ThePrep: High-Protein Dinners to Make in a 9x13

From easy enchilada bakes to cabbage rolls and sponge cake, you'll be amazed at the variety of recipes you can make with this humble kitchen essential.

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a recipe photo of the Eggplant Rollatini
Photo: Photographer: Morgan Hunt Glaze, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

I'm dusting off my 9-by-13-inch baking dish to make this week's satisfying high-protein dinners. From easy enchilada bakes to cabbage rolls and sponge cake, you'll be amazed at the variety of recipes you can make with this humble kitchen essential. Let's get cooking!

Your Meal Plan


Protein is highly applauded within the health space, and for good reason. Along with fat and carbs, our body needs protein to function properly. More specifically, protein is involved in supporting muscle growth and immune function, strengthening your bones and slowing your digestion, which in turn, keeps you fuller for longer. The mouthwatering dishes in this week's recipe lineup deliver at least 15 grams of protein per serving to fit our high-protein nutrition parameters.

Tuesday's Roasted Chicken Tenders with Peppers & Onions might just be the easiest high-protein dinner of the week. This cozy and tasty dish comes together in a single 9-by-13-inch baking dish with minimal prep requirements, making cooking less of a chore. Ingredients like garlic, lemon juice and zest, fresh oregano and pickled jalapeño peppers add lots of lovely flavors. I'll serve this dinner with a side of brown rice to round out the meal. With the addition of brown rice, which delivers 6 grams of protein per 1-cup serving (along with 3 grams of fiber), this dinner provides a whopping 30 grams of protein per serving.

Sunday: Lasagna di Pesce (Seafood Lasagna)
Monday: Eggplant Rollatiniwith a slice of whole-wheat baguette
Tuesday: Roasted Chicken Tenders with Peppers & Onions with a side of brown rice
Wednesday: Quick Shrimp Enchilada Bake
Thursday: Egg Roll-Inspired Cabbage Rolls
Friday: Beef & Black Bean Nacho Casserole

Something Sweet


Tres leches cake is one of my favorite traditional Mexican desserts. My friend's mom makes THE most delicious tres leches cake I've ever tasted. Growing up, I remember we would eagerly await her birthday (February 7) because we knew her mom would bring the delicious masterpiece to school. I think that at some point, I even asked her mom if she could make the cake for my birthday, too—that's how much I love it. While this Tres Leches Cake isn't the exact same recipe, it's pretty close and worth the try. And you guessed it; it's also made in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Get the Recipe: Tres Leches Cake

What's Inspiring Me This Week

Illustration of gut bacteria
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Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest in gut health as we learn more about its importance. A healthy gut is more than a regular bathroom routine and not feeling bloated. In fact, our gut plays an essential role in not just our gut health but our overall health. Even more so, a recently published study found that gut bacteria could help diagnose Parkinson's disease. This study, published in Nature Communications, found that people with Parkinson's disease experience noticeable changes in their gut microbiota even during the earliest stages. While additional research is needed to learn more about the link between Parkinson's disease and gut bacteria, you can help take care of your gut health by adding fermented foods to your weekly rotation.

Find Out More: New Study Finds That Gut Microbiome Changes May Be an Early Sign of Parkinson's Disease Long Before Traditional Symptoms Appear

I wish you all a great week, and if you have any questions or requests for future newsletters, please let me know by emailing! Don't forget to add a recipe review if you try one.

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