Family Meal Prep Ideas for Beginners

It can be tough to cook for an entire family, especially if you have picky eaters. Meal prepping can significantly help take the stress out of cooking and make sure everyone gets a healthy meal. 

If you’re short of time, consider a meal prep delivery for the whole family. This will help you reduce your time in the kitchen and spend it more with your loved ones. In case you love to cook, this guide is for you.

Let’s check how to batch cooking for a big family while still making yummy meals.

How Do You Make Batch Cooking for an Entire Family?

Here are some tips for family meal prep:

  1. Plan your prepped meals ahead. Think over what you're going to batch cook for the week, and make a grocery list. Planning meals ahead will help you save time and money.
  2. Make big batches. Cooking once and eating all week long will save you loads of time in the kitchen.
  3. Get the entire family involved. Ask everyone to enroll and help with the meal prep. This will make it more fun and help the process go faster.
  4. Be flexible. Don't be afraid to change up your plans if someone doesn't like what you're making or if you run out of time. Just do your best and remember that family meal time is about spending time together, not perfection.

Having it all is not so easy. Modern life is so busy with family, work, and school. Meal prepping might be the best way to pen in some me-time on your schedule.

8 Big Family Meal Prep Ideas for Beginners

Family Meal Prep

1. Barbecue Pork and Penne Skillet

This yummy dish is easy to make and can be served as-is or with a side of veggies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of premium pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bottle (18 ounces) of barbecue sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of diced tomatoes
  • 1 package (16 ounces) of penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, cook pork over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
  2. Stir in barbecue sauce, tomatoes, and pasta. Bring the pork to a boil.
  3. Then reduce heat.
  4. Simmer the BBQ pork, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in cheese until melted.

2. Homemade Chicken Pizza

This is a family favorite that's easy to make and can be customized to everyone's liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 prebaked 12-inch pizza crust
  • 1/2 cup of pizza sauce
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup of sliced pepperoni
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green peppers
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onions

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Place crust on a greased 12-inch pizza pan; spread with sauce.
  2. Sprinkle with cheese, chicken, pepperoni, peppers, and onions.
  3. Bake the chicken pizza for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.

3. Skillet Lasagna

This family dish is hearty and filling and can be made ahead of time and frozen for later.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) of crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (6 ounces) of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) of shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, cook beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink; drain.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring the beef to a boil.
  3. Then reduce heat. 
  4. Simmer the lasagna uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Spread 3/4 cup of meat sauce into a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Layer with six noodles and half of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers.
  7. Cover and bake the lasagna at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until lasagna is tender and cheese is melted.

4. Cheese Quesadillas

Cheese Quesadillas

These quesadillas are simple to make and can be customized with your family's favorite toppings.

Ingredients:

  • 10 flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of salsa
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream

Directions:

  1. Place five tortillas on greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with remaining tortillas.
  2. Bake the quesadillas at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Cut each into six wedges. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

5. Slow-Cooker Pasta e Fagioli

This dish for the whole family is easy to make and can be served with a side of bread or salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) of crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 8 ounces of uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Use a 6-quart slow cooker and combine all ingredients except ditalini and Parmesan. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until beef is no longer pink.
  2. Stir in pasta. Cook the pasta e Fagioli covered on high for 30 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
  3. Sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Serve the slow-cooker pasta with a side of bread or salad.

6. Beef Fajitas

These beef fajitas are easy to make and can be served with tortillas, rice, and beans.

Marinade ingredients:

  • 1 pound of flank steak
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of salsa
  • 1/4 cup of water

Toppings:

  • 10 flour tortillas (6 inches), warmed
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped

Directions:

  1. Use your large resealable bag and combine marinade ingredients. Seal the cooking bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate the marinade for at least 4 hours.
  2. Drain and discard the marinade.
  3. Grill the flank steak covered over medium heat. Alternatively, broil 4 inches from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness. Thinly slice steak across the grain.
  4. For each fajita, place 1/2 cup of beef down the center of a tortilla.
  5. Top with 1 tablespoon of sour cream, 1 tablespoon of cheese, and 2 tablespoons of tomato.
  6. Fold the bottom up over the filling. Serve immediately.

7. Tomato Soup

This creamy tomato soup is easy to make and can be served with grilled cheese or crackers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 cans (14.5 ounces each) of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Use your large saucepan and heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender. 
  2. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, sugar, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomato sauce and parsley. Simmer the tomato soup for 5 minutes longer or until heated through.
  5. Serve with grilled cheese or crackers.

8. No-Bake Brownies

These brownies are easy to make for the whole family and don't require any baking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Use your large bowl and combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar.
  2. Press the brownie dough into a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips over low heat; stir in milk until smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Pour over the crust.
  4. Cover and refrigerate the brownies for 2 hours or until firm.
  5. Cut into bars.

Conclusion

These are some of the best family meal prep ideas for beginners. Batch cooking is a great way to cook in advance for the whole family. These meal prep ideas are easy to make, and they taste good. They will help your surprise your loved ones with new yummies.