I am a planner. I kind of have to be with 3 kids and all of the things I juggle. I love to cook, and see dinner time as an opportunity to get creative and relax. My daily challenge is maintaining that creativity and calm during the rush hour of shuttling kids to and fro, while getting a delicious home-cooked meal on the table. Back to planning. It saves me and makes that daily challenge possible. I create a meal plan for the following week on Thursdays, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I do my shopping on Fridays, prep on Sundays, and enjoy a week’s worth of stress-free meal times and delicious dinners!
Some of my other tools to get me through the challenging dinner hour? My slow cooker, homemade-ish recipes, and make-ahead meals. Ah yes, those make-ahead meals are life savers. Like on those days when your daughter has rehearsal at the same time you need to pick up your other daughter from volleyball practice, and your son needs to get to tae kwon do exactly during the 45 minutes window you had to prep dinner. Am I speaking your language? If so, you are going to love today’s round of make-ahead dinner meals. I have a week’s worth of recipes here to fill up your weekly meal planner. All of these recipes can be prepped on the weekend and refrigerated for later in the week, assembled in the morning, or made in the slow cooker. When dinner rolls around, you just have to lay out a few ingredients and dinner is served!
A Week’s Worth of Make-Ahead Meals For Dinner
Lasagna is the quintessential make-ahead meal. It’s a casserole and Italian – two of my favorites. I have several lasagna recipes that I love, but this dairy and gluten-free spinach and artichoke version gets my vote every time.
This casserole is super easy with just 5 ingredients. Either prep it on the weekend or in the morning while the kids are eating breakfast. When it comes to dinnertime, all you need to do is preheat the oven and pop it in to bake for 30 minutes.
I love this sauce. It is simple to cook up a batch on Sunday afternoon and store it for later in the week, when all you need to do is boil some pasta to pour it over.
Who doesn’t love chili? This one cooks in the slow cooker, so dinner is cooking by the time breakfast is served!
This casserole is pure comfort food and is so easy to make. Either prep it on the weekend for later in the week or that morning, or around lunch – whenever you have about 30 minutes to put it all together.
This meal saves me every time. I cook up a batch of sushi rice earlier in the day while I am home and let it rest on the stove until we are ready to assemble rolls. I also put together a cutting board full of julienned vegetables and tofu, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until the family is ready for dinner.
Do you have a favorite make-ahead meal recipe? I’d love to see it. Please tell me in the comments below, and if you make one of these above, please be sure to tag #VeegMama. I love to see what you are cooking!