8 Excellent Make-Ahead Meals

These recipes freeze particularly well, so you can cook up a big batch, serve some right away, and save the rest for an easy second meal

Angela Brassinga
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Savor now and later

Everyone likes to have a great few make-ahead meals in their cooking repertoire. After a long day of work or play, it’s nice to know you can get a home-cooked meal on the table with little fuss. A slow-cooker is a great tool for getting your dinner started ahead of time, but it’s not the only solution. Soup, stew, and chili are also great make-ahead choices because they’re just as delicious when reheated after a day or two of chilling and they freeze well, too. Another way to get a jump on dinner prep is to keep a batch or two of your favorite pasta sauce in the freezer for last minute meals. Click ahead for our favorite make-ahead meal ideas.

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Devilish Chorizo Chili with Hominy

Chili is one of the best make-ahead dishes, as the flavors only get deeper on consecutive servings. If you can’t find yellow hominy, you can use white hominy. Some folks skip the hominy altogether and use beans or a combination of beans and corn. This chili can be made up to two days ahead of serving.

Recipe: Devilish Chorizo Chili with Hominy

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Smoky Beef-and-Bacon Chili

This dish is a favorite among Sunset readers and staff. It’s easy to make and simply delicious. Best of all, it freezes well so you can enjoy it any time. Who wouldn’t love to come home to a bowl of this on a chilly evening?

Recipe: Smoky Beef-and-Bacon Chili

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Campanile’s Spaghetti and Meatballs in Red Sauce

Divide the meatballs and sauce in half before freezing and you’ll have enough to feed four people twice. These meatballs are intended for pasta, but they’re perfect for in a sub sandwich, too.

Recipe: Campanile’s Spaghetti and Meatballs in Red Sauce

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Slow-Braised Beef Stew with Mushrooms

Asian flavors make a stew that’s elegant enough to serve to company. Readers tell us this one is a crowd pleaser.

Recipe: Slow-Braised Beef Stew with Mushrooms

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Moroccan Vegetable Stew

Crockpots are not just for meat lovers! Vegetarians will love this hearty colorful stew. It’s loaded with nuts, dried fruit, and six vegetables. Get your week off to a good start by making this your Meatless Monday dinner.

Recipe: Moroccan Vegetable Stew

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Spinach, Leek, and Potato Soup

Julia Child’s recipe for potato leek soup can’t be beat, but freezing cream soups can be tricky. We love stocking our freezer with this easy-to-make bright green version. It’s full of color, flavor, and vitamin A.

Recipe: Spinach, Leek, and Potato Soup

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Spicy Shredded Beef

This juicy tasty beef was created as a sandwich filling, but it’s also perfect in tacos or burritos. The recipe makes 6 to 8 servings, so you can serve half and then freeze the rest for a second meal later in the month.

Recipe: Spicy Shredded Beef

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Braised Pork with Lemon and Sage

Pork shoulder is tastiest when cooked slowly. We like it with polenta, but it’s also great served with pasta or thick slices of crusty bread.

Recipe: Braised Pork with Lemon and Sage