One Month of Make-Ahead Meals

With our genius make-ahead meals plan, a single day in the kitchen cooking meats, veggies, rice and sauce will score you the building blocks for almost a month's worth of easy dinner recipes. Get all the recipes below, then pick any or all of the ones you like to create a customizable grocery list.
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With our genius make-ahead meals plan, a single day in the kitchen cooking meats, veggies, rice and sauce will score you the building blocks for almost a month's worth of easy dinner recipes. Get all the recipes below, then pick any or all of the ones you like to create a customizable grocery list.

THE BIG DAY

These simple guidelines map out the best way to cook up your five building-block recipes on Saturday or Sunday -- so you can get out of the kitchen faster than ever during the weeks ahead.
-- Get plenty of resealable sandwich-size and freezer storage bags when you buy your ingredients.
-- Get family and friends into the kitchen to help. Grown-ups and big kids can chop and little kids can help organize ingredients. Have everyone clean as they go!
-- Make the building-block recipes in the following order.

NOW WE'RE COOKIN'!

PORK: Preheat the oven and get the meat going.
TOMATO SAUCE: While the pork is in the oven, start the sauce so it can simmer at the same time.
VEGGIES: Next up, vegetable prep. Arrange the cut veggies on the baking sheets and, as soon as the pork is out of the oven, increase the oven temperature and pop them in.
CHICKEN: Have all the ingredients ready. If you need the baking sheets the vegetables are on, scrape the veggies onto a platter or cutting board to cool. Simply line the sheets with parchment and get roasting.
RICE: While the bird cooks, make the pilaf.

After you make your building-block recipes, you're all set to put together these superfast weeknight meals. You can cook any or all of them, in any order that pleases you, but if you follow the sequence below you'll get the most variety possible.

20 WEEKNIGHT DINNERS AT A GLANCE:

shrimp on rice

Spanish Rice with Shrimp

Use your tomato sauce, roasted veggies and rice pilaf

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meal

Mango, Pork and Watercress Salad

Use your pulled pork

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meal

Fusilli with Chicken and Tomato Sauce

Use your tomato sauce and pulled chicken

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tacos

Pork-and-Avocado Tacos

Use your pulled pork

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flatbread pizza

Butternut Squash-and-Spinach Strata

Use your roasted veggies

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stew

Easy Brunswick Stew

Use your pulled pork and tomato sauce

Get the recipe

flatbread pizza

Veggie Flatbreads with Hummus

Use your roasted veggies

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quiche

Lemon Chicken Frittata

Use your pulled chicken and rice pilaf

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burger

Pulled Pork-and-Slaw Sandwiches

Use your pulled pork

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soup

Creamy Chicken with Soft Polenta

Use your roasted veggies and pulled chicken

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soup

Pork and Ginger Noodle Soup

Use your pulled pork

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empanada

Cheesy Spinach-and-Pepper Calzones

Use your tomato sauce and roasted veggies

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meal

Pork Fried Rice

Use your pulled pork and rice pilaf

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fried eggs

Swiss Chard with Bacon and Eggs

Use your roasted veggies

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meal

Roast Pork-and-Veggie Burritos

Use your pulled pork, roasted veggies and rice pilaf

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meal

Warm Chicken Salad

Use your pulled chicken

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meal

Pork Chilaquiles

Use your pulled pork and tomato sauce

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tacos

Mediterranean Chicken Salad Pitas

Use your roasted veggies and pulled chicken

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meal

Rigatoni with Apple and Squash

Use your roasted veggies

Get the recipe

stew

Mexican Chicken-and-Rice Soup

Use your pulled chicken and rice pilaf

Get the recipe

The Basics

THE BASIC RECIPES:

PULLED PORK

Pulled Pork

More how-to's:

FREEZE IT! Divide the pork into 1-cup portions and transfer to resealable plastic sandwich bags. Pour a little pork juice into each, squeeze out the air and flatten. Seal and store flat in 2-gallon freezer bags.

USE IT! Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour, or pop into the fridge in the morning and let thaw all day. (The microwave can be used in a pinch.)

CHANGE IT UP!
-- Add some oregano or rosemary to the rub.
-- Marinate the pork in lime juice, soy sauce and ginger for 1 hour before roasting.
-- Toss the pork with adobo sauce, orange juice and beer in Step 2.
-- Toss the pork with some BBQ sauce in the last 10 minutes.

Get the recipe

TOMATO SAUCE

Tomato Sauce

More how-tos:

FREEZE IT! Store in 1- and 2-cup containers. (You’ll need at least two 1-cup containers.)

USE IT! Thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours, or pop into the fridge in the morning and let thaw all day. Or, if you forgot, run it under cold water, slip it out of its storage container and reheat in a small saucepan over low heat, or microwave it on the thaw setting.

CHANGE IT UP!
-- Add minced carrots with the garlic to sweeten the sauce.
-- Bump the red pepper to 3/4 tbsp. for extra spice.
-- Double the wine for a more intense flavor.
-- Stir in 2 small links chopped cured chorizo and omit the anchovies.

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ROASTED VEGGIES

Roasted Veggies

More how-tos:

FREEZE IT!Divide into 1-cup portions, keeping the pepper-onion mixture and the squash separate. Transfer to resealable plastic sandwich bags. Squeeze out the air and fl atten the bags. Seal and store flat in 2-gallon freezer bags.

USE IT! Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour, or pop into the fridge in the morning and thaw all day. (The microwave can be used in a pinch.)

CHANGE IT UP!
-- Brush the squash with maple syrup before roasting.
-- Toss the peppers and onions with hearty herbs like oregano or thyme before roasting.
-- Toss the roasted squash or the pepper mixture with leafy herbs like mint or parsley after cooking.
-- Toss the roasted squash with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds after cooking.

Get the recipe

PULLED CHICKEN

Pulled Chicken

More how-tos:

FREEZE IT! Divide into 1 1/2-cup portions and transfer to resealable plastic sandwich bags. Squeeze out the air and flatten the bags. Seal and store fl at in 2-gallon freezer bags.

USE IT! Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour, or pop into the fridge in the morning and let thaw all day. (The microwave can be used in a pinch.)

CHANGE IT UP!
-- Use hot or smoked paprika instead of regular.
-- Add a little bit of sesame oil in addition to the EVOO.
-- Substitute limes for the lemons.
-- Swap in tarragon for the thyme.

Get the recipe

RICE PILAF

Rice Pilaf

More how-tos:

FREEZE IT! Divide into 1-cup portions and transfer to resealable plastic sandwich bags. Squeeze out the air and flatten the bags. Seal and store flat in 2-gallon freezer bags.

USE IT! Thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or pop into the fridge in the morning and thaw all day. (The microwave can be used in a pinch.)

CHANGE IT UP!
-- Halve the amount of onions and add 3 minced jalapeños.
-- Use corn instead of peas and add chopped cilantro.
-- Swap in 1 cup white wine for 1 cup broth.
-- Add thyme or rosemary when cooking the onions.
-- Omit the peas and stir in chopped olives and toasted almonds.

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