A busy week has nothing on you when you're prepared with these super smart recipes.
August 30, 2011
1 of 17Photo: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.