Ohhhh, how I love a good meal prep session!
It totally satisfies my type-A, hyper-organized brain.
I love taking some time, once or twice a week, to get all (or at least the majority) of our weekly meals planned out and prepped. It is one of my favorite things to do, actually! There is something so satisfying about meal planning, grocery list making (I love lists!), and the accomplishment I feel when I get ahead of the game with my prep. Because come Wednesday, the last thing I feel like doing is cooking a meal from scratch. Truth.
Am I weird?
Even if your answer to that is “yes,” haha, you’ll thank me if you try today’s recipe! Healthy chicken taco bowls! With most of the prep done ahead! Woo hoo!
I like to make a big batch of taco-spiced chicken, shred it up, and then use it in these bowls (or on top of salads!) all week long. If you scroll down to the recipe below, you’ll also see that I’ve included a slow-cooker method for the chicken as well. I make this chicken ALL.THE.TIME and can confirm that both methods work like a charm.
I love the slow-cooker method when our weekends are really packed and I don’t have time to cook/babysit the chicken on the stovetop. I just throw everything in the slow cooker and go on with life. When I check back in, I have delicious, taco-spiced chicken all ready to go. If that doesn’t count as winning at life, then I don’t know what does!
While the chicken is cooking, I’ll cook some rice and quickly sauté some bell peppers and onions to go in the bowls. Both easy. Both quick steps. Then, if I’m packing everything up to be enjoyed later, I’ll cool everything to room temperature and divide things into meal prep containers (or larger single containers – it really depends on what our week looks like).
When it’s time to eat, I put all the goods together in a bowl and do the happy dance. Because dinner is done. And it is DELICIOUS. Cook once, eat all week! That’s meal planning in all its glory.
Each bowl gets a scoop of cooked rice, some shredded taco chicken, and some peppers and onions. Then, because we’re thinking like a taco here (always!), I top off the warm goods with a refreshing mix of chopped romaine lettuce (shredded cabbage is an awesome alternative), tomatoes, scallions, and some pickled jalapeños. If I have any ripe avocado on hand, that goes in the mix too! Just like I would top off a taco! All of the veggies get prepped ahead – just like the other components – and are ready to go right into the bowls.
In fact, if you look in my fridge most weeks, you’ll see stacks of glass containers filled with all our dinner components. It takes up room, but it’s so worth it.
But no taco is complete without a creamy component, right?
I whisk together a mix of Greek yogurt, ranch dressing, and fresh lime juice. It’s like a ranchy lime crema, and I want to drizzle it on EVERYTHING. It’s so tangy and creamy and just what the bowls need. I really think they are incomplete without it. Dan isn’t the biggest fan of citrus flavors (he’s crazy), and he LOVES the lime punch this adds. It kind of livens everything up.
If you’re like me and LOVE citrus, serve these with an extra lime wedge on the side. Not only do I douse things generously in the tangy crema, but I give everything a healthy spritz of fresh lime juice too. Totally makes it!
I love meal prep dinners like this one. I can feel good about what we’re eating (it’s all healthy!), I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen every night, and dinner is DELICIOUS (the most important part, right?!). One of the most asked questions I get about blogging is “how do you find the time to cook all that food and STILL live a normal life?”
And meal prepping has A LOT to do with it. We all lead busy lives. Why not take a short cut every now and then?
Especially when it results in TACO BOWLS.
For the Chicken:
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- A couple teaspoons of olive oil
For the Bowls:
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- Cooked brown rice
- Sauteed onions and bell peppers
- Shredded lettuce
- Chopped tomatoes
- Chopped scallions
- Sliced avocado
For the Chicken:
- Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan large enough for them all to fit in an even, single layer.
- Season them liberally with salt and pepper and then cover them with water. You want the water to cover them completely by about an inch.
- Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat so the water is simmering. Cook for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breasts.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the water, allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing or shredding. Drain the water from the pot and return it to the stovetop.
- Once all the chicken is shredded, add it back to the pot with a drizzle of oil (maybe 1 teaspoon or so) and the spices. Toss to evenly coat everything and then turn the heat on low.
- Cook until everything is warmed through and the spices are aromatic. Keep warm if you are serving right away, or cool to room temperature and then pack up in airtight containers for later use.
For the Bowls:
- In a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, ranch dressing, and yogurt. Season, to taste, with a little salt.
- In serving bowls, layer brown rice, the shredded taco chicken, and sauteed peppers and onions.
- Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and scallions. Top with avocado slices. Drizzle with the lime ranch sauce and serve. Alternatively, if you are eating later, cool everything to room temperature, assemble in airtight containers, and keep in the fridge.
Slow-Cooker Method for the Chicken:
- Place the chicken breasts in your slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the spices and salt. Sprinkle evenly over the chicken.
- Add ¼ cup of chicken broth (or water) to the pot and then cover. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- Shred the chicken right in the crock pot and keep warm until you are ready to serve.