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24 Easy Dinner Prep Ideas You'll Want To Try ASAP

It's a bird, it's a plane...it's your dinner on your plate!

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1. Set a slow cooker to do your hard work during the day on a scrumptious recipe like these Pulled Pork Nachos. (Yes, girl. You can make nacho toppings in a slow cooker.)

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For this recipe, you can put the pork in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low -- aka let it cook while you're at work -- then shred the pork and bake the nachos with all your fixings in the oven for 8-10 minutes. The only way this is getting easier is if your order nachos. Get our recipe for Pulled Pork Nachos.

Get them from Amazon: 2-quart slow cooker for $7.69 and 6-quart slow cooker for $49.

2. Make things even simpler by freezing some slow cooker "dump dinners" that have all the stuff you need to throw in there in the morning.

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Put all the chopped, prepped ingredients into a labeled freezer bag and store for as long as three months. The night before you plan to make the meal, put the bag in the fridge to thaw and in the morning, dump the contents into your slow cooker. Let it cook during the day and come home to a hot meal. Learn more on New Leaf Wellness.

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3. Limit yourself to a one-pan recipe that bakes in the oven while you do other stuff. You'll have less clutter while cooking and less dishes to wash afterward.

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Try our One-Pan Lemon Herb Salmon recipe. Eat one serving and then box up the other three for even quicker dinners later!

Get a three-piece baking sheet set from Amazon for $12.26.

4. Outsource your veggie chopping to this 7-in-1 slicer that'll catch your chopped ingredients until you're ready to dump them into a dish.

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Get you a gadget that can do both. And then five other things. Then learn how to chop seven types of veggies in mere seconds here.

Get it from Amazon for $18.08. Also available in a 2-in-1 and 4-in-1 version.

5. Pick a few like-minded grain-based recipes and prep a big batch of grains that you can use for multiple meals and dishes.

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Keep big bags of ~dry~ grains in your pantry and pick a kind of grain to prep at the beginning of the week for use in dinners. It's one less step to figure out when you're fixing a quick meal. TBH, you can easily swap some grains for others in recipes. Start with this post for a week's game plan.

1 big batch of quinoa can work for Korean Bulgogi BBQ Steak Bowls (#2), Ahi Tuna Quinoa Poke Bowl (#3), Cuban Quinoa Bowl With Spicy Lemon Cashew Dressing (#8), The Mother of All Veggie Bowls (#9), Hippie Bowls (#10), Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls (#16), and/or The Big Vegan Bowl (#17).

Get a 2 lbs. bag of pre-washed quinoa from Amazon for $10.99.

6. Spiralize veggies you'll use later in bulk...and then freeze them. Throw them in dishes like this Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai that require sauteeing the veggies for a bit.

7. Meal prep like you're feeding a family of four...but keep it all for yourself.

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You'll (likely) spend as much time with food prep as you would for one serving and can make three more meals out of it. Better yet, find a recipe that's a ~healthier~ dupe for a restaurant fave, like our Chipotle taste-alike Chicken Burrito Bowls recipe. Divvy up the goods into four containers and you'll have three more microwavable meals later.

Get a 42-piece set of Rubbermaid containers and lids from Amazon for $23.38. (They're microwave-, freezer- and dishwasher-safe, and BPA-free!)

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8. Fall for a DIY salad dressing recipe and keep it in a dressing shaker in your fridge for everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salads and bowls when you're trying to use up produce.

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Find a good recipe -- like this creamy garlic dressing or this versatile recipe for a basic vinaigrette -- to whip up in a big batch for the week using stuff you already have in your pantry. (Most recipes make multiple servings, anyway.)

Get this salad dressing shaker from Amazon for $12.99.

9. Shop your own pantry by putting essentials like canned tuna to work in new dishes you won't believe.

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Read the full recipe for this Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole on Skinny Taste. And check out 23 Cool Things To Do With Canned Tuna.

Get a 24-pack of 5 oz. solid-white albacore tuna from Amazon for $32.97. (This recipe calls for two cans.)

10. Zero in on the holes in your food stores with this handy pad that'll help you replace stuff when you need it.

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No more wasting time by dragging out all the ingredients for Sweet Potato Hash and realizing you have zero sweet potatoes.

Get it from Amazon for $4.98.

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13. Add restaurant leftovers to home-cooked meals, like some spicy chicken from a salad to this Easy Breakfast Frittata. Or some rolls you nicked from a bread basket as buns for these Pulled Porchetta Sandwiches.

14. Transfer fresh produce you need to use ASAP to storage containers and put them front and center in your fridge, so you can cut down on search time for those strawberries for a salad.

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18. Find a new twist on a quick, OG favorite -- like pizza grilled cheese -- so you feel like you're cooking dinner on auto pilot.

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The process is the same as a regular grilled cheese, but it's a quick and dirty homemade meal you can ~actually~ look forward to with exciting ingredients. Watch our Pizza Grilled Cheese video.

And read our tips on How to Eat Pizza for Every Single Meal.

19. Set it and (almost) forget it with this rapid egg cooker that'll get them the perfect consistency for any recipe.

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It'll make six hard-, medium-, or soft-boiled eggs, individual omelets, two poached eggs, or scrambled eggs. Start cooking with our 15 Tasty Ways to Work Eggs into Every Meal.

Get it from Amazon for $18.61+. / Available in four colors.

20. Throw all your leftovers and about-to-wilt stuff in a big, beautiful bowl -- with this Mediterranean Bowl for inspo.

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Live each day like you're eating at an overpriced "bowl" restaurant! See The Ultimate Mediterranean Bowl recipe on Minimalist Baker.

And check out 10 Insanely Delicious Vegetarian Bowls for more bowl combo ideas.

21. Keep a stocked pantry! It isn't rocket science, but it helps. So. Much.

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Consider our 23 Ingredients You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen and make sure that you're storing said ingredients properly in jars like these or other sealed containers.

Get these airtight, drop-proof containers from Amazon for $22.95.

22. Find some 15-minute recipes for dishes you already love to make eating (kinda) like a breeze.

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Satisfy a pasta craving with this Shrimp Scampi recipe from Damn Delicious. And get more ideas from 15 Delicious Shrimp Dishes You Can Make In Just 15 Minutes.

Get a 16 oz. box of dried linguine from Amazon for $1.38. (One box is enough to make this meal twice.)

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24. Fall back on these energy boosting toast ideas for some surprising topping combos that you already have in your kitchen.

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Remember that whole breakfast-for-dinner thing? We dare you to come up with a better way to use up that loaf of bread. Read all our genius toast ideas.

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