“Batch cooking” and “make-ahead meals” are growing in popularity on Pinterest boards across cyberspace. With today’s hectic schedules and pricy restaurant meals, it’s no surprise why! Beyond just the ability to prepare meals ahead of time, preparing make-ahead meals can also help ensure that you are feeding your family nutritious, home-cooked meals at a moment’s notice. For that reason, we compiled a list of 14 favorite slimmed down, make-ahead recipes.
1. Easy Chicken and Rice Casserole: Even the simplest of suppers are easy enough on a busy night. This recipe is meant exactly for that! Have this ready in the freezer, warm it up, and dinner is served. Here's the recipe.
2. Twice Baked Potato and Broccoli Casserole: Everyone loves twice-baked potatoes, but there is just something about a casserole that rings of coziness and comfort. This recipe, with only 312 calories per serving, is a simple way to satisfy your twice-baked lovers with an easy dish for everyone to share! See the recipe here.
3. Slow Cooker Creamy Potato Soup: Potatoes, carrots, onion and cheddar cheese are the stars of the show, all coming together for a delicious texture and taste. We used 2% evaporated milk as a skinny swap for whole milk or heavy cream; it gives you a thick and creamy soup base with fewer calories. Click here for the recipe.
4. Skinny Red Pepper Slaw: Sometimes the main course is easy to throw on the grill and prepare, and it’s the side dish that can take some time and effort. Avoid the urge to pop open a can of boring vegetables and have this skinny red pepper slaw prepared. The fresh, flavor and colorful presentation will add a pop of excitement to any meal and the taste is simply divine! Here's the recipe.
5. Skinny Baked Mac Cheese with Broccoli: A slimmed down comfort food classic that can be prepared ahead and frozen until you are ready to throw it in the oven for immediate devouring. Packed with high fiber pasta and broccoli, this dish is not only filling, but delicious. Hearty enough for a one-dish dinner. Yes, please! Here's the recipe.
5. Overnight Breakfast Casserole: Breakfast has never been so easy with this Southwest Overnight Breakfast Casserole! Ham, peppers, onions and tomatoes all come together with the creamy, comforting cheese for a breakfast everyone in your family will love. Here's the recipe!
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7. Make Ahead Lunch Wraps: We haven’t forgotten about the mid-day lunch rush. Before you grab a Hot Pocket out of the freezer, be sure you have these make ahead wraps available. Make a skinny swap and use whole wheat tortillas to make this skinny approved, and enjoy! (via AllRecipes)
8. Protein Pancakes: A great post-workout meal or simply a healthy pancake alternative to serve the family, serve them up with fresh fruit and enjoy a quick protein-packed power breakfast. Here's our recipe.
9. Skinny Mac and Alfredo: Another Skinny Mom favorite is the Skinny Mac and Alfredo that serves savor without guilt. This dish can be prepared and frozen to be baked when ready to serve. Here's the recipe.
10. Skinny Veggie Spaghetti: Skinny Veggie Spaghetti, you say? It can be done. The best part of this recipe is the flavor. The second best part is that it's less than 250 calories per serving for a filling, Italian meal. The third best part is you can make ahead and store in the freezer! (via The Londoner)
11. Chicken Kale Casserole: This healthy recipe serves up enough for THREE freezer friendly meals but can easily be altered to make less. The chicken and kale combo offer a nutritious combination that will feed the family on a whim! (via Glue Meets Paper)
12. Freezer Burritos: You see them in the freezer aisles at the supermarket and may be tempted to grab as a quick meal on the go. No need for that! Control your ingredients and follow this recipe to create your own individually wrapped burritos that will satisfy a sneaky Mexican craving in a pinch. (via Five In Tow)
13. Buffalo Quinoa Casserole In A Jar: The mason jar salads are rising in popularity, but don’t limit yourself to salads. This casserole recipe is not only tasty and perfect for a make ahead meal, but it’s portable and easy for grab-and-go meals on the fly. (via Heartbeet Kitchen)
14. Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties: Another delicious quinoa recipe, this one is even made to appeal to kiddos as Go Running Mama demonstrates how these filling patties can be cut into shapes that make the kids squeal with delight while they scarf them up! (via Go Running Mama)
For more freezer-friendly options, head over to our recipe index!