5 Easy Make-Ahead Meals for Moms Who Hate Cooking

Raise your hand if you're a mom who hates cooking. 

*raises hand*

I have to admit that the older I am getting, the more I am accepting my lot in life. I've stopped stressing so much about cooking because I've realized a few things: 1) I don't have to be an amazing chef to be a good mom. 2) Overthinking cooking just makes it worse. And 3) the simple meals are usually the ones my kids love most anyways. 

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Nowadays, while I still don't love cooking, I am trying to make it a more enjoyable experience. Instead of rushing around trying to do a million things during dinner time and feeling stressed about it, I'm accepting that it's going to be pure chaos for a while, encouraging my kids to pitch in more and do things like make their lunches or set the table, and pouring myself a nice glass of wine. For me, getting through dinner time is about having a good rotation of quick and easy meals and doing prep work ahead of time if I can. That make-ahead meal life can be a life-saver. Want to give it a shot? Here are five easy make-ahead-meals to try if you know you have a busy night ahead or want a night “off.” 

Ham & Cheese Sliders

Image via Dairy on the Prarie

I recently added this ham and cheese slider recipe to our family dinner rotation and it has been a huge hit. Two tips for you: Hawaiian sweet rolls freeze really well, so stock up when they are on sale and also, this recipe is still delicious even if you don't have poppy seeds on hand. I have yet to make it with the actual poppy seeds and it has turned out great. 

I make the sandwiches ahead of time, then pop them in the fridge with some aluminum foil until dinner time. Then, a quick bake in a 350-degree oven until golden brown and we're good to go. If I have time, I also pair the sliders with some Instant Pot tomato soup

Crockpot Burritos

This is literally the easiest meal you will ever make. Throw 2 or 3 chicken breasts (you can even keep them frozen) at the bottom of a crockpot, cover with a layer of black beans (I use dry beans, but canned are fine, too!), add a jar of salsa, and top with some burrito seasonings like chili powder, cumin, garlic, and red pepper, and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred the chicken and voila! Instant burritos. If you're looking to skip the meat, just add more beans and veggies and mix in some cheese. 

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

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Image via Damn Delicious

Casseroles are the quintessential make-ahead meal and for good reason. Hearty, filling, and easy, they can make your night a little easier by keeping dinner contained to just one pan. This recipe calls for homemade Alfredo, but you could always save time by using canned. 

Ravioli Lasagna

Lasagna is also a popular make-ahead meal, but if I'm being totally honest, even the traditional lasagna version can be difficult for lazy old me. I came across this version that uses frozen ravioli instead of lasagna noodles and thought it was a great, easy twist on a pan (and fan!) favorite. Give it a try with a recipe from Stockpiling Moms

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Potato Soup

Soup is a wonderful meal to make in advance because it can warm all day in a crockpot, sit in the fridge and be reheated for dinner, or freeze in batches for quick meals later. Add a salad and a loaf of crusty bread and you've got yourself a meal you can be proud of. One kid-friendly soup option I've found can be adapted for picky eaters is potato soup. If you want a cheesy, not-super-calorie-friendly, but very easy route, try this crockpot potato soup option and feel free to load up on bacon toppings. Vegans or those wanting a little healthier option can check out this creamy potato soup made with vegetable broth. 

Do you have a favorite make-ahead meal?

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5 Easy Make-Ahead Meals for Moms Who Hate Cooking

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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