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