THE LAND O'LAKES BLOG — Bringing inspiration to those who share our love of good food. —
Make Ahead Meals – No Stress Involved!
At the end of a busy day, do you find yourself gazing into your refrigerator, wondering what to make for dinner? Even if you put meat in the fridge to thaw in the morning, or have some staples in your cupboard, it can be a chore to pull everything together.

Here's one solution to take the stress out of planning and making meals. Think about cooking on the weekend when you might have more time to spend in the kitchen. Take advantage of that time, and do some big-batch cooking on Saturday or Sunday. Then freeze lunch or dinner portions that can be pulled out at the last minute for heating and eating.

We’ve pulled together some tips to help you with cooking on the weekend:

  • First, select the recipes you want to make. Look for recipes that will make a quantity large enough for several lunches and dinners, or choose recipes that you can easily double. A favorite recipe is Spicy Black Bean & Chicken Enchiladas. The recipe makes 8 servings; pack the enchiladas into dinner-sized portions or individual portions so they can be eaten for lunch.
  • Cooking on the weekend doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work in the kitchen all day. Take advantage of the slow cooker and treat your weekend guests to Slow Cooker Reuben Sliders. The leftover corned beef can be packaged in plastic containers, frozen, and served as a weeknight hot sandwich meal.
  • Include recipes that freeze well. Hearty soups, stews, pot roast with vegetables, meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, anything with chicken or shredded pork, or even barbeque ribs are just a few suggestions. And while we’re on the topic of freezing foods, make sure you have resealable containers for freezing family-size or individual portions. Take inventory of what you have, and purchase what you need. I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, some for dinner-sized portions and small ones for the single lunch portions.

make ahead meals

Vegetarian 15 Bean Chili


Once you’ve chosen your recipes, make a shopping list and head to the grocery store. There’s nothing more frustrating than beginning the food preparation, only to find you’re missing some key ingredients. Don’t forget to add containers to your list if you need them.

make ahead meals


Now it’s cooking day. Once I have the recipe made, I serve it for a meal that day and freeze the remainder. Or, I prepare a recipe and pack it into individual serving containers, so it’s ready to pack for a lunch. Label the food packages with the contents and the date you put them into the freezer.



That's all there is to a stress-free mealtime! In the morning before school or work, simply take a meal out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for a simple dinnertime solution. For lunches, just take the individual portion out of the freezer and place it into your lunch bag. It will be nearly thawed out by lunchtime. Then, let the microwave do the heating and enjoy!


Your friend thought you might be interested in Make Ahead Meals – No Stress Involved!


Your friend thought you might be interested in Make Ahead Meals – No Stress Involved!
Back to Top

• Leave a Comment •

Please correct the item(s) in red below:

Please note, all submissions are screened for content deemed appropriate by Land O'Lakes. Comments are published within 3 business days.

Thank you, your comment has been submitted for approval

• Comments •

Can you please tell me what the soup is on the left, looks delicious? Thanks.


Posted Dec 15 2012 by Heather
Test Kitchen Comment


The recipe on the left side of the picture is Seven Vegetable Soup. Here is a link to the recipe. Glad I could help!
Posted December 17, 2012

Which recipe is that on the right? It looks like a potato soup? Can you post the link so I can add it to ZipList? Thanks! Tina 'the book lady"

Posted Dec 10 2011 by Tina
Test Kitchen Comment


Hi Tina, The soup on the right is Tuscan-Style Bean Soup. Type the name into our search bar and it will take you to the recipe. Enjoy!
Posted December 13, 2011

The Simple Rewards® Club is your personal online resource for exclusive offers and information. It’s also our way of saying “thank you” for trusting Land O’Lakes and inviting us into your home. Membership is free, so sign up today.

FREE Sign Up Includes:
  • Our Measuring Cup® Newsletter Preview »
  • Money-Saving and Exclusive Offers
  • Online Recipe Box

Already a Member? Sign In.


YES. Send me the Measuring Cup® Newsletter.
Cancel and Go Back

Forgot Your Password?

Please correct the items(s) in red below

    We'll email instructions to the address you used to register.

    Reset My Password Cancel and Go Back

    Confirmation Email Sent

    We've sent a confirmation email to the address associated with your account. Check your email and follow the link within 3 hours in order to complete the password reset process.



    Starting February 15th, you will not be able to access your Simple Rewards account due to routine site maintenance. Accounts will return to normal functionality on February 29th.

    Thank you for visiting

    Not a Simple Rewards Member? Join Now. Forgot Your Password?

    Check Your Email

    Look for an email soon with instructions to reset your password.

    If you did not receive the email, please check your email junk folder (just in case) or contact us.

    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.

    Please correct the item(s) in red below

    *These fields are required


    Your question has been submitted.

    Close Window