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Try These Make-Ahead Meals for Your Busy Family

From on-the-go breakfasts to crockpot dinners, here are easy meals that are also healthy

Published on: November 03, 2015

I don’t know about you but when school is in session, I’m busier than ever and don’t exactly have time to make three meals plus snacks Every. Single. Day. I also don’t want to eat out a lot or rely too heavily on convenience food.

My fix: Make my family’s meals ahead of time.

I find that our household runs best if I can pull things out of the freezer when things get crazy. I try to focus on making meals that can be easily doubled (or even tripled) and stuffed in the freezer for later. Here’s a list of my favorite recipes that help keep my family fed and my kitchen running.

Photo credit: Reebecki Supergirl

Never skip (or skimp on) breakfast!

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day but it can also be the hardest! Having an assortment of oatmeal muffins, eggy frittata muffins, overnight oats, healthy breakfast cookies and smoothie freezer packs in the freezer helps.

Photo credit: Reebecki Supergirl

More than just PB&J

Packing lunch doesn’t need to be that old school staple of PB&J. Spice it up with some homemade Hot Pockets, freezer burritos and instant noodle cups. Try making and freezing a big pan of sweet potato black bean enchiladas. Or up your salad game thanks to The Kitchn.

Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain

Quiche me!

A quiche is an easy make-ahead breakfast, lunch or dinner. Throw a few salad greens alongside and you’ll have a meal to look forward to all day long.

Cheesy Quiche

  • 1 pie crust
  • 4 slices of bacon, cubed
  • 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt pepper
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 bunch basil, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup ricotta cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out your pie dough into a quiche pan or pie pan and set aside. Fry the bacon until golden brown and set aside to cool on paper towels.

Next, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add the heavy cream along with salt and pepper. Stir in the parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes and basil.

Scatter the bacon in the bottom of the pastry shell before adding the egg mixture. Top with 8 to 10 spoonfuls of ricotta.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is set and turning golden. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

To freeze: Bake as above. Let completely cool. Wrap in plastic and foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain 

Go granola

When tummies begin rumbling in the early afternoon, it’s best to have snacks already on hand. This delightful oatmeal cup recipe is full of delicious ingredients that freeze well. Make triple the recipe and you’ll be set on snacks for weeks.

If granola bars are more your thing, try this Smitten Kitchen recipe for a real crowd-pleaser. 

Photo credit: Reebecki Supergirl

Wheatless wonder

Kids and grown-ups alike will go nuts for these coconut date energy bites. Make a batch and stick in the freezer so the next time your snack hounds come sniffing, you’ll be prepared.

Also popular, Oh She Glows hearty granola bars or, my personal favorite, wheatless energy bites.

Photo credit: New Leaf Wellness

No time to cook? Use the crockpot!

Feeling that dinnertime crunch? Let your crockpot shine. Here is a huge collection of delicious and healthy crockpot recipes

Photo credit: Gimme Some Oven

And that’s not all!

Crockpot spaghetti can be started after school but before evening craziness begins. Add a warm baguette and a bagged salad and you’ll have a meal sure to please the entire family.

Or prep this white enchilada casserole or creamy caprese quinoa bake the night before.

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