Sample weekly meal plans are here to show you the way when it comes to planning dinners for your family that will accommodate the craziest of weeks. This collection of make ahead meal plan recipes uses the meal planning by category framework outlined in my Family Meal Planning Strategies post.
When you know the week ahead is going to be a hectic one, putting some time in on the weekend is a great strategy. Stock the freezer with a few meals that can be thawed overnight and reheated. Chop some veggies so that they are ready for simple sides. Have Monday night's dinner in the fridge waiting to start the week off right.
Three categories of meals that are perfect for a make ahead meal plan are soups, no-cook dinners, and casseroles. They can be prepared in the evening or frozen ahead of time and still taste great after reheating.
Soups Are Great Make Ahead Meals
The first category of meals I turn to for a make ahead meal plan is soups. You can make a batch big enough for both dinner and leftover lunches and most thaw well.
This Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup is hearty and packed with veggies my kids love. Add some crusty bread and warm up the thawed soup and dinner is ready in 15 minutes from the time you walk in the door.
Farro, Sausage, Kale, and Bean Soup is another delicious soup that freezes well. It's a complete meal in a bowl, so simply reheat it and serve for a quick meal after a busy day.
No-cook Dinners for Quick Prep
These meals are perfect for chopping up the night before and storing in the fridge for the next day.
A salad is great for families with picky eaters. This Chicken and Cabbage Salad has lots of variety so everyone can pick and choose what goes in their salad. Make the dressing and store it in a jar and place the chopped veggies on a platter. Leave any crunchy bits to add last-minute.
Prepare a big batch of Pecan Chicken Salad and you can easily make sandwiches or open-faced cheddar melts when everyone tumbles in the door hungry later. Add some chips and veggie sticks and your meal is ready in a flash.
Casseroles Are Make Ahead Wonders
Casseroles are popular with families for a good reason. They are hearty and delicious and fare well to preparing ahead. They often freeze well too!
This Broccoli and Chicken Divan can be put together with rotisserie chicken or canned chickpeas as the main protein. Its delicious served with rice or over a baked potato!
Chiles Rellenos Casserole actually tastes better and cooks up tender after spending some time in the fridge before baking. I like to serve this with refried beans or a spiced up rice.
I'd love to hear what dinners from this make ahead meal plan make the cut in your home. Leave your favorite casserole recipe in the comments, or tag me on Instagram or Facebook @planeatpostrepeat the next time you manage to get dinner on the table in 15 minutes or less!