As the year marches on and the days shorten, cooking may start to feel less like a joyful pursuit and more like a chore. Give your future self a break from cooking two or three meals a day, every day, by making a big batch of something that will last the week in the fridge — or longer in the freezer.
Soups and stews are obvious choices, and you’ll find some of our favorites below, but I love making lasagna and freezing it in individually sized servings. Then, when I have a craving for saucy, cheesy layered pasta, it’s just a few minutes in the microwave away. The same goes for dishes like strata and other hearty casseroles, bean-based stews and long-roasted meats.
[Keep your cool come dinner time with these 8 freezer-friendly meals]
Here are a few meals to make ahead and eat throughout the week. Find more ideas in our Recipe Finder.
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Lasagna, above. Creamy goat cheese plays well with the earthy mushrooms in this lasagna, which gets some brightness from a sprinkle of lemon zest. This recipe, which comes from our Plant Powered newsletter series, makes nine servings, but it’s easy to double it in case you want to make extra and store it in your freezer for a rainy day.
[Real lasagna is a culinary marvel worth every minute of your time]
Pepper and Cheddar Clafouti. Like a crustless quiche, this cheesy clafouti is wonderfully puffy straight out of the oven, but leftovers can be wrapped, refrigerated and reheated in the microwave all week long. Try slices of it sandwiched between toast for breakfast, or spoon some onto a plate with a side of salad for lunch.
Pernil Asado. Slow cook a pork shoulder, in lots of garlic and herbs, Puerto Rican-style, and then shred it to eat all week with rice, potatoes, in a tortilla or between two slices of bread. It’s even great for breakfast: Spoon some into a skillet and let it get crispy before serving it with a fried egg on the side.
[Let’s slow things down a bit with hearty recipes made in a slow cooker]
Barbecued “Baked” Lentils. Sweet and tangy, barbecued baked beans are a year-round favorite. This recipe, which employs lentils and an Instant Pot, comes together in a fraction of the time. It makes eight to 10 servings and would make an easy lunch or simple side for dinner.
Pork Chili Verde. Lean ground pork speeds up this chile verde, which gets a variety of textures from beans and hominy, plus lots of flavor from cayenne, cumin, oregano and fresh cilantro. A batch makes four to six servings and lasts up to five days in the fridge.
[How to cook a flavorful pot of beans and use it throughout the week]
Chickpea Kichidi. This recipe, from Rasika chef Vikram Sunderam, uses pantry ingredients to great effect, producing a comforting mix of rice, beans and vegetables that would be ideal for lunch all week, with or without the yogurt raita.
[We challenged our favorite chefs to cook out of the pantry — ours, not theirs]
Mushroom Swiss Chard Strata With Gruyere. This savory, vegetable-laden breakfast bake can be assembled ahead and cooked in the morning, and it will last in the refrigerator for several days. Warm up individual slices in a skillet or microwave or reheat the whole pan in the oven.
Tuscan Bean and Kale Soup. Hearty and flavorful, this recipe from Samin Nosrat makes 10 cups of soup, or enough for six to eight servings, and lasts five days in the fridge. Bonus: It freezes well, too.
More from Voraciously:
7 easy breakfast recipes that can be made ahead
Instant Pot vs. Dutch oven: Which makes better food?
Ward off that seasonal angst by making one of these breezy apple recipes