We have a lot going on in our family over the next few weeks, and I’m not going to be as available as I usually am to cook dinners. So I’ve been flipping through my recipe collecting and looking online for some of my favorite prep-ahead recipes that don’t feel like we’re just eating a lot of leftovers. That way husband or my kids can quickly and easily cook these without too many FaceTime calls to me to make sure they’re doing it right,
That’s why this week’s meal plan is all about prep-ahead meals I love. Take a couple hours on the weekend to get everything ready, then make dinner a breeze all week long, no matter who’s doing the cooking.
One quick tip when it comes to freezing veggies or meat ahead of time to use in recipes later: it works so much better if you cut them up and spread them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to freeze, then put them into your storage containers. This keeps them from becoming one huge clump when it’s time to take them out of the bag to cook.
We’ve shared these 20-minute Chili Lime Sheet Pan Fajitas recipe at Call Me PMC before, and they’re a great make-ahead dinner option too. Prep the chicken and veggies then store them in separate freezer bags until you’re ready to cook. Plan to have some easy sides, like a can of refried or black beans and some Mexican rice to microwave, and you’ll have dinner ready in no time.
I’ve made several freezer bags full of this Chana Masala recipe at The Artful Appetite, and it’s such an easy vegetarian freezer dinner option. To prep, I just put all the spices, chickpeas, and tomatoes in a freezer bag together. (I went ahead and made a few bags all at once, because this requires no chopping or cutting, so it’s SO easy.) When we’re ready to eat, we’ll just pour it in a pan to simmer while some rice cooks in our rice cooker. So easy.
I cannot wait to try this chicken bulgogi recipe at Beyond Kimchee, because yuuuuummmmm. To prep this ahead of time, follow the recipe to the marinade step (step 2). Then, store the prepared chicken in the fridge for dinner later that night or in the freezer if it will be a few days before you cook it. Then, just finish the recipe that evening (it’s easy!), and serve over rice or with some cooked, drained ramen noodles.
This Mississippi Pot Roast at The Cooking Jar will only get better then longer you let it soak in the spices and flavors of those pepperoncinis, so this is a great dish to make ahead. I’d sear the meat and then let it cool to room temp. Then put it in a storage container with the spice packages and other ingredients. When you’re ready to cook it, just pop it in the slow cooker in the morning and let it go all day. Serve with some mashed potatoes, or you can just stick some baked potatoes in the oven an hour or so before you want to eat for an even simpler side.
This white chicken chili recipe at Over the Spoon for is one that I would double (or triple) and stash in the freezer so I can have an easy, quick dinner or lunch that’s still delicious. This is so easy, because you don’t have to cook the chicken first! Instead, just put everything into a freezer bag then pop it in your slow cooker or Instant Pot in time for dinner. Serve with cheese, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, and tortilla chips with some delicious salsa or guacamole.