What Are Some Good Make-Ahead Meals for Two?

Ask the TeamCooking for Two

Cooking for someone else often means challenging the way you think about dinner. Check out these ideas for healthy make-ahead meals for two.

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READER QUESTION: Any advice on making healthy meals for two elderly people who are not able to cook for themselves?

If I understand the question correctly, it looks as though you need healthy recipe ideas that can be made ahead of time, portioned out, frozen or cooled and easily reheated.

The good news is we have loads of recipes that will work. The tricky part is what you consider healthy. Here at Simply Recipes we believe a healthy diet is full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, a variety of animal and vegetarian protein, diary and healthy fats. Basically, if you make it from (mostly) scratch and eat the sweets and fried foods in moderation it’s healthy to us.

If you want to dig around for your own version of healthy check out Recipes for Healthy Eating page. You will find everything from Potato Leek Soup to Salmon Foil Packets.

If I were caring for someone and wanted to stock their fridge and freezer with food these are my top recommendations:

SOUPS AND STEWS

Soup is always good makes a big, batch and is easy to portion out into individual servings. It keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator and 3 months or better in the freezer. Here are some personal favorites:

SMOOTHIES

Smoothies are great for breakfast, a light meal when you’re not feeling well or a mid-day snack. You can easily make ingredient smoothie packets ahead of time so they are ready to go. Or you can blend the whole smoothie up, then freeze individual portions flat in ziptop bags.

Just take a bag out in the morning and set it on your countertop while you get ready for the day. Smoosh it together and pour it in a cup. If you’re going to make smoothies, it’s helpful to have a high-speed blender. Check out our Guide to High Speed Blenders to see if your blender fits the bill. I’ve listed a few favorites below, but you can find more smoothie recipes here.

CASSEROLES

We have a whole page dedicated to casseroles. Some are easier to portion and freeze than others. If you want to see the complete list check out our Casserole page. If not, here’s a few favorites to get you started.

CASUAL FOOD

If you’re looking for something really simple quesadillas are a wonderful option. I do this for my children. You can stuff quesadillas with anything. Cook them, then let them cool. Cut them into quarters, layer the quesadillas between pieces of parchment paper and freeze in a zip top bag. When you need one, take it out of the bag, pop in in the microwave for a minute and lunch is ready. If you want the tortilla to crisp up you do need to put it in a toaster oven or skillet on the stove top.

I hope that’s enough to get you started. Thanks for writing in!

Take care,

Summer, Senior Editor and lover of cooking for others

P.S. Have a question? Email us: [email protected]

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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One Comment

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  1. Gay

    Good ideas, Summer. May I suggest healthy muffins to go along with the soup. Using a loaf pan for lasagna is a great idea and is the just right size for Shepherds Pie, Macaroni & Cheese, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Chicken Casseroles (many right here on Simply Recipes). Seniors need plenty of protein so make sure it is included in the recipes chosen. When making your own family dinner, double the recipe and portion some out for the people you are caring for; that will help you to keep ahead. If making cookies or bars, set some aside to go along with the meal. Thinking of all of you who are not only taking care of yourselves but others too : )

Ask the Team Summer MillerWhat Are Some Good Make-Ahead Meals for Two?