13 Meal Prep Recipes For Nurses Who Hate Cooking

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I must confess, yes, I’m a nurse who hates cooking… But I do care very much about mine and my family’s health, and I’m assuming that’s you too if you’re here. That is why I did extensive research on coming up with the perfect roundup post of meal prep recipes for my fellow nurses who HATE cooking…

Meal prep is essential for nurses who are in charge of their family’s meals. There is no way we are going to work twelve-hour long days, or nights, and come home and get straight to chopping and boiling food for hours.

So if you can relate, please stay with me, and let’s develop our plan together. But first things first. We need to cover the kitchen essentials needed for the nurse who hates cooking. To take full advantage of the 21st century, you need to get your kitchen up to date too.

Gone are the days when you need to heat up an oven to cook things for hours upon hours. So before we kick off our list of meal prep recipes for nurses who hate cooking, let’s cover the lazy nurse chef essentials.

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Kitchen Essentials for Nurses Who Hate Cooking:

Instant Pot Duo Plus, 8-Quart

If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet, how are you surviving dinner time? I am on my 3rd model in 7 years. I still have all three of them and all are in perfect working condition, but they just keep making them prettier and with more settings. Please don’t tell me you have one and it’s still in the box. The number of times I have heard this is hilarious. But I do get it. It can be intimidating at first. But, you need an Instant Pot if you want to change your meal prep game. It’s just non-negotiable. There is no other way around it.

Cuisinart Airfryer, 6-Qt Basket Air Fryer

The second most essential kitchen appliance for the lazy nurse chef is an air fryer. This particular model is made for a larger family too. What I love about air fryers is that they are basically the “dry” food, fast food, machine. In contrast, the Instant Pot is generally for meals that require moisture. You can bake, roast, and broil very quickly in the air fryer. I also love using the air fryer for our unhealthy guilty pleasures when we just really don’t feel like cooking at all. For example, we throw frozen taquitos and burritos in there, pizza pockets, chicken wings, egg rolls, you name it.

Pit Boss PB440D2 Wood Pellet Grill

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Now bear with me… I know that this is not a purchase to take lightly. However, this is truly the best outdoor appliance for lazy cooks like my husband and I. A handful of times per week we cook our protein in this smoker. It’s an electric smoker so there is no waiting for hours for the thing to heat up. It cooks meat extremely fast while keeping it juicy and having a delicious smokey flavor.

It also cuts down big time on kitchen messes. We cook hamburger patties, pork chops, ribs, chicken, tri-tip, and fish on the regular in this thing. It has a simple slide-plate for direct and indirect flame grilling. So it’s very easy to use, and how do I say this politically correct… It is easy for both genders to use.

It is a great investment for our meal prep recipes for nurses list.

Now that we have the kitchen essentials for meal prep and lazy cooking, let’s kick off our list.

Meal Prep Recipes for Nurses Who Hate Cooking

1. Keto Chicken Salad With Eggs by Oh So Foodie

meal prep recipes for nurses

This is a great recipe to have meal prepped in your fridge even if you aren’t keto. This is a great cold lunch to take to work or to even spread on sandwiches after work. It’s high in protein and healthy fats which is always a bonus.

The ingredients she uses include chicken, eggs, pecans, pickles, bell peppers, mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice, dill weed, and salt and pepper. So these are super easy ingredients you likely already have on hand. You can use your Instant Pot to cook the chicken and even “hardboil” the eggs.

This recipe is so fast and easy that it was just too perfect to not kick off our meal prep recipes for nurses list. Don’t forget to head on over to her page for the full recipe here.

2. Italian Chicken Meal Prep Bowls by Eazy Peazy Mealz

This is another easy and healthy choice and also easy to heat up at work. What we love about this recipe is how it is not only packed with protein but with veggies too. Additionally, it’s a recipe that is not shy with the herbs and flavor. The spices include basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and paprika. Can you smell this dish cooking already??? Yum!

The protein is chicken with broccoli, tomatoes, and zucchini. Then you will use olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. She uses a sheet pan to cook this meal which is super easy and helps cut down on mess. She also lists rice as an optional starch to serve this with which I would personally, definitely, do.

