ThePrep: The Secret Stash of Leftovers in My Freezer Makes My Life So Much Easier
Your future self will thank you for these dinner recipes that intentionally make leftovers.
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I was running late for work last week, after a restless night and ensuing groggy morning, and needed something I could bring for lunch—fast. I opened my freezer and there was a single-serve container of leftover chili I had made the month before all ready for me to grab and take to go. On those days when I'm in a time crunch, the frozen stash of leftovers really saves me, be it for lunch or dinner. So this week, I'm intentionally cooking up tasty meals that make enough to cover dinner plus leftovers I can stock my freezer with for the future me.
Your Meal Plan
Chili, stews and soups—the recipes I make often when the weather cools down—are easy to freeze and sometimes taste even better the second time around. I like to portion out single servings in mason jars for freezing—this way I can pull out just what I need for lunch or dinner down the line. For the days when I'm wanting something other than soups or stews, make-ahead recipes like the Rice & Bean Freezer Burritos come in handy.
I have some but not a ton of room to spare in my freezer (a lot of space is being taken up by other frozen goodies, like fruits and veggies, homemade stock and the pork potstickers from Trader Joe's I always have on hand ?), which I assume is the same for you. So, half of the dinners for this week cover just what you'll need for that night.
Sunday: Curried Chickpea Stew*
Wednesday: Rice & Bean Freezer Burritos* topped with salsa & sour cream
Thursday: Linguine with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Friday: Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash* (Double the recipe if you want even more to freeze.)
The asterisks (*) indicate the recipes that make extra for freezing.
We're making shopping easier with a list of all the ingredients you need to make this week's meals. You can print it out, or just keep it on your phone when you hit the store.
Speaking of all the frozen fruit I have in my freezer, these easy DIY smoothie packs are a great way to make my morning easier. Prep the packs ahead of time and stash them in your freezer until you're ready to whir up a fruity breakfast or snack.
Get the Recipe: Make-Ahead Smoothie Freezer Packs
Because I still have apples I need to use up from when I went picking a few weekends ago—and this just looks amazing. To save myself some time, I'll use store-bought pie crust.
Get the Recipe: Brown Butter Apple Pie
Love this column, have a meal-prep tip you're dying to share or a question you need answering? Email me at ThePrep@eatingwell.com