Favourite make ahead meals?
April 24, 2019 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Looking to make 3+ weeks worth of meals all in one massive cooking session. Ideally they'd be something that only needs reheating from frozen but the first couple of days could be refrigerated (specifically I had the idea of gathering a couple dump and push start instapot meals into a container or two). Links to specific recipes would be greatly appreciated.

So far we have a chili recipe we like and we're considering doing a lasagne. And we have frozen veggies that we can use as a side for any meals that aren't all one dish.

I'll also be making KD with ground beef or turkey; corn and broccoli.

No real dietary restrictions.
posted by Mitheral to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Several of these are on our regular meal planning rotation, particularly the cilantro-lime chicken, coconut lime chicken, and chicken cauliflower curry. (All of them can stand an extra shot of chili flakes or chopped hot pepper, they're a little bland.)

I make large batches of carnitas (not bothering to sear beforehand) and freeze pressed out flat in freezer bags so I just have to toss it on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and broil. We make tacos with it mostly, with bag salad or curtido, which is better after a couple weeks.

This Spicy Honey Garlic Chicken is mall food court Chinese, but it's good in that context.

I usually don't love chicken breast in the IP, but I like this caper chicken, and I think it would also work to freezer prep and cook from frozen.

Every other week or so one of my meal prep meals is a bunch of roasted vegetables with tomato meat sauce and cheese. I don't have a recipe, but I make a vat of the stuff to mostly keep in the freezer. I also make an egg casserole with cooked breakfast sausage, maybe some roasted vegetables, cheese, diced avocado (yes, just right in it) and topped with sliced roma tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:07 PM on April 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is my favorite type of meal prepping. Some ideas:

I recently made this butter chicken recipe for the first time, and it was great. Maybe not the most authentic, but it is tasty, and it freezes very well. (I froze it in individual serving size portions; I also made a large batch of rice, and froze the rice in individual portions.) I doubled the recipe; I think it's pretty easy to scale up or down as needed.

I also make a chicken tagine based loosely on this recipe. I increase the spices 1.5x or 2x, and I use chicken stock in place of water. Again, it freezes incredibly well. You can either make the couscous fresh when you want to eat it or freeze in portions like with the rice.

Chili is another great option, but it sounds like you have that covered.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:24 PM on April 24, 2019

Once I made a whole bunch of rolled up wraps that could just go straight into a toaster oven for 5-8min and they were great for single-serving meals to grab fast. A lot of it was corn, chopped omelette, strips of peppers, beans, salsa, braised tofu, chopped cheese - I picked ingredients that froze and melted well, and then made sure to seal each wrap firmly to prevent freezer burn. Also remember to write your variations on the labels if you do different flavours or you will find yourself eating the super-spicy wrap when you expected the mild.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:53 PM on April 24, 2019

I usually roast 2-3 chickens a month (mmmmmmm, that crispy skin!), throw the bones in a plastic baggie and freeze them. Once I've collected 2-4 months' worth I spend a weekend afternoon making stock (plenty of recipes out there but I do something more or less like this, though I let it simmer more like 3 hours). Then after straining it I parcel it out into multiple 5-qt plastic containers (leaving expansion room) and freeze them - if containers are at a premium, once the stock is frozen I find I can fit two blocks into a single gallon zip-lock bag, and bonus: it takes up less room in the freezer.

(Alternatively, if that's work you don't care to get into, Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock is the next best thing.)

The point being that I have very tasty stock available whenever I want it use it, for instance, as a base for a wide range of soups (kale soup is a personal favorite, with good old chicken noodle a close second; both freeze well) or to cook rice in (seriously, it's awesome) for use in/with a zillion different meals.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:13 PM on April 24, 2019

Tamales are easy to make, freeze well, and have the advantage of being portable, should you need a lunch to take to work.
posted by monotreme at 11:28 PM on April 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Veggie korma can be frozen and reheated. I make it with chickpeas or black beans but you could sub chicken. You can even buy simmer sauce to make it easier.

Second butter chicken as well.

I make seasoned taco meat already cooked, then freeze, and it's easy to dethaw and add corn chips or tortillas for minimal fuss. I like to make a huge batch then portion into serving sizes that fit my family.

Stew, soup, spaghetti sauce all batch cook well. Maybe try Moroccan stew and minestrone?
posted by crunchy potato at 3:58 AM on April 25, 2019

Make a big instapot full of your favorite burrito type filling. We tend to do something involving a pork butt. Make burritos, we add beans & rice wrap in tinfoil then plastic & freeze. We heat them in the foil in the oven but you can microwave them too if you prefer. Sometimes we pour over a jar of salsa over them while in the oven if the urge grabs us.

You can always just make the meat & freeze it too. When you want to eat it just defrost slightly int he microwave & spread it out on a sheet pan in the oven to defrost & brown slightly and make tacos or burritos or a burrito bowl with it. Cooked rice freezes well too. So you have the basis of a bunch of easy quick dinners.
posted by wwax at 7:34 AM on April 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Dinosaur Barbecue jambalaya! Makes a big batch, freezes well. I can't find a recipe online but here's a video: Kickin' Chicken and Ham Jambalaya.

I'm sure any jambalaya would freeze well, that just happens to be my go-to.
posted by lyssabee at 9:01 AM on April 25, 2019

This instant-pot pork chile verde is delicious and easy.
posted by exceptinsects at 6:27 PM on April 25, 2019

Slice eggplant, drizzle with olive oil plus salt & pepper, then bake until tender.

Serve later in sandwiches, or tossed with pasta, or mixed into other stuff to turn storebought stuff into a Meal.

It’s already mushy, so freezing it is fine.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:24 PM on April 25, 2019

Lyn Never: "This Spicy Honey Garlic Chicken is mall food court Chinese, but it's good in that context. "

This was a hit; we'll probably make more sauce next time for the same amount of chicken.

We also made Pork Dragon noodles (everything but the noodles) a family favourite. And Chili and Lasagne. And a couple tyoes of burrito.

My daughter has requested the butter chicken so we'll be trying that next month and I'll work my way down the other suggestions.
posted by Mitheral at 5:36 PM on April 27, 2019

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