No doubt this is a great and easy meal prep choice for nurses who hate to cook. Don’t forget to check out her full recipe here.

3. Korean Inspired Chicken Meal Prep Bowls by The Girl on Bloor

meal prep recipes for nurses

Here is another chicken and rice meal prep recipe, that is not boring by any means and is still easy! This time we are using Asian flavors which always just always hits the spot. This would be really good to marinate in her sauce and cook in the pit boss to prevent a sticky mess with your pans.

We love the idea of serving this with a slaw for that extra crunch and freshness. This is a very balanced meal, and super easy to meal prep for nurses who are too busy to slave away in the kitchen. Here is the link to her post right here, it’s really great.

4. Lighter Buffalo Chicken and Rice Skillet by Sweet Savory and Steph

No meal prep recipes for nurses who hate to cook list would be complete without a skillet meal. It is literally an all-in-one. The ingredients in this one are also really easy and you likely already have many of them on hand.

You will need onion, carrot, celery, ground chicken, brown rice, cauliflower rice, Franks red hot sauce, chicken broth, reduced-fat cream cheese, scallions, and fat-free cheddar cheese. She also makes a spice blend including cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and kosher salt.

All of these go straight into the skillet and turn into this delicious-looking meal. Run over to her site and print this recipe, right here.

5. One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice by Creme de la Crumb

Here is another one-pot skillet meal to jazz up your week. I tested this one out tonight and my house smells incredible! If you read the reviews, people are saying that their families are asking for this one to be added to their weekly meals on the regular. And I completely understand why.

This was SO easy and tasted like something you would get at a Mediterranean restaurant. This is a great meal to make extra and meal prep for your lunches for the week too. It supplies everything you need. High-quality protein and a good carb source.

You can add some vegetables to the side for more fiber too. This was an excellent meal, definitely a no-brainer to add to our meal prep recipes for nurses list. Get the full recipe here.

6. Instant Pot Cajun Rice And Sausage by Sweet Peas and Saffron

meal prep recipes for nurses

Here is a SUPER easy Instant Pot recipe for nurses who hate to cook, like me. As the author states, this is a “dump and go meal”. So this is a great choice to throw everything in there and run errands if you need to. When you come back, dinner is served.

This recipe calls for andouille sausage, basmati rice, cajun season, and veggies. These are super basic recipes that are easy to grab at any store. As you can see, since this meal is all mixed together, it is super easy to spoon into Tupperware to take to work.

We hope you are as excited about this recipe as we are. Please read the full recipe here.

7. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken by Eating Instantly

This is a great meal prep to make BBQ chicken salads or sandwiches during the week. As usual, the Instant Pot does almost all of the work for you. Dump it in, let it do its thing, shred it up then pour in the BBQ sauce.

We love the simplicity of this recipe. She really walks you through step by step which is nice if you are an Instant Pot newbie. If you are one of those people who still hasn’t taken it out of the box… Tsk Tsk, this is a great first recipe to try. All you need are some chicken breasts, or thighs, water and your favorite BBQ sauce.

Read her full recipe here.

8. Instant Pot Minestrone Soup by Platings and Pairings

This is an excellent vegetarian option but you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this one. Out of all the soups out there, I think Minestrone is the best one. Here’s why I think that. The tomato-infused broth is so rich and comforting, and it’s loaded with beans and pasta which are just so satiating and creamy. The veggies add even more flavor to the broth and it’s just the most delicious soup to enjoy with cheese sprinkled on top and a piece of toast.

This is almost a dump-and-go recipe. Saute some of the veggies first, throw the rest in, and bam you’re done. It takes only 5 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot. This is an excellent meal prep recipe for nurses because this is easy to heat up at work and will give you slow-digesting energy throughout your shift.

She has a beautiful website and easy to understand instructions. Here is the recipe link right here.

9. Instant Pot Burritos by Adventures of a Nurse

meal prep recipes for nurses

You can never go wrong with a burrito night for an easy and filling midweek dinner. And hey, this one is written by a fellow nurse! So she not only understands the struggle, she creates content to help with the struggle.

