15 Make-Ahead Dinners to Get You Through the Work Week

updated May 29, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

My secret to getting dinner on the table during the work week is simple: I lean hard on a weekend meal prep session and a roster of recipes that are loaded with make-ahead moments. On the busiest weeks I look for recipes that can be made completely in advance and reheated throughout the week — like soup, frittatas, and shredded chicken. But it’s also helpful to get a jump-start by making the components of a recipe ahead of time, and then finishing it off with a bit of light cooking during the week, like roasting a batch of cauliflower for tacos or prepping the veggies and sauce for pastas or stir-fries.

Here are 15 of my favorite make-ahead dinners.

Make It All Ahead and Reheat

These are the meals you want to keep on your radar for the busiest of weeks. Whether it comes together on the stove or in the oven or slow cooker, these dinners can be totally prepped and cooked in advance, so all that’s left to do is reheat before digging in. In fact, many of these recipes are even better after they’ve had a day to sit and give the flavors extra time to meld.

Get a Head-Start and Finish It During the Week

Your weekend meal prep session is a great time to get a jump-start on dinner. Even if you don’t have time to cook entire meals in advance, you’re still in luck. Instead, take the approach of prepping components, like cooking some chicken breasts or a pot of lentils or grains, or even chopping up the vegetables for a stir-fry. This type of prep makes weeknight dinners a whole lot easier to pull off.