FOOD

Make Ahead Dinners 4 Ways

Just a little pre-planning gives you days of yummy meals, from chicken burritos to stuffed bell peppers and more.

FOOD

Make Ahead Dinners 4 Ways

Just a little pre-planning gives you days of yummy meals, from chicken burritos to stuffed bell peppers and more.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups store-bought marinara sauce
  • 1-pound bag frozen four-cheese ravioli
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare an 8x8-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Ladle a third of the marinara sauce into the bottom of the pan, followed by a third of the frozen ravioli.
  4. Ladle another third of the sauce over the ravioli, and sprinkle half the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the sauce.
  5. Repeat with one more layer, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately or bring to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for an easy make-ahead meal.
  8. To heat from frozen, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until warmed through.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup store-bought salsa
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (11-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (4 1/2-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 cups Mexican shredded cheese blend, divided
  • 12 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, divided
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Steps

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, shredded chicken, salsa, beans, corn, chiles, cumin, chili powder and cheese.
  2. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Fill the center of each tortilla with the chicken and rice mixture.
  4. Top with sour cream and wrap tightly.
  5. Roll each burrito in plastic wrap and freeze for a make-ahead meal.
  6. To reheat, unwrap the burrito, cover with a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes until warmed through. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup jarred marinara sauce
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
  • 1 cup cooked orzo or brown rice
  • 6 medium red bell peppers
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a 9x9-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the sausage to the preheated pan and sauté for 4 minutes until the sausage is just brown.
  5. Add the diced onions and cook for an additional 4 minutes until the onions are fragrant and the sausage is cooked through.
  6. Stir in marinara sauce and spinach and simmer uncovered on medium-low heat for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once the spinach has wilted, stir in beans, orzo and a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn off the heat while you prepare the peppers.
  8. Cut off the top 1/2 inch of each pepper and remove the ribs and seeds. Place hollowed out peppers into the prepared baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Fill each pepper with sausage mixture and top with a layer of mozzarella.
  10. Sprinkle each pepper with Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning, and cover with aluminum foil.
  11. Bake the peppers for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until peppers are tender and cheese is bubbling, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  12. Freeze the baked and cooled peppers for a make-ahead meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup frozen broccoli, defrosted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (17.3 ounce) box puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli, sour cream, black pepper and salt. Set aside.
  3. Unwrap one sheet of puff pastry on a floured work surface.
  4. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the pastry lengthwise into 3 equal strips, then cut each strip in half crosswise for a total of 6 equal-sized rectangles.
  5. Transfer the rectangles to prepared baking sheet and repeat with the other sheet of pastry.
  6. Mound 3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of 6 puff pastry rectangles. Make sure to leave a 1/2-inch space along the edge of each rectangle.
  7. Brush the edges with beaten egg and top with the rest of the rectangles. Gently crimp the edges of each pocket with a fork.
  8. Cut small diagonal slits at 1-inch intervals along top of the pockets. Brush top and sides of pockets with beaten egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  9. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
  10. Bake pastries until puffed and light brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.
  12. To freeze the pockets, allow them to cool to room temperature, transfer to an airtight bag and return to the freezer.
  13. To reheat, microwave one pocket at a time for 3 minutes on high.