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After months of experimenting, I've settled on a cooking habit that's near perfect: food that's healthy, delicious, relatively affordable, and quick to make. Every Sunday I spend ~2 hours cooking, and have all of my meals for the week prepared. While there are two basic meals—mini-frittatas and salads— variations in ingredients and snacks fill it out and add variety.

Here I'll describe what you'll need to make these meals, from supplies to a shopping list, as well as some recommendations on weekly variations.

UPDATES with responses to comments:

1) As a few of you have asked, this is meant to serve one person. I haven't tried to scale it to feed a family, and doing so may take up a lot of space in your fridge.

2) While it can be all of your meals for the week, I generally supplement it with snacks and and ever week or so a meal out.

3) This is also a very low-calorie meal plan, and can easily be supplement with high-calorie ingredients if you're not trying to lose weight. A loaf of bread would be an easy addition.

4) The salads do keep fresh all week (I keep them in sealed containers).

Step 1: Equipment

Because these meals are all pre-made, you'll likely have some of these supplies already. That being said, I do have a few recommendations of things that have worked particularly well.

  1. Silicone Cupcake Trays (2) Amazon
    • While you can bake these in metal trays, cleaning burt egg off of them is time consuming and gross. These will save you time and keep your mini-frittatas in good shape.
  2. Rubbermaid storage containers, 5 cup (8-10) Amazon
    • Great for storing prep ingredients while cooking, salads over the week, and general storage otherwise.
  3. Rubbermaid storage container, 14 cup (1) Amazon
    • Perfectly stores all 24 or your mini-frittatas
  4. Large Mason Jars (3) Amazon
    • Store your coffee for the week
  5. Giant bowl for mixing salads (1) Ikea

Step 2: Buy Your Groceries

I've narrowed down a neat shopping list for Trader Joe's, however substitute with whatever is locally available, affordable, and delicious.

Shopping List

  • Salad
    • Romain Lettuce (1 bag)
    • Iceberg Lettuce (1 head)
    • Mushrooms (1 bag)
    • Broccoli Florets (1 bag)
    • Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Carrots mix(1 bag)
    • Almonds (1 bag, you'll use 1/3 per recipe)
    • Bell Peppers (3)
    • Salad Dressing

  • Mini-Frittatas
    • Eggs (3 dozen)
    • Milk (1 gallon)
    • Feta Cheese
    • Sausages (3 packs, 12 sausages total)
    • Onion (1)
  • Snacks
    • Strawberries (as many as you want)
    • Apples (as many as you want)
    • Pickles (1 jar)
    • Cottage Cheese (as much as you'll eat)

Step 3: Chop and Prep All Ingredient

Because there will be ingredient crossover between your salads and frittatas, chop everything immediately. This is the most time consuming part of the process, but rarely takes more than 30 minutes.

Step 4: Prepare the Frittatas for Baking

1. Set the oven to 350F.

2. Grease the silicon cupcake pans. I use a brush and olive oil, but you can have good results with butter as well. Set the silicon cupcake pans on top of metal baking sheets, as they'll bend and spill your eggs otherwise.

3. Fill each cup with bell-peppers, onion, sausage, and broccoli— ratios to your taste. Sprinkle feta on top.

4.Scramble 20 eggs in a bowl, add .25 cups milk, and slowly pour the egg mixture on top of your frittata ingredients.

5. Once each cup is filled, but both trays in the over. They generally take 30 minutes to bake, but I recommend checking after 20 min to be safe. Keep baking until they can be poked with a fork, leave no egg residue, and are clearly left together.

Step 5: Mix Salad, Separate Into Containers

Sprinkle feta on top when you're done!

Step 6: Store Coffee

Once your coffee has finished, pour it into your mason jars along with whatever mixture of cream and sugar you enjoy.

Step 7: Meals

From this base of ingredients, there are a few solid meals.

