8 Best Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Weeknights
It’s Sunday afternoon, and you are looking for easy dinners to get you through a week that already has some kind of practice, performance, game, or recital marked for every day. The last thing you want to do is spend every night in the drive-thru line, and with a little time and planning, you can still have nutritious foods on the table for at least more nights than not!
We are going to share with you 8 of our favorite weeknight dinner ideas that you can make ahead and have on the dinner table in the same amount of time it would take to grab that take-out!
This yummy supper is one of the best make ahead meals for busy moms, as it gives you a variety of options to customize exactly how your family wants it! You can play around with the main protein with the called-for chicken thighs or switch it out for pork loin, turkey, or chicken breasts.
You can also add in some sweet kernel corn, black beans, or chopped red onions, depending on what you prefer. No matter what options you use, a little squirt of lime juice at the end will pull everything together absolutely perfectly!
Since you are able to fix this on in the slow cooker and it can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, this is a great option to put together on the weekends and then simply heat up on whatever weeknight you want your taste buds to enjoy it!
This recipe is a great make-ahead dinner as you can mix everything up and then refrigerate it for a day or two before serving it. The simple ingredients will give you all of the flavors of more processed foods without the extra fat and calories! A win-win situation for any weeknight meal!
With the classic flavors and the ability to pair with some simple sides, this could become a family favorite after only the first time serving it to your family. Coming in at a whopping 36 grams of protein per serving, this dish will have everyone feeling full and happy after a long day of activities!
Even if your family isn’t following a Keto diet, you can still enjoy this easy weeknight dinner! You get all of the great flavors of traditional lasagnas, such as ground beef, marinara sauce, ricotta, and parmesan cheese, but you make the noodle layers as well, so you’re getting a higher-quality end-product with just a little more effort. This is one of the best make-ahead recipes as you can make it, stick it in the freezer, and then put it in the oven so that it's ready for dinner time any night of the week.
Pair it with some corn or a side salad, and this might become one of your favorite easy meals!
This is another recipe that fits great into a Keto lifestyle but that others will find just as enjoyable, and it’s a perfect solution to make ahead for those busy weeknights!
You can meal prep this one on a Sunday afternoon and cover and store it in the fridge for up to a week. If you are making ahead meals for an extended amount of time, the meatloaf can last up to 6 months in the freezer when stored properly. When you are ready to get it out and enjoy, just whip up some mashed potatoes and serve it with green beans for a delicious meal that your family will think you took all day putting together!
Sometimes kid-friendly dinners can be a little bit harder to find when it comes to make-ahead options, but these chicken taquitos will appeal to your toddlers and your teens. (although you will definitely want to make a double batch if you have teenage boys!)
The best part is that you can use a rotisserie chicken shredded up for your meat to save you the step of having to cook it! Make your taquitos when you have time available, stick them in a container in the freezer, and then pull them out, spread some olive oil on them, and bake them when you are ready for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Serve with a fresh salad or even some rice and beans, and you will be set!
This is one of those easy recipes that you can make a big batch of, so you can use your prep time to your advantage to get multiple meals! With a cook and prep time of under 30 minutes, you can use this as a make-ahead meal, or you can whip it up on even the busiest weeknight!
One-pot meals are the best way for busy people to serve healthy meals that are also efficient with less cleaning time afterward. We know that there are many nights where every minute counts, and this is a recipe to have on hand for those nights when you still want to enjoy a home-cooked meal!
It might feel easier to order fast food when you are craving oriental flavors but look no further than this recipe to get you a great meal put together for dinner tonight, even if it has to be snuck in between practices.
If you fix it ahead of time the traditional way, you will want to give yourself some added time as they recommend the meat marinate for 2 hours; however, if you are really wanting to have it on a busy day and you don’t have a chance to prep everything ahead of time you can also make this one in the slow cooker!
Serve with soba noodles or brown rice, and top with sesame seeds for the best flavors the whole family will love!
Sometimes all you need to prep for make-ahead dinners are the main courses. With these simple Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, you can season them, cook them, and then put them in a freezer bag until you are ready to get them out and heat them up for a healthy dinner on busy school nights!
Serve them with some fresh vegetables and a baked potato, and you have an easy, nutritious meal ready to go in no time!
The next time you are stressing about how your busy family is going to be able to have healthy dinners on the busiest weeks, remember that all it really takes is a little planning and prep to have everything ready to go for quick dinners that aren’t full of extra fat and fillers!
A few of our staple products here at the Co-Op that we would recommend keeping on hand for the main part of these recipes include: