One Protein, Many Meals

The Food Marketing Institute promotes September as Family Meals Month and uses it to remind us of the importance of gathering family around the table to connect, chat and enjoy a nutritious meal. But, let’s be honest, September is also all about busy evenings, trying to grasp a new, demanding school schedule, and realizing that you only thought you were done back-to-school shopping. So how can we manage all that and still get dinner on the table every night? It starts with choosing a protein that will carry you through for a few meals. It ends with you not cooking every day.

Mediterranean Chicken Bake

Mediterranean Chicken Bake

Two Guiding Stars iconTwo Guiding Stars indicate better nutritional value. Chicken thighs are a great, cost-effective protein to feed the entire family for multiple meals.

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Choose a protein and make a plan.

Lean Ground Turkey

Brown 2 lbs. of lean ground turkey. Use half to make Chippy Chili and save the other half for Stuffed Peppers.

Day one: Enjoy the chili “as is,” topped with cheddar.

Day two: Prepare Stuffed Peppers. Bake potatoes at the same time while the oven is on.

Day three: Top baked potatoes with leftover chili or serve leftover peppers.


Prepare Mediterranean Chicken Bake along with a baking sheet of butternut squash and onions to make Baked Roasted Squash, Ricotta & Pasta. (Note: When preparing the chicken, slice and store additional fresh veggies for another meal.)

Day one: Serve baked chicken dish.

Day two: Use roasted vegetables to finish the baked pasta casserole.

Day three: Shred or slice remaining chicken for a quick Greek-inspired salad (use previously chopped veggies) to enjoy at home or bring it “to go” on a busy night. Alternatively, serve leftover pasta.


Slow cooked meals are ideal for a very busy week. Even better is a slow cooked pork butt that makes delicious Carnitas today and quick and easy meals tomorrow.

Day one: Sauté bell peppers and onion and use pork to create fajitas. Prepare a large batch of this Black Bean and Bell Pepper Salsa for a quick, fresh side.

Day two: Use remaining meat to make cheese quesadillas. Serve alongside a dollop of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt and black bean salsa.

Day three: Pick up a whole grain flatbread. Top flatbread with leftover onions and peppers, a cup of shredded cheese, diced avocados, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and leftover salsa (if there is any!) for a southwest-inspired pizza.

Think Outside the Butcher Box

Even proteins like tofu and fish can be used for more than one meal. Try these recipes on a busy week:


Day one: Prepare Teriyaki Tofu Salad. Make more than you need for one night.

Day two: Cook brown rice and use leftover ingredients to create an Asian-inspired rice bowl. Lightly drizzle with soy sauce and a bit of fresh ginger.


Day one: Grill fish and serve along side rice and cooked veggies or prepare this recipe for Sea Bass en Papillote.

Day two: Use bagged broccoli slaw, a flavorful salad dressing, leftover fish, and whole grain tortillas to make easy fish tacos. Serve with whole grain corn chips and fresh salsa.