  • Basic Breakfast, Cook time: 1 min
    • (3) mini-frittatas (1 min in microwave)
    • Coffee
  • Fancy Breakfast, Cook time: 5 min
    • (1) salad
    • Dressing
    • (1) sausage
    • (3) eggs (over easy)
  • Basic Lunch, Cook time: ~1 min
    • (1) Salad
    • (1) Sausage (1:15 microwave)
  • Light Lunch
    • Cottage Cheese with
      • Strawberries
      • Almonds
    • (1) Apple
  • Late night snacks
    • Pickles
    • Strawberries
<p>Good idea and healthy meal. Thanks for this quick recipe.</p>
<p>lovely idea , I will make it next week! thanks~ </p>
<p>I'm always on the look out for quick and easy meals.</p>
Perfect for my college son! Thanks for sharing.
<p>Seems this trend is rising these days. Weight lifters typically follow this type of meal structure. Although it tends to be a little more spartan than the above :) <br><br>Mine is compromised of boiled chicken breasts, carrots, radishes, and celery. I eat this every day at work, and split it into 4 meals throughout the work day.<br><br>Dinner is always the same; chicken, coleslaw, celery chopped (I pretend they're croutons), hot sauce, mustard.<br><br>Lunch I make for the week, the dinner I make each night.</p>
A very good idea for people living alone like myself. I make just enough for when I come home and need something quick and light to eat. **double thumbs up**
<p>Sorry; too much meat and dairy; not healthy. Switch out to tofu, beans, brown rice, and other healthy choices and I'm in. Don't forget salads in a mason jar with the dressing at the bottom. Invert jar to your bowl and it dresses itself.</p>
<p>12 sausages, a gallon of milk, and three dozen eggs in a week! Healthy? I don't think so!!!</p>
<p>Other than the sausages, a gallon of milk and three dozen eggs is probably fine. You can always use chicken sausage or cook your own chicken/turkey instead. You can eat 5 eggs a day easily and it is quite healthy and satiating. I asked my doctor if this is true, who graduated from Harvard Medical School. He approved.</p>
<p>same as recipe here???</p><p>http://cliffits.com/2015/04/7-days-of-healthy-food-made-in-only-2-hours/</p>
<p>I was just reading your blog and found so many interesting recipes that looks great. I have a book in Amazon which is a cookbook with healthy diet conscious recipes you can make in advance and then heat up for lunch or dinner. If you are interested in I can send a copy of the book. Further I would love to talk to you about an offer that would allow you to give something free to your community of users.You can reach me at jesse@carbcycle.net or just go to either of the book sites: www.carbcycle.net and www.fitrecipe.net.</p>
<p>Came out really good, now I don't have to worry about lunch for a week :).</p>
<p>Made it yesterday with small changes (like some chicken instead of sausages). It took me 2.5 hours without coffee making (because I like making my espresso in the morning :) )</p><p>Half in the fridge, half frozen.</p><p>I don't want to be bored eating almost the same thing all the week so I will try other recipes and try to mix 2 or 3 recipes a week.</p>
lovly recipies all food yummy appetiser
<p>Would the mini-frittatas freeze well? </p>
<p>It's interesting, but...no dinner?</p>
<p>thank you this is a great idea </p>
<p>I will give this a try in a smaller scale... not for a full week. And definitely not making coffee in advance! That's just wrong and disgusting. ;)</p>
<p>It does sound like a great way to have some fast food in the house rather than going to rotten ronnies or somewhere else. </p>
<p>....and a week old coffee! Yuck! Coffee needs to be drunk immediately it's brewed.</p>
<p>I love this and a good idea. I use to make Frittatas, muffin style years ago with different ingredients and freeze them. I think it's time to do this again. Your right this is the basic or should I say the foundation for breakfast and lunch plus it's healthy. You can also add your own variations. I may try to do a few meals like this for dinner. Then again there called leftover, however, you can put them in separate containers. YUM!</p>
<p>As a grad student with a fianc&eacute; working in 2 jobs, this fits like a glove to me. We have a shopping mall right next to the University, but having lunch every day at their food court is too expensive, specially if you want to eat fresh healthy stuff (not mentioning the food at the Uni cafeteria for obvious reasons, ewwww). Will try this for sure.</p>
<p>I am an old widower living on the Kenya coast where salad in a jar would just not work. But I do something similar, when cooking. Eat modest portions and freeze the remainder. Nothing new about that. But as I only have a light supper in the evening - usually just a bowl of soup. So one bout of soup cooking fills 4 or more 200 ml plastic cups and is frozen. Left-overs from lunch are turned into soup. Cups are discarder after one use, for safety sake. Lost 9 kg in a 12 month.</p>
<p>OMG I'd eat my way through the week's worth by no later then Tuesday noon! Prisoners in super max facilities would have grounds for cruel and punishment.</p><p>LOL just kidding. I flunked Weight Watchers and OA is just to depressing.</p>