This is a recipe that is going to create a ton of leftovers, so perfect for taking to work. After sauteing the meat and onions, you dump the rest in, set the pot, and walk away. This lazy nurse loves that so much. If you have growing boys this is a great recipe to start implementing weekly. It’s cheap and creates huge servings.

Read the full recipe here and why not support your fellow nurse :). She has a really cool site.

10. Instant Pot Spaghetti (10 Minute) by The Recipe Critic

meal prep recipes for nurses

No lazy meal prep recipes for nurses list would be complete without an Instant Pot spaghetti. Spaghetti night is just about everyone’s favorite comfort food right? Thanks to the Instant Pot it couldn’t be easier to make now.

After browning your meat, it is another dump-and-go recipe. What I love about spaghetti is you can doctor it up however you like. If you don’t like ground beef you can swap it for Italian sausage. You can add extra spices to the sauce.

I love to make garlic cheesy bread in the toaster oven to serve along with it. It makes for very little mess and just an overall well-rounded meal. I don’t know about you but I love having spaghetti leftovers to eat at work. That is why this is the perfect meal prep recipe to share with you all on this list.

Get the full recipe here.

11. Cast Iron Skillet Fried Rice by Heart’s Content Farmhouse

meal prep recipes for nurses

Here is another delicious lazy meal prep meal. Now first, when it comes to fried rice, you want leftover rice. Rice is super easy to make in the Instant Pot but you can make it however you like. Just put it in the fridge and make sure to use it within a day or two. Once you do that 50% of the work is done for you when you make this meal.

I like the simplicity of this meal. You could also add chicken or steak. I like to buy the frozen ready-to-heat strips of both from Walmart. They come in super handy for dishes like this. The brand is called John Soules Foods and I’m hooked on the convenience of these packs. Get the full recipe here.

How I make my Instant Pot Rice:

  1. 1 cup of rice to 1 1/4 cups of water or broth.
  2. Rince your rice first if you like a firmer texture.
  3. Pour both rice and liquid into the Instant Pot and stir. Make sure no rice is on the sides.
  4. Set the pot to manual for 6 minutes if you live at a higher elevation, and 4 minutes if you are coastal.
  5. Let it naturally pressure release (takes about 10-12 minutes for me), and you’re done.


Okay now before you come at me saying this is so unhealthy hear me out. Potatoes and chicken are nutritious foods. The only thing skeptical is the Velveeta in this recipe. However, if you look at the ingredients in Velveeta, it’s essentially just a block of American cheese.

If you can’t do it. Substitute whatever cheese you like best. Regardless this is a great recipe to put in the crock pot on the weekend to have leftovers for the work week. I personally would serve this over rice and I’d add a bag of green peas to add some fiber and a touch of green. Regardless I think this is a great comforting recipe that is sure to make a ton of food and is very lazy chef-friendly.

Get the full recipe here.

13. Instant Pot Chili by Dinner at the Zoo

meal prep recipes for nurses

No best meal prep for nurses recipe would be complete without an Instant Pot chili. Chili is even BETTER as leftovers. I get really excited for my lunch when I pack chili. I pack my shredded cheese, sour cream, and Fritos. It always hits the spot.

She uses really commonplace ingredients in this recipe. After browning the meat its another dump-and-go kind of recipe. I love chili in the Instant Pot because it tastes like it’s been cooking all day on the stove. This is a meal that will feed you and your family for days. So another perfect meal prep dish.

Read her full recipe here.

meal prep recipes for nurses

Conclusion: Meal Prep Recipes for Nurses Who Hate Cooking

Being in my mid thirties I have learned to give myself a lot of grace. I am who I am and that’s all that I am. I don’t love to cook, and I’ve learned that’s okay. But it does have to be done. That is why I wanted to share this roundup of easy meals to meal prep for my fellow nurses.

Nurses work so hard. Our shifts can be seriously so brutal. But it is important to step off the floor and eat. Sometimes we only get one meal break in those 12 hours. That is why you need something hearty to pack in your lunch.

I believe any of these choices will serve you and your family well. Hopefully, a couple of them work for your family. Please comment below which ones you tried and if any of these will become weekly meal prep staples for you. Enjoy!

Jackie Jimenez BSN, RN
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