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Home Cooking
25 Make-Ahead Freezer Meals Perfect for Quick After-Work Dinner
Thriving Home
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The workweek is hectic. Rather than resorting to Seamless or defrosting yet another packaged meal, wouldn’t it be nice to have a home-cooked dinner after a long day at the office? You don't need to bust out the measuring cups and skillet to make that happen; freezers make everything a little bit easier! This roundup of some of our favorite make-ahead freezer meals, including vegetarian and vegan options and adaptions, will let you enjoy something delicious every night of the week, without having to cook after work. Make them for yourself, or share them with friends and family.

Pro tip: Many of these make great bring-to-work lunches or potluck dishes, too! 

25 Make-Ahead Freezer Meals

1. Zucchini pizza casserole

Source: Taste of Home

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 40 minutes

Total time: 60 minutes

Combining a healthy favorite — zucchini — with everyone's favorite comfort food — pizza — this delicious, filling casserole is sure to be a household favorite. Make this ahead of time, throw it in the oven when you get home, and you'll have a tasty meal in no time.

Get the recipe

2. Breakfast burritos

Source: Damn Delicious

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Pro tip: These aren't just for breakfast! They can be a great lunch or dinner, too. Packed with lots of protein — eggs, beans and cheese — plenty of tater tots (who would have thought?) this breakfast burrito is filling, easy-to-make and prepare ahead of time, freezer-friendly and super convenient. Plus, you can store them for up to a month.

Get the recipe.

3. Pesto tortellini bake

Source: Happy Money Saver

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Combining three of my absolute favorite ingredients, pesto, alfredo sauce and tortellini, this dish is filling and super easy to prepare ahead of time. It can be made vegetarian or with chicken and will be a definite crowd pleaser.

Get the recipe.

4. Thai coconut squash soup

Source: Salt and Lavender

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Yum! Creamy, sweet, smooth and just a little bit spicy, this vegan soup is the perfect freezer meal. Just defrost, heat and serve with your favorite optional garnishes.

Get the recipe.

5. Green Goddess Chickpea Burgers with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Source: Baked Ambrosia

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Much lighter than your traditional burger and packed with flavor, veggies and protein, this delicious chickpea burger can also be made vegan if you skip the tahini yogurt sauce. Doesn't it look beautiful, too?

Get the recipe.

6. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Source: The Girl on Bloor

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes

A fall favorite, this twist on a satisfying comfort food makes eating mac and cheese healthy...right? Either way, it's yummy and will fill you up (deliciously so). There's also a vegetarian option.

Get the recipe.

7. Spinach and cheese stuffed shells

Source: Kristine's Kitchen

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Add spinach to traditional stuffed shells to make this dish a little bit healthier and put some veggies in your diet. Make a big batch of these ahead of time and have meals for weeks to come.

Get the recipe.

8. Sweet Potato Peanut Stew

Source: Pinch of Yum

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: varies based on cooking device

Doesn't it just look beautiful? With so many spices and ingredients, this stew is packed with flavor (and nutrition). Great for cold weather, you'll enjoy it in the summer months, too.

Get the recipe.

9. Crock Pot orange chicken

Source: Six Sisters' Stuff

Made pretty much entirely in your Crock Pot, here's an orange chicken recipe that is sure to wow you. It's the perfect make-ahead freezer meal to come home to.

Get the recipe.

10. Vegetarian Quiche

Source: SweetPhi

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

You'll have plenty of choices for how to customize this simple yet satisfying vegetarian cheese, including types of vegetables and cheeses to include. It freezes beautifully (just cut it up into individual slices first), too. Meat-lovers can add prosciutto.

Get the recipe.

11. Potato leek soup

Source: SkinnyTaste

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

This is high on my list of favorite soups. Comforting and simple to make, potato leek soup is a crowd (and individual) pleaser. There's also a vegetarian option for the meatless among us. 

Get the recipe.

12. Slow cooker chicken tikka masala

Source: Fit Foodie Finds

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 3-8 hours

Total time: 3–8 hours plus 10 minutes

Hearty and healthy, this tasty and flavorful meal won't take a lot of legwork. It freezes for a long time, so you can make plenty in advance and have it whenever it's most convenient for you.

