20 Make-Ahead Meals That'll Make Weeknights Easier (And More Delicious)

Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole
Photo: Southern Living

Just because your weeknights are busy doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a home-cooked meal with your family. These make-ahead meals will help you keep your fridge and freezer stocked with delicious meals that can be on the table in a flash. Spending a few hours in the kitchen meal prepping on a Sunday afternoon will translate into stress-free weeknight dinners with no shortage of flavor.

These family-friendly casseroles, baked pastas, and soups are the weeknight superheroes you've been searching for. Nobody will object to a Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole showing up on the table, and there's no problem that our Quick Beef Chili can't fix. In a rush, but need to throw together a brunch? Our Bacon-and-Cheddar Grits Quiche is here for you. These easy make-ahead dinners will be there for you through thick and thin. Take it from us: setting aside a little time to prepare ahead of time can transform your weeknight from stressful to relaxing.

01 of 20

Baked Ziti with Sausage

Greek Baked Ziti
Greg Dupree

Recipe: Baked Ziti with Sausage

If you're looking to switch up your traditional ground beef and chicken dinners, sausage will add some variety to your weeknight menu.

02 of 20

Quick Beef Chili

Quick Beef Chili
Becky Luigart Stayner

Recipe: Quick Beef Chili

In addition to making dinner a breeze, prepping chili ahead will also allow ample time for the flavors meld, resulting in maximum flavor.

03 of 20

Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Recipe: Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole

The chopped almonds and Cheddar cheese are only added during the last 5 minutes of baking, so be sure not to add them before freezing this casserole.

04 of 20

Easy Taco Soup

Easy Taco Soup
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Easy Taco Soup

Simply warm and serve with your favorite taco toppings for a winning meal that only requires a few minutes to reheat.

05 of 20

Extra Easy Lasagna

Extra-Easy Lasagna
Southern Living

Recipe: Extra Easy Lasagna

Assemble your lasagna the day before so all you'll have to do is pop it in the oven when you get home after a busy day.

06 of 20

Pizza Spaghetti Casserole

Pizza Spaghetti Casserole
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Pizza Spaghetti Casserole

An unbaked casserole can be frozen for up to one month before serving. The day before you're ready to serve, thaw in the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking as directed.

07 of 20

Basil Tomato Soup

Soup Recipes: Basil Tomato Soup
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Basil Tomato Soup

Just add a grilled cheese for a compete meal that no one will complain about.

08 of 20

Baked Smokin' Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Smokin' Macaroni and Cheese
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Baked Smokin' Macaroni and Cheese

Adding ham to homemade mac and cheese makes it hearty enough to serve for dinner. The ability to assemble it ahead of time makes it even more enticing.

09 of 20

Shepherd's Pie with Potato Crust

Shepherd’s Pie with Potato Crust
Greg Dupree

Recipe: Shepherd's Pie with Potato Crust

Preparing the filling ahead of time will allow you to serve this impressive dish in record time.

10 of 20

New Tuna Casserole

New Tuna Casserole
Greg Dupree

Recipe: New Tuna Casserole

If making ahead, we recommend not adding the potato chip mixture until right before you put it in the oven.

11 of 20

Chicken-and-Brisket Brunswick Stew

Chicken Soups Chicken-and-Brisket Brunswick Stew
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Chicken-and-Brisket Brunswick Stew

This stew is hearty, comforting, and comes together in just one pot. Need we say more?

12 of 20

Bacon-and-Cheddar Grits Quiche

Bacon-and-Cheddar Grits Quiche
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Bacon-and-Cheddar Grits Quiche

Whether you want to serve breakfast for dinner or want to serve a hot morning meal that requires little prep time, this cheesy quiche can be baked up to two days in advance.

13 of 20

Easy Chili

Easy Chili
Lee Harrelson

Recipe: Easy Chili

We always keep a few quarts of this chili stocked in our freezers.

14 of 20

Tomato-Basil Lasagna Rolls

Tomato-Basil Lasagna Rolls
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Tomato-Basil Lasagna Rolls

Roll ups are a more fun (and more cheesy) way to serve lasagna. Equally as fitting for an elegant dinner for two as they are for supper with the kids.

15 of 20

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Bolognese

Simple Suppers Challenge: Quick and Easy Spaghetti Bolognese
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Quick and Easy Spaghetti Bolognese

If you have this Bolognese on hand, you'll just have to boil your choice of noodles when you're ready for a quick spaghetti dinner.

16 of 20

White Chicken Chili

White Lightning Chicken Chili
Becky Luigart Stayner

Recipe: White Chicken Chili

Meal prepping is even easier when your slow cooker does most of the work for you.

17 of 20


Creole Jambalaya
Melina Hammer

Recipe: Jambalaya

Prepare as directed and store in a 9x13 baking dish for a one-dish dinner in a flash.

18 of 20

Chicken Cobbler Casserole

Chicken Cobbler Casserole
William Dickey

Recipe: Chicken Cobbler Casserole

Rotisserie chicken will help your meal prep come along even faster. Since it's prepared in a square baking dish, this casserole won't take up as much valuable space in your fridge or freezer.

19 of 20

Hearty Beef and Freezer Veggie Soup

Hearty Beef and Freezer Veggie Soup
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Hearty Beef and Freezer Veggie Soup

Let this hearty soup simmer low and slow on Sunday afternoon and you'll have a warm dinner to look forward to every night.

20 of 20

Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole

Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole
Southern Living

Recipe: Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole

This make-ahead casserole only takes 23 minutes to prepare. Whip it up once and you'll soon have it constantly stocked in your freezer for busy days and last-minute company.

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