My husband works late two nights a week, which leaves our year-and-a-half-old son and me on dinner duty together. Sounds like a sweet mommy-baby date, right? It often is, especially on the nights when dinner is super-simple: minimal cooking, mostly reheating, a leisurely meal (ha!) and lots of playing. My solution: meals I can make ahead, freeze and then just reheat. (Eggs and toast are always a backup!)
The thing about cooking ahead is that I have to set aside the time to cook at some point. But then, on crazy nights when we just need to eat, we have a meal that’s all ready to go. That’s an investment that pays off big for my sanity and satisfaction (usually leftovers too!).
My make-ahead strategy:
The week before: Look up recipes I want to eat the following week. Make a shopping list.
On Saturday morning: Shop for the ingredients I need (without the toddler).
Saturday and Sunday: Make two easy meals I can freeze. (For as ambitious as I may sound, I usually pick at least one really easy one and/or one I can make in my slow cooker.)
The next week: Defrost and enjoy! (With a vegetable side, of course. For super-simple ideas, check out How to Cook 20 Vegetables.)
Here are three of our favorite freezer meals.
What’s your dinner strategy for busy nights (besides takeout)? Tell us what you think below.