Get the recipe.

13. Sunday night stew

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

Total time 3 hours 15 minutes

Sunday night stew is made with roast and lots of other delicious ingredients. Serve it with mashed potatoes (directions are included in the recipe) for the ultimate satisfying meal. And you can eat this any night of the week — not just Sundays!

Get the recipe.

14. Make-ahead meatballs

Source: Day2Day Joys

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Meatballs are the ultimate meal of convenience, and you can make them ahead of time and freeze them, too. Serve any way you like (check out some of the ideas in the photo and recipe) for the perfect make-ahead-of-time dinner.

Get the recipe.

15. Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Source: Pinch of Yum

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

In this vegetarian spin on the meat version, you'll pack your peppers with quinoa, black beans, enchilada sauce, cheese and spices and choose your preferred toppings. They're easy to make and a super-convenient freezer meal. Plus, they are extremely healthy yet still totally satisfying.

Get the recipe.

16. Chicken divan

Source: The Humbled Homemaker

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 1 ½ hours

Total time: 2 hours

Get the recipe.

What's chicken divan? Well, it's pretty divine is what it is. This recipe yields six servings, perfect for more than a week of dinners or serving your family a home-cooked meal.

17. Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Source: SweetPhi

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 ½ hours

Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes

The ultimate in satisfying, chicken enchilada casserole is so easy to make, and you'll be glad you did. All you need to do after work is take it out of the freezer and pop it in the oven. And then it's done and ready for you to enjoy!

Get the recipe.

18. Chickpea butternut squash fajitas

Source: Sweet Peas and Saffron

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Fajitas with butternut squash, onions, peppers and other veggies? Yes, please! Serve these with avocado, salsa, yogurt and other delicious toppings for the perfect meal. They're quick and easy to assemble.

Get the recipe.

19. Tortilla Soup

Source: Thriving Home

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

A vegetarian version of classic, this meal is cheap, healthy, easy-to-make and completely wonderful. It's also the perfect freezer meal and a great option for groups as well as solo dinners.

Get the recipe.

20. Slow cooker cilantro lime chicken

Source: Damn Delicious

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 3-7 hours

Total time: 3–7 hours plus 10 minutes

Simple and quick (prep time-wise), this vibrant dish is the perfect solution to unwinding after a long workday. The veggies and fresh flavors will make you glad to come home after a productive day at the office. 

Get the recipe.

21. Shrimp and veggie stir fry

Source: Smart Money Mom

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Easy and quick to prepare and cook, this stir fry is tangy, sweet and nutritious. Freeze bags and bags ahead of time to have meals for days to come. Your skillet will thank you!

Get the recipe.

22. Salmon and sweet potato cakes

Source: Thriving Home

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 6 minutes

Total time: 26 minutes

Adapted from Rachael Ray's recipe, these cakes are slightly sweet and spicy. The recipe authors note that kids love them, too. Add some tartar sauce to make them extra special and tasty.

Get the recipe.

23. Vegan Crockpot chili

Source: Sweet Peas and Saffron

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 6 hours

Total time: 6 hours 15 minutes

Perfect for winter (or really any time), this chili will keep you full and happy for a long time. Vegans and meat-eaters alike are sure to enjoy it, and with tons of vegetables and protein from the beans, it's both healthy and a crowd-pleaser.

Get the recipe.

24. Slow cooker split pea soup with ham hock

Source: Skinny Taste

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 hours

Total time: 10 hours 5 minutes

Especially during winter months, coming home to a bowl of smoky, fragrant split pea soup is an anyone's to-do list. This recipe is easy to make — just gather together your ingredients and throw them in the slow cooker. 

Get the recipe.

25. Baked spaghetti casserole

Source: Six Sisters' Stuff

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Whoever thought of making a casserole out of spaghetti is an absolute genius. You'll look forward to coming home after a long day at work to this totally satisfying meal. It also makes a great potluck recipe to share with friends and family. P.S. You can make it vegetarian by using regular sauce instead of the meat version.

Get the recipe.

Happy weekend meal prep!

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