After a long day, what’s the first thing you want to do? My guess is you probably didn’t answer,
“Make a big, fancy dinner!”
One thing I like to do is prepare “Make Ahead” meals when I have a bit of time on a weekend. Here are two of my favorite recipes to make your evenings a little easier.
(Bonus: These leftovers reheat really well the next day!)
Mexican Stuffed Shells
Cook ground beef in a crockpot on low for 2-4 hours. Strain ground beef when cooked. Add taco seasoning & cream cheese into ground beef until mixed thoroughly. Boil your pasta shells for 9 minutes and let them cool. Scoop ground beef mix into pasta shells. (I have found a cookie scoop works great for this!) Lay the shells on a cookie sheet and flash freeze them by placing them into the freezer for 30 minutes or until they seem mostly frozen. When mostly frozen, put into a freezer bag and store in the freezer.
Day Of: Take as many or as few shells as you need. Put shells into an oven-safe pan, no thawing needed! Coat shells liberally with taco sauce and cover with tin foil. Bake covered shells at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Take shells out after 45 minutes and top with shredded Mexican cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Top with sour cream if desired and enjoy!
A friend of mine brought these to me while I was on maternity leave and they are now a favorite at my house! If I take a little time on a weekend to prep them, they are an easy meal to make on a weeknight or bring to a friend in need of a meal.
Make Ahead: Cut chicken into square inch pieces. (This will save you time on the day of cooking!) Mix salad dressing and soy sauce. Place chicken and 1/3 cup of mixture into a freezer bag. Add peanut butter, honey, crushed red pepper to remaining soy sauce mixture and bag separately. Mix shredded carrots, chopped green onions, and chopped cilantro in bag. Place the 3 bags into a gallon bag and freeze.
Day Of: Thaw bag of ingredients, overnight is best. Cook chicken on medium high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions. When pasta is cooked and drained, add it and extra bag of sauce to the pan with cooked chicken. Mix in bag of vegetables.
I first learned about this recipe when my friends and I got together to make freezer meals at Hy-Vee. Since then, it has won over my family and friends, especially those who are dairy-free!
The servings in this recipe are very large. We normally divide this recipe in half (then have 2 make ahead meals) and still have plenty for our family for dinner.
I hope that I could help make dinner time a little easier on you this week!
What are some of your favorite make ahead recipes we should try?