8 Easy (and Waste-Free) Weekday Meal Hacks
When daily meal planning gets overwhelming, we often resort to takeout or prepared meals that are pricey and come with excess plastic packaging. Let us help you take the stress (and plastic waste) out of daily meal planning with these weekday meal hacks — quick and easy meals for dinner, lunch, or breakfast that you can easily prepare, transport, and serve in a Stasher Bowl. Scroll down or use these links 👇 to jump to any meal idea.
One-Bowl Wonder Breakfasts
Add overnight oats to your weekday meal rotation for an easy, nutritious breakfast. Start with a 1:1 ratio of two ingredients — old-fashioned rolled oats (regular or gluten free) + liquid. Dairy or non-dairy milk is the most commonly used liquid, but juice or water also work. Build from there by adding yogurt, chia seeds, fruit, sweetener, etc. Simply combine everything in one Stasher bowl, then mix and place in the fridge overnight (or a minimum of 2 hours). In the morning, simply grab a bowl and dig in, or pack it to go.
Similar to overnight oats, chia pudding is easy to prepare ahead of time for a quick breakfast that’s high in fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3s. Start with the simple ratio of ¼ cup chia seeds to 1 cup of milk (dairy or non-dairy), adjusting as needed for your preferred consistency. Customize the recipe by adding sweetener to taste, fruit (fresh or preserved), spices, nut butter, yogurt, etc.
Loaded Yogurt Bowl
Store-bought single serving yogurts are convenient for a quick breakfast or snack, but we’re not fans of the single-use containers that add to plastic pollution. Instead, try making your own yogurt with one of the recipes linked below. It’s easier than you think, plus it’s healthier and more budget friendly! No special yogurt-making appliance required, just a large pot and cooking thermometer. Another bonus: Fresh yogurt freezes well for up to 2 months, so you can make the most of your time by prepping large batches.
Use your homemade yogurt for a hearty breakfast bowl. Layer yogurt, fruit, nuts, seeds, and toppings in a 1-cup or 2-cup Stasher bowl. Add granola or cereal as the top layer, or store separately and add just before serving for optimal crunch.
One-Bowl Wonder Lunch or Dinner
Buddha bowls are a plant-based delight made with small portions of whole grains (brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, etc.), plant proteins (chickpeas, edamame, tofu, tempeh, nuts, etc.) and vegetables (raw or cooked). The ingredients are typically layered or artfully arranged in a bowl, drizzled with dressing, and served cold.
Buddha bowls are a great way to use ingredients in your pantry and freezer along with any vegetables you have on hand. Use the 6-Cup or 8-Cup bowl to assemble a family-size portion, or divide ingredients into several bowls for a to-go meal that’s perfect for lunch at school or in the office.
DIY burrito bowls are a great way to quickly assemble ingredients that can be stored in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. Start with this easy method for cooking microwave rice in a Stasher Bowl. Once the rice is cooked and fluffed, layer on your favorite burrito fillings — beans, roasted veggies, cooked and chopped chicken, beef, pork, or fish, etc. Before serving, pop the partially sealed bowl in the microwave to heat, then add your favorite toppings like cheese, chopped onions, salsa, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, etc.
Chef’s Tip 👩🏽🍳 For a fun “hands-on” family meal, set up a burrito bowl bar using an 8-Cup bowl (for the burrito filling) and smaller bowls for a variety of toppings. Let each person scoop out their own burrito filling then add the toppings of their choice.
Possibilities for enhancing the simplicity of ramen noodles and flavorful broth are as endless as the uses for your Stasher reusables. Plus, it’s easy to prepare ramen in the microwave with just one Stasher bowl. Simply fill the bowl with tap water, referring to the instructions on your noodle package for the amount of water to use, then bring it to a boil in the microwave. Carefully remove the boiling water from the microwave, add noodles, then seal the bowl and let it sit until the noodles break apart and are flexible — typically 3-5 minutes.
Customize your ramen bowl with protein and veggies. For adding flavor to broth, try miso, chili oil, soy sauce / tamari, sesame oil, etc.
Microwave Mac & Cheese
One-bowl microwave mac and cheese is a meal hack we can’t get enough of! Plus, it’s less expensive and less wasteful than boxed mac and cheese. The bowl’s cleverly designed Pinch-Loc® seal allows you to easily drain liquids — perfect for cooking pasta in the microwave, and fewer dishes to clean!
Here’s the method our Stasher Squad has tested with success:
- Place dry pasta in a Stasher bowl, cover with approximately twice the volume of water, and add a splash of (optional) oil. To avoid spillovers, use the “maximum fill” line on the side of the bowl to make sure it’s no more than halfway full. When choosing a bowl size, keep in mind a 2-Cup bowl works well for a single serving, and scale up from there depending on how much you’re making.
- Partially seal the bowl, leaving an approximately 2-inch opening to vent steam. To prevent condensation in the microwave, cover with a lightweight cloth (which also helps protect your hands in subsequent steps).
- Microwave until the water boils, then carefully remove the bowl and open using a towel or oven mitt. Stir the pasta to separate.
- Reseal and return to the microwave, cooking in 2 minute intervals. Remove between intervals to stir. Repeat intervals until the pasta is cooked to your preference.
- To drain excess water, leave the bowl partially sealed except on one end, hold it with a towel or oven mitt, and tip sideways to drain.
- Add grated cheese and milk (see recipe links below for quantity guides), stir, then return to the microwave just long enough to fully melt the cheese.
- Get creative with your favorite add-ins — veggies, protein, herbs, spices, etc.
Chef’s Tip 👩🏽🍳 To save money and minimize packaging waste, purchase small elbow or shell pasta in the bulk food aisle. See our bulk food shopping guide for tips.
Microwave Mac & Cheese Recipe Inspiration 💡 How To Make One-Bowl Microwave Macaroni and Cheese
Easy Microwave Pasta Marinara
Some nights call for simple comfort food, and pasta tossed with a flavorful sauce is high on our list of ahhh-worthy meals. To prepare in a Stasher bowl, follow the steps in the Microwave Mac & Cheese section above to cook your pasta of choice. Once cooked and drained, stir in any prepared sauce you have on hand and microwave until heated, then top with cheese and serve.
* * *