You may think of creating make-ahead meals as a kind of cold weather activity. Perhaps you already store big batches of wintry soups or chilis for later. To me, there’s something satisfying about a freezer full of homemade food. But in summer, I don’t always feel drawn to the kitchen. Surely I have something better to do?
For the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with make-ahead recipes. Call me efficient, or call me lazy. But there are plenty of reasons I like stocking my fridge or freezer with ready-to-heat foods.
- Life is unpredictable and I forget or are unable to pick up groceries
- Planning meals makes my shopping process faster and more efficient. I figure out what I’m making and just buy the necessary ingredients.
- I rarely waste ingredients because I already know how they’ll be used
- I spend less time cooking overall
- I eat better because what I make is healthier than anything I buy
- I like coming home and knowing I don’t have to do anything but heat something up
- My kitchen gets hot in the summer. I hate being hot.
- When I get back from a vacation, even if I don’t have groceries, I know there’s something in the freezer I can eat
- I create make-ahead recipes I already know I like, so no disappointment
- I can mix-and-match my make-ahead foods for variety
- I feel like I have my act together in at least one area of my life
- I have more time to do things I want to do in the evening. Like watch Difficult People or take walks or fill in gaps in my musical knowledge
- Less cleanup
- I save money because I use my ingredients more efficiently and order takeout less often
- I order takeout, delivery or go out to eat because I want to, not because I don’t have any other option
- People are unbelievably impressed when they open my freezer
- I’ve found that I’m more likely to cook if I have food either prepped to cook or already made
- I enjoy cooking more when I don’t *have* to do it
Not to mention, because I’m a chef, people have actually hired me to do their meal and ingredient prep for them. So I not only do this in my own life, but I’ve done it for others. Either way, I feel like you can’t underestimate the value make-ahead meals have to your time and health, whether you do it yourself or have someone else take care of it for you.
Are you a make-ahead meal fan? I’m developing a 4-week program called The Sunday Six where I show you how to prep easy make-ahead ingredients. Curious? Sign up here and I’ll send you a note when it’s ready.