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12 Easy Make-Ahead Meals for Parents and Families

Freezer meals, bulk cooking, and hearty recipes that kids will love

Published on: December 11, 2013

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Fresh veggie lasagna by Iowa Girl Eats

Mom Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats shares her go-to farmers’ market veggie lasagna — and it’s easy to see why this is a dish that she froze for herself in preparation for baby! Featuring fresh, nutritious zucchini and summer squash, with fat-free cottage cheese and a simple marinara sauce, this lasagna is both light and filling — making it an ideal make-ahead choice for veggie-lovin’ new moms.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Green chile chicken enchiladas by That's Some Good Cookin'

Mexican dishes can be both hearty and healthy — and that’s exactly why we love these green chicken enchiladas included on That’s Some Good Cookin’. Holding up great as a make-ahead meal, these cheesy, filling eats are made with thick wheat tortillas, chicken breast and lots of delicious Latin flavors. See the full post for the recipe and extra links for Mexican-style rice and homemade refried beans.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Mini meatloaf cupcakes by First Look, Then Cook

Mom Dawn of First Look, Then Cook shares her tips for creating these adorable meatloaf cupcakes — and these savory bites are sure to please the new parents in your life who are in need of quick eats. (Dawn says that these were an undeniable hit with her kids!) Putting a clever spin on the classic meatloaf, these cool snackers are made in muffin tins with all of the traditional fixin’s, and then they’re topped with ketchup and mashed potato frosting. See Dawn’s full post for helpful tips on making your own mini loaves.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Beef stew with carrots and potatoes by Once Upon A Chef

A classic dish chock-full of root veggies, this beef stew featured on Once Upon a Chef will nourish tired new parents during those first couple of transitional weeks. A meal that traditionally feeds a crowd and works great as a freeze-ahead dinner, this beef stew is roasted slowly in the oven and finished off with white potatoes and carrots.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Tuna pasta casserole without soup by Pinch My Salt

When it comes to comfort eats, nothing quite beats a homemade tuna casserole, and we love this one featured on Pinch My Salt. Cooked from scratch without the traditional can of Campbell’s Soup, this freezer-friendly dinner is instead made with a simple roux and offers plenty of delicious bites with mushrooms, peas, chunk tuna, egg noodles and cheddar cheese. Plus, it makes enough for at least eight servings, allowing new parents meals for days.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Quick beef and bean burritos by Mel's Kitchen

Skip the freezer aisle and consider making your own homemade heat-up burritos with the help of Mel’s Kitchen. Made with from-scratch cilantro rice, whole pinto beans, lean ground beef (or turkey) and traditional Mexican spices, these whole-wheat burritos are quick and easy to make.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Mini frittatas by The Girl Who Ate Everything

Working with friends to create a variety of freezer-ready dishes for the mama-to-be in your life? Take a tip from The Girl Who Ate Everything and make sure breakfast is accounted for with these adorable mini frittatas. Easily made with a standard muffin tin and your choice of favorite breakfast ingredients such as ham, bacon, spinach, tomatoes, and beyond, these little morning snackers are great for a light bite and an entire batch can be made in less than half an hour.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Sausage, bean, pasta soup with spinach by Simple Bites

Another one-pot meal that is a proclaimed pick straight from the new mama’s mouth is this hearty rustic soup featured on Simple Bites. Easily cooked up with Italian sausage (or chorizo), small pasta, spinach (or kale) and kidney beans, this warm, filling meal is topped off with freshly grated parmesan. Plus, creative mom and home cook Aimee says that this dish not only freezes well, but it can be made in under 20 minutes.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: individual pot pies by Simply Scratch

Hearty, nutritious and sure to keep a new mama going during that first hectic week, these individual chicken pot pies shared on Simply Scratch are the perfect prepare-ahead comfort food! Made with poached chicken breasts, carrot, celery, onion, peas, corn and fresh herbs, this recipe skips the canned soup component yet includes all of those favorite, homey flavors that’ll calm any new-parent nerves.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Spicy white turkey chili by Pip and Debby

Hoping to add a little kick to your make-ahead meal? Don’t miss out on this spicy white turkey chili featured on Pip and Debby. Simply prepared with lean ground turkey, cannellini and butter beans, green pepper and 3–4 finely chopped jalapeno peppers, this one-pot meal is perfect for the new parents out there who love some extra zing.

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Smothered pork chops by Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Busy mama of five, Mel of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, shares her go-to recipe for smothered pork chops made in the slow cooker — and we have no doubt that this dish will go down as a make-ahead winner! Cooked on low for eight hours (or on high setting for four), this delicious dinner offers moist, tender pork chops with a thick gravy and bacon topping. But really, who could say no to that showing up on the doorstep?

Make-ahead meals for new parents: Chicken penne pasta with sun-dried tomatoes by Ezra Pound Cake

Give the new mama in your life a home-cooked meal to remember with this baked penne dish featured on Ezra Pound Cake. Including lean chicken breast meat, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, this dish can freeze for up to three months, making it an excellent make-ahead pick!

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