Make-Ahead Dinners

A busy week has nothing on you when you're prepared with these super smart recipes.

Healthy Make-Ahead Dinners

Photo: John Autry

Healthy Make-Ahead Dinners

Put those takeout menus down and opt for a homemade delicious dinner. We know, weeknights can get a little crazy, but preparing for busy nights with these make-ahead meals will help you get to super cook status in a flash. Our recipes bring delicious flavors to the table in a pinch and avoid the dreaded nutritional stats of most take-out joints. So, when you just can't find the time for meal prep, pop open a bottle of vino because dinner is coming right up.

There is no better recipe to start with than our meaty bolognese. It tastes like it has been cooking away on the stove all day even though its initial prep takes only about an hour. The fact that you just pulled it out of the fridge and reheated will be our secret.

View Recipe: Mushroom Bolognese

Make-Ahead Dinners: Grilled Chicken with Bourbon Peach Butter

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Grilled Chicken with Bourbon Peach Butter

Our hands-free oven method helps prevent the sugary fruit butter from scorching. Make the Bourbon Peach Butter ahead of time and serve with grilled meat.

View Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Bourbon Peach Butter

Make-Ahead Dinners: Cumin-Spiced Chickpeas and Carrots on Couscous Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Cumin-Spiced Chickpeas and Carrots on Couscous

Make the garbonzo mixture ahead of time. Reheat on the stovetop and serve with couscous (it cooks in just a few minutes) when you're ready to eat.

View Recipe: Cumin-Spiced Chickpeas and Carrots on Couscous

Make-Ahead Dinners: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Mustard Sauce

Photo: Charles Masters

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Mustard Sauce

Be prepared—this pulled pork involves about 7 hours of cooktime, although hands-on time is only an hour. The pork and homemade barbecue sauce will be delicious when reheated and served between a whole-wheat hamburger bun.

View Recipe: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Mustard Sauce

Make-Ahead Dinners: Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

Photo: Nina Choi

Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

This one-pot wonder makes the perfect make-ahead dinner. Cipollini onions are small, flat Italian onions. If you can't find them, substitute pearl onions. Other large full-flavored greens like mustard greens or kale will work, as well.

View Recipe: Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

Make-Ahead Dinners: Easy Braised Brisket

Photo: John Autry

Easy Braised Brisket

This dish reheats beautifully—and may even be better the second day. With only 5 ingredients it's budget-friendly too.

View Recipe: Easy Braised Brisket

Make Ahead Dinners: Provençal Beef Daube

Photo: Nina Choi

Provençal Beef Daube

This slow-cooking meal is fantastic when reheated. It's savory, satisfying, and absolutely delicious. If you can't find niçoise olives, use another meaty variety, such as kalamata or gaeta.

View Recipe: Provençal Beef Daube

Make-Ahead Dinners: Slow-Simmered Meat Sauce

Photo: Nina Choi

Slow-Simmered Meat Sauce

The meat sauce can be made ahead and then served over mafaldine, a flat noodle with ruffled edges. You can substitute spaghetti.

View Recipe: Slow-Simmered Meat Sauce

Make-Ahead Dinners: Pork Posole

Photo: John Autry

Pork Posole

This wallet-friendly meal only costs $2.46 per serving. After preparing, stick it in the fridge to have on-hand for a busy night.

View Recipe: Pork Posole

Make-Ahead Dinners: Mushroom and Root Vegetable Potpie

Photo: John Autry

Mushroom and Root Vegetable Potpie

To make these pot pies ahead, prepare according to the recipe instructions, but wait to bake until you are ready to eat. If you freeze these, allow them to thaw before you pop them in the oven.

View Recipe: Mushroom and Root Vegetable Potpie

Chicken Verde Stew with Hominy Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Chicken Verde Stew with Hominy

This "outstanding" reader-rated recipe could quite possibly be even better the second day—as is common with stews. The extra time will allow the flavors to meld and develop in a way that will bring out that beloved slow-cooked taste.

View Recipe: Chicken Verde Stew with Hominy

Make-Ahead Dinners: Curried Chickpea Stew with Brown Rice Pilaf

Photo: John Autry

Curried Chickpea Stew with Brown Rice Pilaf

This curry hails from the Indian region of Punjab. The cardamom pods puff up to almost twice their size and float to the top, so they're easy to find and discard before serving. When making ahead, wait to cook the brown rice pilaf until you are ready to eat.

View Recipe: Curried Chickpea Stew with Brown Rice Pilaf

Make-Ahead Dinners: Lamb Tagine

Photo: John Autry

Lamb Tagine

Serve this Moroccan-style lamb stew with two cups hot cooked couscous. To make-ahead, prepare the tagine and then freeze or store in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat. Prepare the couscous just before serving.

View Recipe: Lamb Tagine

Make-Ahead Dinners: Minty Tomato Soup

Photo: John Autry

Minty Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is a great make-ahead dinner because it freezes and stores so well. Just thaw and reheat when you are ready to have some serious comfort food without all the work. Give the soup a quick stir before serving. Cheesy toasts add a bit of extra protein to this end-of-summer soup.

View Recipe: Minty Tomoto Soup

Make-Ahead Dinners: Creamy Chicken Salad

Photo: John Autry

Creamy Chicken Salad

Make this chicken salad to have on hand for a quick and delicious dinner. Most chicken salad recipes pack the fat and calories, but our Creamy Chicken Salad requires poaching the chicken, which keeps it moist and succulent, so you'll need less dressing to bind the salad.

View Recipe: Creamy Chicken Salad

Make-Ahead Dinners: Beer-Braised Brisket with Honey-Lime Glaze

Photo: José Picayo

Beer-Braised Brisket with Honey-Lime Glaze

To make ahead, prepare through step 2, cool slightly, and chill. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, and proceed with step 3.

View Recipe: Beer-Braised Brisket with Honey-Lime Glaze

Make-Ahead Dinners: Crab and Vegetable Gumbo

Photo: John Autry

Crab and Vegetable Gumbo

The gumbo-blend vegetables contain chopped celery, onion, bell pepper, corn, and okra. If you can't find this particular blend, substitute a mixture of frozen okra and corn. Making the gumbo ahead will do the flavors well. Just slowly heat when you are ready for dinner.

View Recipe: Crab and Vegetable Gumbo

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