Make-ahead Meals

What if you don't have much time to prepare your dinners during the week?  That's often the case with me, so here are a few things that help.  


Spinach, lettuce, and other salad greens:

Wash, pat dry, and place in a zip-lock bag (or container) with a paper towel on top of the leaves to keep them fresh. It's easy to take out the clean leaves and put together a salad.

Broccoli, okra, and other vegetables that need to be cooked a bit:

Wash and steam until bright in color, cool, and keep in a container in the fridge. These can then be chopped and added to salads, or topped with a little mayonnaise and cheese, briefly microwaved, and then grilled. Wasabi Okra is even simpler.

Main Courses

Sometimes I prepare meals on Sundays and sometimes I just make extra when I have time to cook during the week. Either way, it's easy enough to wrap and freeze meals. (Be sure to use freezer bags or other freezer-specific containers to prevent freezer burn through moisture leak.) Take them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge the night before. Heat them up in the microwave at meal-time.

Some easy make-ahead meals are:

Burritos (the favorite in my house
Enchilada pie
Filling for Mexican meals (Put in tortillas or whatever you like.)
Pasta sauce (Boil noodles on the day you need them.)
Stuffed Peppers
Dry Curry
Meat for gyudon
Fried chicken tenders
Shoga-yaki (Ginger Pork)
Pork with Salt Sauce
Chicken burgers
Karaage chicken
Shepherd's Pie

To perk up the crunchiness of the fried chicken tenders or karaage, if they are big or exceptionally cold, microwave for 20 seconds or so, and then carefully heat them up under a grill (like in a toaster oven).


If you don't have a rice cooker that you can set on timer to be ready at dinner, freezing cooked rice works really well. Wrap individual servings of freshly-cooked rice in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag in the freezer. Take directly from freezer and microwave, turning it a couple times until it is evenly heated. Be careful not to heat it too much, or the rice will get hard and rubbery.

Snacks and Breakfasts

Bread - sliced (Here's what I make in my bread machine.)
Rolls (If you have a bread machine and oven, you might like these. Otherwise, store-bought also freeze well.)
Granola bars (Our daily breakfast.)
Chocolate Banana Cake (Another breakfast favorite.)
Peanut butter Brownies

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