Feeding your family with a full time teaching job isn’t easy. You get home from school and just want to collapse after a long day in the classroom. The last thing you feel like doing is spending an hour in the kitchen preparing supper. Make ahead meals are the solution to your problem. These cold weather make ahead meals will keep you warm and give you time to relax in the evenings.
Cold Weather Make Ahead Meals
“What’s for dinner?” Those are the first words out of my son’s mouth every day when I pick him up after school. My response used to be, “I don’t know.” When we got home, I would dig through the refrigerator and pantry for 2o minutes looking for something to make. It usually ended up being a processed meal, like Kraft Mac and Cheese or a frozen “heat and eat” meal.
Some nights, I couldn’t find anything in my kitchen, and we ended up going out to eat. That was usually at least 2 times a week. Eating out with 2 kids and 2 adults gets expensive fast! Plus, it’s not as healthy as eating homemade meals.
Something had to change, but I didn’t want to cook after teaching all day. That’s when I decided to start making meals over the weekend. I go grocery shopping Saturday morning and spend an hour or two in the kitchen making all of our meals for the week. By noon, my refrigerator is stocked, and I have the rest of the weekend to enjoy with my family.
This week, the weather has been freezing. That always makes me crave hearty foods that are going to keep me warm. These are the cold weather make ahead meals I chose.
Monday – Chicken Taco Grande
Mexican foods are a favorite at my house. My kids love tacos, fajitas, and quesadillas. I decided to try a different type of taco when I found the recipe for Chicken Taco Grande from Pillsbury. The crescent rolls are really easy to use, and this was ready in about 10 minutes. Now, I just have to pop it in the oven for 25 minutes after work, and dinner will be ready. With some sour cream and salsa, this will be a delicious dinner on Monday.
Tuesday – Fettuccini Alfredo and Chicken Parmesan Mini Meatloaves
We don’t go out to eat nearly as often anymore. However, I still crave foods from my favorite restaurants. The Olive Garden’s Fettuccini Alfredo is one food I miss. I found a copycat recipe from Genius Kitchen, and it tastes just like the original! I made it with the Chicken Parmesan Mini Meatloaves from Once a Month Meals. Served with a bag of Steamfresh veggies, this is a delicious homemade version of my Olive Garden favorite.
Wednesday – Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Spinach
Soup is necessary for cold weather, and the Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Spinach from Yellow Bliss Road sounded delicious! Plus, it was really easy to make. I just threw everything into the pot and let it boil while I made the rest of the food. We sampled the soup, and it’s so yummy! Wednesday night I will make the little toasts to go it, and this will be the perfect dinner.
Thursday – Butternut Squash Chili
I love trying new chili recipes, and it’s another great meal for cold weather. I found the recipe for Butternut Squash Chili from Add a Pinch and decided to try it. The grocery store had some pre-cut butternut squash. Normally, I try to buy whole fruits and veggies at the grocery store instead of having them prepared. That saves some money. However, cutting squash isn’t my forte. I tried it once and it took forever. With my pre-cut squash, this recipe was ready in about 20 minutes.
Friday – Italian Bread Pizza
Friday night is pizza night at my house. We used to order delivery every week, but now I try to make it at home most of the time. This week, I got a loaf of Italian bread for ninety-nine cents. The kids will help me top it with sauce, cheese, and toppings. Yes, mushrooms are their topping of choice, but you can choose anything your family likes. After broiling in the oven for 5 minutes, dinner is ready.
Dessert – Banana S’mores
Ok, so this dessert isn’t really make ahead, but it takes less than 5 minutes. Plus, it can help you stay warm on these cold nights. We love eating s’mores on chilly evenings around the campfire, so I decided to make a different version of them in the oven. Just peel a banana and cut it down the middle without cutting it all the way through. Put it on a piece of aluminum foil and fill it with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. Broil it for about three minutes. Keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn. I like my marshmallows a little bit charred, though. You can sprinkle it with graham cracker crumbs when it’s ready. These are so good!
Ready for the Week Ahead
Now that my refrigerator is full, I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the weekend. When I get home from work, all I have to do is put a dish in the oven and let it cook while I play with the kids and get some grading done. I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner anymore.
Try these cold weather make ahead meals to make your week less stressful. You can even download a my grocery list at the bottom of this post. Just make a copy, and you can edit it to make it your own.
I also like to make snacks for school ahead of time. Find out how to prepare your own snack packs.
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What Do You Think?
What are your favorite meals to make for the busy school week?
Let me know in the comments below.
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Plus, download the grocery list to make these delicious meals!