<p>i am implementing the same system, cooking once a week, but with fully cooked meals. i would make one soup and 2-3 main dishes, the kind that keeps well in the fridge ( ragout, home made spaghetti sauce, stuffed peppers, meatloaf, and especially one roast, be it pork or beef, etc). one main dish would be only 3/4 cooked, i would finish it when intended to serve. i am starting at least 3 dishes in the same time, as usually you need almost the same vegetables prepped, so you clean and chop for all 3 in the same time and in the pots they go !</p><p>cooked rice keeps very well for a week, or refrigerates beautifully in small boxes. cooked potatoes (whole, not peeled) keep in plastic bags for 4-5 days. blanched cauliflower, beans or broccoli as well. all veggies for salads keep well in plastic bags when washed and chopped, with the exception of salads, which is the only thing you would have to do for dinner, while the meals are warming up.</p><p>saved me a lot of time as a working mother :) and i keep doing it even now while retired. takes a bit of planning ahead, but you appreciate it later in the week.</p>
<p>Great ideas!Thanks for the information.</p><p>My daughter stores her salad in a salad spinner and it keeps it fresh all week. </p>
<p>If it were just me, this would totally work. (Although I would need to plan for evening meals as well...) But my husband would never go for this kind of monotony. However, I'm always trying to come up with ways to make sure we have quick and easy food on hand for when I'm not up to cooking so we aren't tempted to eat fast food or order pizza! I'm thinking if I did a different set of add-ins for each pan of frittatas so there are several different flavors, I could freeze them for occasional eating in this way. I find that even though everybody right now is crazy over the pre-made mason jar salads and is claiming you can make a week of them in advance, by day 4 they are not so fresh-seeming to me, but I'm okay with making salads twice a week and having them for lunch each day.</p><p>Thanks for the ideas!</p>
I love this!!! Thanks for sharing!!! Sunday prep is the Bain of my existence, but as they say... Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail!!! You rock!! Thanks
<p>Liking this idea.... Going to test this soon-ish because having 3 kids and only one car makes the daily routine a little bit frantic when it comes down to meals.</p>
<p>You legend. I'm always looking for ways to spend less time cooking and also still eat healthily. And I love jars!</p>
<p>Doesnt the Lettuce get kind of wilty or funky by Thursday/Friday?</p>
<p>Put the lettuce/salad mix in mason jars instead of Tupperware. It will easily last a week at a time! </p>
<p>Are these quantities intended for one person?</p>
<p>it is not so healthy to cook in microwave oven ...</p>
<p>Microwave cooking is fine. Microwaves are non ionizing. They are relatively long waves (i.e. more toward radio waves in energy) far from the spectrum of short highly energetic waves like UV or Xray. They're effective at cooking because they agitate polar molecules, especially water.</p>
<p>REALLY??....Explain why not....</p>
<p>This is really great, I have been doing something similar for the last two years, and its a real time saver! (Although I only cook my supper in this manner). I would make anything from three to four dishes per week, then there is enough variety to keep it interesting!</p><p>Things I have learned.. </p><p>1. Its sometimes good to freeze the last day or two meals, as they sometimes go off or are not so fresh anymore (so I usually make salads fresh)</p><p>2. I sometimes try and cook a different nationality of food per week to keep things interesting!</p><p>3. I started just using my stove top to heat my food instead of a microwave. Its not so bad. Only takes 5 mins.</p><p>4. Don`t cook during meal times on Sunday, because flatmates sometimes get tempted and think your cooking them a nice Sunday meal ;-)! Or the kitchen might get a bit overcrowded. (That is if your living with other people)</p><br>
<p>GREAT!... I have been looking for something like this... Double plus good...</p>
I would love to know the calories/macros of the frittatas
<p>How does the salad hold up?? I would assume that the last few days the lettece is not as crisp. </p>
<p>A nice way to keep a make-ahead salad fresh and with crispy greens is to put the ingredients in mason jars, then storing it in a frigde.<br><br>You can check here http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-pack-the-perfect-salad-in-a-jar-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-192174, but basicly you put wet and heavy ingredients first, beans, grains and cheese later and bite-size sliced greens (washed and well dried) on top. <br><br>Just make sure the jar dosen't turn upide down and you're fine, =)</p>
<p>The problem is that it won't taste fresh, this is even more true with fruits/vegetables :(.Do you know how to overcome this problem? (Freezing only works with some food)</p>
<p>This is a life saver, I am homeboynd due to an accident.</p><p>Meal planning and shopping is a NIGHTMARE</p>
<p>Thank you so much for this nice Instructable.</p><p>Rima</p>
<p>Such a time saver, thanks!</p>
<p>Great instructable, lazy/occupied people will love it. I could prepare this just once per moth since twice would get boring. It is just to be creative and prepare different meals along the month. Good job!!!</p>
<p>this is what I needed thanks a lot</p>
<p>Love your food style!! Thanks for this incredible information :D</p>
<p>I definitely need to start making these mini frittatas in that quantity. Would save me so much time during the week! Thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>Yes I love this. Great Instructable. I have done this - and always on Sundays - but not fully. I am working on getting a system setup so it is all done for the week. It helps to make things in bulk - large amounts of food and freeze or refridg. them. I also got a book called &quot;freezer meals&quot; you may like. It is similar to your post in that you are prepping your food so you can grab it, heat it and go. :) </p>

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