The collage of 39 Meals to Make in 30-Minutes or Less was such a hit that I decided to further the collage theme and put together my top 42 meals that can be made ahead of time (thanks to my friend, Allyson, for suggesting this!). Many of you are out of the house nearly all day and come home to the dinner hour with no extra time to spend whipping up a meal. And grilled cheese and hot dogs can only be eaten so many days in a row before bad things happen, in my opinion. The meals below should help you with that dinner crunch conundrum. All of these meals can be made ahead in some form or another – some are slow cooker meals, some are meals I have successfully frozen and baked later, some can be assembled the night before or morning of and refrigerated until ready to bake. So peruse to your heart’s content and realize that dinner solutions are right here for the taking! (Hover over the picture for the recipe title; click on the picture – or right click and Open in New Tab/Window – to go to the recipe.)

As a sidenote, creating recipe collages just might be my new favorite hobby. It’s fun! And yes, I fully recognize I need to get out more, but I’m still left wondering what on earth I can collage next…

48 Responses to 40+ Make Ahead Meals!

  1. Kim in MD says:

    I love this post! Thanks for taking the time to collage your make ahead recipes, Mel! I personally love your new hobby! ;-)

  2. Deborah says:

    With baby #3 coming soon, you don’t realize how much this list is going to come in handy for me! Love it!!

  3. Stacie D. says:

    LOVE this, Mel! I can’t believe how many of these I have still yet to try. And there are some that have become favorite standbys and are already on the menu for this week! Thank you for this great resource!

  4. Carla says:

    Mel, you’re my hero! I’m probably the opposite of the rest of your readers; I’m single and even though I love to cook, cooking for one is no fun (I’m a farm girl, I like to cook big!). I’ve done a few make ahead meals before & frozen as individual servings. This post motivated me to do it again, these recipes are awesome! Thank you!!!

  5. Janelle says:

    Okay, so I’m really interested in the black bean and pumpkin chili. Could I just use ground turkey for it? And do you know if it freezes well?

    (I didn’t know if you’d see the comment if I left it on an old post.)

  6. Laurel says:

    I can browse the recipe index for hours and yet not see everything. This is just what I needed. This was a fabulous idea!! So many still to try. I’ve got my menu ready. I can’t wait. Thank you!!

  7. Laura says:

    I love both of these posts! I would love for you to do some menus for having company/guests for dinner. Thanks! I LOVE every recipe I have ever made from your blog. It is my favorite!

  8. Erin says:

    I LOVE all of your food. Thank you for all your time helping us out trying to feed our family good healthy food.

  9. Mel says:

    Janelle – I’ve never frozen the black bean pumpkin chili but I bet it will freeze fine and yes, you could use ground turkey.

  10. Ashley says:

    This is kinda blowing my mind. I think you have single handily conquered my weekly menu planning dilemma. Thanks!!!!

  11. Laura D says:

    Awesome idea – thank you!! Plus it’s reminding me of recipes that I’ve wanted to try.

  12. Stacy K says:

    I love your collages as yet another way to search your food, great idea! Thank you! Fall Foods &/or Fall Desserts would be a great collage…or any of the options in the “recipe categories” tab on the far right side-bar pull-down tab. (I’m a visual person, so seeing all the options on one screen is even easier for me to select what I want)

  13. Liz says:

    The thing I love about this post is that I already have two of the soups on my monthly meal plan for Oct, (I’m planned way ahead because a baby is on its way in a couple of weeks) one of the pastas doubled and frozen in my deep freezer, and another one of the chicken dishes ready to go for later this week. What would I do without your blog?

  14. sara says:

    Loving this – so great!

  15. Catherine says:

    Mel! I have been a faithful follower for a couple years now but haven’t commented yet. I was so thrilled with your 30 min menu because my husband and i are expecting our first baby and I have had a terrible time with nausea! I usually love to cook but have wanted simple fast things lately. This menu collage will go right along with that!! We LOVE your recipes and you are on our dinner table at least 3 times a week I am always recommending you to friends. Thank you for the work you put into your blog and sharing all these great meals with us. You have definitely made me a better cook and we look forward to family dinner time every night!! :)

  16. Leigh Anne says:

    This collage ROCKS! I’m also getting really hungry looking at it. Thanks for all of the work you put into organizing this…..I will refer to this for years to come :)

  17. Heather says:

    I love your website and get so many recipes from here. Thanks for taking the time to do that!

  18. Randee Donovan says:

    I fully support your new hobby!!! Thanks!

