1. Mix & Freeze Biscuits: There aren't many meals that don't benefit from a rich biscuit by their side. Mix them ahead and freeze them in individual portions or an 8x8 pan, so they can go straight from freezer to the oven. If you don't have freezer space for something like this, make sure this 15 minute cream biscuit recipe is on standby, make a little gravy while they're baking and dinner is served.
2. Pre-Chop & Freeze Mirepoix: No, it doesn't really take that long to cut up a few carrots and celery stalks and who doesn't have an onion laying around? What? We used the last one earlier this week. Dang! If only I had a pre-chopped bag of mirepoix in the freezer to fall back on!
3. Make A The Meatballs!: That was our poor attempt at an Italian accent (you should hear our German... look out!), but there isn't a dish that's made more lavish with the addition of a hearty meatball. It will only take you the time for water to boil for pasta while you reheat some homemade meatballs in the sauce of your choice. Heck, forget the pasta all together and make your own meatball subs... toasted with extra melty cheese? Yes please!
4. Make Sauce Cubes: Most sauces can be frozen into ice cube trays and popped out into plastic bags for easy storage. Cook something low and slow during your holiday activities and then freeze it off for nights where there isn't even time to contemplate dinner, let alone make it. In combination with a meat or pasta, you're all set (psst, you can even make those ahead too and make your own bagged meals ready to heat and eat)
5. Buy Eggs: Eggs are so darn versatile that they can turn a simple pantry staple into a meal in just a few minutes. Chop the weeks leftovers and add them to a pan with a little egg and you have a newly invented frittata. Plus, if you already have biscuits premade and frozen, you have breakfast for dinner good enough to feed even the most hungry cowboy in your home.
Related: 10 Quick and Easy Stir-Fry Dinners
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)