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New Year’s Resolutions from the Test Kitchen:  To Master Make-Ahead Meals
Our Test Kitchen experts are looking forward to a great new year, including making some changes—both big and small—in the kitchen.

See other stories in this six-part series
Becky's Resolution: To Entertain More and Worry Less

Marge, Test Kitchen Team Leader

Marge's Resolution: To master make-ahead meals

Marge already loves her slow cooker. And she keeps her freezer stocked with one- or two-serving containers of meals ready to use when time is short. But, she says, this year she hopes to be even more diligent about serving make-ahead meals.

“It relieves my workday stress,” she says. “If I’m tired, I don’t have to worry about what to cook. It’s so nice to go home and thaw out that container of chili.”

Chili and soups are popular make-aheads, of course, but Marge prefers her spaghetti sauce, which she simmers in the slow cooker for five hours, then portions up and freezes. Shredded pork and turkey, for example, can be used in sandwiches, stir-fries and many other dishes. And, those frozen packs of rice she currently buys in the grocery store are providing inspiration for Marge to freeze her own single-serving packages of rice.

“Families should think about their favorite meals,” Marge says. “Whether that’s lasagna or tacos, you can make a big batch all at once, eat some on the day you make the recipes and freeze some for later. I do a lot of larger-quantity cooking on the weekends. It becomes a meal for that day or night, and the rest goes in the freezer, so it doesn’t feel like it really adds anything to my schedule.”

Marge shares her make-ahead tips here. Some of the Test Kitchen’s favorite slow cooker recipes include Slow Cooker Smoky Butternut Squash Soup and Slow Cooker Barbecue Turkey Buns.

What’s your 2013 kitchen resolution?


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