  19. Kate says:

    I love the constant influx of great and delicious ideas from your site. Thank you! Do you have any sense of how healthy (or unhealthy) some of these are? I’m curious whether any of these entrees are under 500 calories.

  20. Pamela A says:

    Thank you so much – I love your site and the collection of great recipes that I want to try them all!. I love the montage of meals that you put together, this will make my life so much easier. I’ve been trying to work overtime at work but after work 11+ hours then going home to face trying to get something together – I can’t wait to try these. THANK YOU!

  21. Janelle says:

    Thanks!

  22. Jen T says:

    Awesome! Thank you so much! I have the pineapple salsa chicken in my crock pot for tonight! Thanks!!! Hope the house hunting is going well!!

  23. Mel says:

    Kate – I don’t keep track of the nutritional info. Sorry!

  24. Cammee says:

    I love you.

  25. Natalie says:

    You are a saint! Thank you, thank you!

  26. Lisa Maria says:

    Oh my goodness..thank you, thank you, thank you for this! I left the webpage up so I could browse through and my husband and children can’t wait for me to try some of these. God bless you Mel!

  27. Kensi says:

    This is awesome!!! I’ve having a baby in 4 weeks and I need to get busy with the make ahead meals!!! Also, you haven’t heard from me in awhile because we’ve been in transition, but I still LOVE your blog and recipes! And good news, we are now living in the USA so I can try all of the recipes that I haven’t been able to in the past! Good luck with the hotel again this weekend… I hope you guys can get settled soon! :)

  28. Andrea says:

    Loving the recipe collages! Thank you!

  29. Rhiannon says:

    Oh my gosh! This post came at the perfect time :) I have gone from being a stay at home mom for the past 9 years to my 3 kiddos to working full time 40 hours a week! A shock to my system for sure! And this is exactly what I have struggled with- what to prepare for dinner that isn’t a sandwich but that also doesn’t have us eating at 8:00 at night! I can’t wait to try these out. Thank you!

  30. Jen T says:

    We loved the pineapple salsa chicken! Thanks! Looking forward to trying some more next week!

  31. danielle says:

    well…I am a big fan of the lists. And if you ever decided to make more I’d vote for: best recipes to feed a crowd, fun recipes to serve for book groups, best choices for baby blessing luncheons, and best foods to serve when you need to impress someone. :) haha

  32. Megan says:

    I politely request a fall food collage….pumpkin, soups, halloween treats….oh, and then later, do a thanksgiving and Christmas one. Love these collages.

  33. Keia says:

    I’m new to your site and i have to say..you have insipired me to get in the kitchen and start cooking.. so many recipes and the pictures are making me hungry!! Thanks

  34. Nanc says:

    Thanks. I am using the ones I can freeze to stock my daughter’s freezer for after child birth.

  35. Dani says:

    Wow! Just stumbled across your website…what a fantastic find! Making your slow cooker balsamic pork tenderlion tonight and I have pinned your 42 make ahead meals. So helpful! Thanks!

  36. Kelly Grace says:

    Just wanted to add my thanks for your 30 minute meals and the make ahead meals.
    May I suggest a collage of your favorite Holiday recipes?

    Beautiful blog.

  37. [...] 40 make ahead meals Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in DIY, healthy, Holidays, inspiration, Recipes | Tagged easy fast recipes [...]

  38. [...] Cacciatore, Cookies, Enchiladas, Burgers, Baked Ziti, Chicken Chili, and Pizza Dough, a list of more than 40 freezer meals!, 10 recipes of potatoes, chicken, Italian, etc., 5 different recipes and instructions to make [...]

  39. Grammy7 says:

    I just keep clicking around tho see that adorable baby! if you havent seen her look in Mushroom Lasagna with white sauce, now I have 7 grandkids but this ones delish I mean the baby

  40. I just found heaven! Thank you for all of these!!

  41. Diana says:

    Love your website. Why haven’t i found it sooner? I too love to cook and am constantly looking for new ideas and stumbled upon your 40+ Make Ahead Meals. Thank you for sharing and making it so easy to navigate!

  42. Jonathan says:

    Dang, the photography of these meals alone is making me drool. I really enjoy making meals that can be prepared ahead of time as much as possible as it cuts down the clutter of making everything all at once.

  43. This is great! My husband and I both work full time AND on top of it we are starting our small farm operation so sadly, cooking dinner has fallen by the wayside. This list is great! I’ve already started compiling a grocery list to make a bunch of these over a weekend and have two weeks of meals ready. Thank you for creating this list, they all sound delicious! :-)

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