8 make-ahead meals for busy families

8 make-ahead meals for busy families

With back-to-school season just around the corner, it’s time to get back to routine! To get a head start, head to the kitchen and whip up a few delicious meals that freeze well and are family approved! Your future self will thank you! On hectic days (or days when you simply don’t feel like cooking!) all you’ll have to do is grab a meal and pop it in the oven . . . that’s it!

Here are 8 tasty recipes that are easy to make in larger quantities and that freeze well. Some of them can even be made with our Prix Club products—an easy way to save money and make delicious home-cooked dishes!

Happy cooking!

1. Banana, nut, and squash bread

With this bread recipe, you’ll have a healthy breakfast option every day of the week! Ready in only 15 minutes, it features whole-wheat flour, oats, flaxseeds, fruits, and veggies. The whole family will love it!

Once your bread has cooled, slice it into 1 cm-thick pieces. Individually wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a large freezer bag. They’ll keep in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. When you’re in the mood for a slice, simply thaw a piece at room temperature and enjoy!

Grab a slice of this banana, nut, and squash bread during hectic mornings, or reheat it in the oven for a comforting, warm treat.

2. Carrot-raisin muffins

The whole family is sure to love these healthy, tasty, and filling muffins. Made fluffy and moist by the addition of yogurt, applesauce, and a generous helping of grated carrots, they boast a subtle hint of cinnamon and ginger.

Make them the star of hectic mornings and last-minute snacks. Simply wrap each muffin in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in an airtight container or bag.

These carrot-raisin muffins keep in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Thaw them at room temperature or in the microwave.

3. Pear and parsnip soup

This creamy soup is bound to become your kids’ new favourite meal! They’ll love the subtle and comforting parsnip and pear flavours.

This delicious soup keeps for up to 4 months in the freezer and is t2he perfect solution for busy weeknights. If you plan on freezing it, make sure to leave out the cream. Then, pour into airtight containers, making sure to not overfill. Once thawed, reheat the soup in a pot and add the cream. Garnish each bowl with a few sprigs of fresh thyme for added flavour.  

Serve this pear and parsnip soup as an appetizer, or enjoy it as a main meal with a slice of whole-wheat bread and some delicious Quebec cheese.

4. Broccoli, ham, and Swiss cheese quiche

This ham and broccoli quiche will add some flavour to your weeknight menu. When making this dish, prep enough dough, ham, broccoli, and eggs to triple the recipe.

Place the cooked quiches on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Next, individually wrap them in aluminum foil or freezer bags. They’ll keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.

When you’re ready to eat your broccoli, ham, and Swiss cheese quiche, don’t thaw it. Instead, place it directly in the oven, preheated to 375°F, and cook until warmed through.

5. Slow cooker chicken fajitas to freeze

Not only can you make this recipe in the slow cooker, but you can also double, triple, or quadruple it and freeze extra portions for later.

When making it, divide the mixture of chicken strips, crunchy peppers, corn, and seasoning in freezer bags, and freeze for up to 2 months.

The night before serving your fajitas, thaw the contents of one of the bags in your fridge. The next morning, pour everything into your slow cooker and cook on low heat for 7 hours. And there you have it—dinner in a flash! 

Serve this tasty slow cooker chicken fajita mixture with tortillas and your favourite toppings, such as shredded cheese and fresh avocados.

6. Simple tortellini soup

Prepped in only 10 minutes and ready to eat 15 minutes after that, this soup is a true lifesaver!

Simply simmer your veggies, meat, and broth in a large pot, then add a generous handful of tortellini pasta. If you plan on freezing your soup, don’t let it simmer too long as the ingredients will continue to cook when reheated. Pour into airtight containers, making sure to not overfill—the soup will expand when frozen.

Once frozen, this simple tortellini soup will stay fresh and flavourful for up to 3 months. Just before serving, garnish with spinach and Parmesan.

7. Fried rice with beef strips, broccoli, sweet soy sauce, and sesame

Fried rice is always a winner, so make sure to prepare extras to freeze for later—your family will thank you!

For this tasty recipe, make sure to have the following on hand: beef strips, red peppers, broccoli, bean sprouts, and several cups of rice!

The key to freezing rice-based dishes is to let the rice completely cool first. Then, prepare large square pieces of plastic wrap and fill each square with your divided mixture. Fold the squares unto themselves, creating small packets, and place them in an airtight container or freezer bag (make sure to remove the air from the bag). When properly stored like this, such dishes will keep in the freezer for up to one month. When ready to eat, simply pop one of your portions in the microwave and enjoy!

This recipe for fried rice with beef strips, broccoli, sweet soy sauce, and sesame is sure to become your new go-to for those busy weeknights!

8. Crispy peanut and Corn Flakes-coated chicken strips, carrot salad with buttermilk

We’re willing to bet the whole family will love this crispy chicken recipe! Tender and juicy on the inside, golden and crispy on the inside! Plus, this recipe fries up perfectly thanks to its Corn Flakes coating.

Double the recipe and freeze a portion for a quick and delish supper later down the line. Simply place the coated chicken strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer a few hours until chicken is completely frozen. Then, store the chicken in a freezer bag or airtight container. 

When ready to serve, let the chicken thaw in the fridge, then cook in your fryer for 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve these crispy peanut and Corn Flakes-coated chicken strips with their peanut sauce, for a filling and fun meal!

Cook in bulk thanks to our Prix Club!

Here are a few products that are perfect for preparing large batches of food and for saving money!

Master the art of freezing

Want to make freezer-friendly meals, but aren’t quite sure how? Here are a few FAQs to help get you started.

How do I preserve the freshness and flavour of frozen foods?

The key to freezing meals is using the appropriate containers. Whatever receptacle you choose—reusable bags, double-zipper bags, or containers—you want to make sure they’re made for the freezer, that way you’ll avoid freezer burn and your food will taste fresher, longer.

Prepare approximately 4 to 6 portions per bag or container. Consider using different size containers, that way you can freeze individual portions for your lunch or larger portions for family dinner.

How long does a dish keep in the freezer?

First off, make sure to always clearly identify each container, indicating both the date and what it contains.

Next, remember that not all foods keep in the freezer for the same amount of time. For example, cooked meat dishes, stews, and vegetarian dishes typically keep for 2 to 3 months, while soup keeps for approximately 4 months, and muffins and other baked goods are usually good for 2.

Discover other back-to-school tips and tricks.