkle turkey patties with S&P and grill 4-5 minutes per side (until 165 F).
  • Top burgers with mushrooms and optional provolone. Enjoy on burger buns or lettuce wraps. Serve with carrot & celery sticks.

Wednesday: Herbed Steak Bites w/ Baked Potatoes & Sauteed Kale

  • Preheat oven to 375F and reheat potatoes (or heat in the microwave)
  • Sprinkle steak bites with the spice mix and cook in butter & olive oil over medium-high heat for ~2 minutes per side.
  • In a separate pan, sauté baby kale in olive oil, sprinkling with salt.
  • Serve steak bites w/ baked potatoes and kale.

Thursday: Slow Cooker Ham & Vegetable Soup

  • Dice 4 red potatoes.
  • Add the following to the slow cooker: chopped onions, chopped carrots, chopped celery, chopped garlic, 4 diced potatoes, chopped green beans, 45oz broth, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp thyme.
  • Cook on low ~4-5 hours or until potatoes are softened. Stir in ham in the last 30 mins of cook time.
  • Option to stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream before serving to make a cream soup. 

Friday: Quinoa Salad w/ Arugula, Pears & Walnuts

  • Allow the balsamic dressing to come to room temperature.
  • Slice 2 pears.
  • Divide quinoa into 4 bowls and top each with arugula, pears, walnuts & goat cheese. Toss with balsamic.

And there you have it! With just 1 hour of meal prep, you can have quick and easy family dinners all week, without the constant stress of wondering what's for dinner.

If you'd like to try out this meal plan for yourself, just click below to download for free! And don't forget, if you'd like meal prep meal plans just like this one sent to you every week so you can prep 5 meals in 1 hour, you can sign up for a free trial for Prep Dish here!

FAQ – Everything You Want to Know about Quick Meal Prep

What is the easiest meal prep?

The easiest meal prep in my opinion is to wash and chop your produce right after you get your groceries. It's simple and doesn't require any special recipes.

Is meal prepping for 5 days safe?

Yes! Meal prepping for 5 days is safe but you do need to keep an eye on how long certain items sit in the fridge. At Prep Dish, we do that for you. For instance, we may recommend you stick certain items in the freezer after prepping to make sure they stay fresh and safe to eat.

You can check out our Prep Dish Fresh Guide for guidance on how long various items last in the fridge.

Why prep 5 meals in 1 hour? Why not 7?

I find that most families don't realistically need 7 dinners prepped each week. Most families rely on either a restaurant meal, leftovers, or a family favorite for a couple of days each week. That said, you can easily double a recipe for an extra dinner. I do this ALL of the time for easy, healthy lunches. It takes very little extra time to prep 7 meals versus 5 meals if you do it this way.

What is the fastest way to meal prep?

The fastest way to meal prep is to use an efficient meal prep meal plan. Our Prep Dish meal plans lay out exactly what you need to do to quickly and efficiently prep your week's meals.

Is 5 dinners in 1 hour really possible?

Absolutely! I know because I personally use our Super Fast meal plans, which allow you to prep 5 dinners in just an hour, almost every week.

Want More Tips on Meal Prep & Quick Meal Prep Ideas?

Easy Weekly Meal Prep

Here are a few of my favorite resources full of meal prep tips and quick meal prep ideas:

Meal Planning Tips 101 – Prep Day

Meal Planning Tips 101 – Dish Day & Family Meal Time

Avoid These Mistakes While Meal Planning

The Best Meal Prep Containers

The Best 10 Foods for Gluten Free Meal Prep

Mix & Match Meal Prep Lunch Ideas

Super Fast Meal Plans (<< Short video with all the details!)

Beginner Menu Guide


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Allison Schaaf Chef, Prep Dish

Prep Dish is a gluten-free, paleo, and keto meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes. Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

Along with a weekly menu, you’ll get a printable grocery list and recipes for prep day — just one day of preparation yields scrumptious, good-for-you dishes all week long. Learn more…

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