Here's a tip for smarter meal planning with a busy schedule: stock your freezer with homemade meals ahead of time that you can reheat and eat later. Try one of our 14 recipes that work great for make-ahead meals.
Black-Bean Turkey Chili
This healthy chili recipe is a great source of lean protein, and one serving has 460 calories. Chili freezes particularly well and makes an excellent make-ahead freezer meal.
This mildly spicy half-hour vegetarian chili is made possible by using convenient canned beans and tomatoes (no pantry should be without them). Whole-grain bulgur adds another layer of toothsome texture and nutritional heft.
Lentils seem to go with just about anything, and here they play well with a collection of greens and some cumin and coriander to add a gentle spicy note to this soup recipe. Portion out servings into individual containers before freezing so that you don't have to reheat the entire batch.
We love the rusticity of this gooey lasagna, packed with cheese and sausage. The style is called free-form because the pasta can be arranged in different ways—for instance, folded over the filling—instead of traditionally layered.
Comfort food favorite macaroni and cheese freezes exceptionally well. This recipe works beautifully with any semihard cheese but is particularly good with an international blend of French Mimolette, aged Dutch Gouda and American Vella dry Jack. A fine layer of Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano forms a crisp topping.
If you have a busy schedule, planning meals can be a challenge. One strategy is to stock your freezer with homemade meals ahead of time. You can double or triple the serving size to make large batches of food at one time, and what doesn't get eaten that day can be portioned out and put in the freezer. You can even try setting aside one day a week to make and freeze an entire week's worth of meals.
It is especially helpful to have a handy collection of recipes that freeze and reheat well. Foods like stews, casseroles, soup and baked pasta dishes are great choices, and some breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles work well. Avoid recipes heavy in milk or cream, and some ingredients like chunks of potatoes may lose their texture (check out these eight foods that don't freeze well). Try any one of our 14 freeze-ahead foods to have a home-cooked meal ready at any hour.
Check out the slideshow above to discover 14 make-ahead meals you can freeze and reheat.