A three-day weekend is nearly upon us! Like everyone else, I couldn’t be more thrilled. What do you have planned? You might be spending a few days out of town. (Don’t forget the travel snacks!) Or maybe you’re just looking forward to an extra day of sleeping in, making a lazy brunch at home, and parking yourself on the couch for a Netflix marathon.
Me, I’m going a totally different route. I’ll be hunkering down at home and taking advantage of the extra day to stock my freezer. Most weekends, my meal prep routine is about readying myself and my family for the week ahead. I like to cut down on cooking stress by getting a head start on dinners and prepping healthy snacks, and even some grab-and-go breakfasts.
But since I’ll have a little extra time on my hands this weekend, I’m going to use it to stock the freezer with meals and snacks that can be pulled out on busy weeks when I didn’t have a chance to plan ahead. If that sounds smart, you may want to join me. Here are 10 things I recommend meal prepping over the long weekend, from breakfasts to hearty lunches and dinners, and even a sweet treat for dessert (because, priorities!).
When you rediscover this in the freezer a few weeks from now (if it makes it that long!), you’re really going to thank yourself. You probably won’t regret tossing about a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the batter, either. When freezing banana bread I like to wait until the loaf is completely cooled, then slice it before storing in a zip-top freezer bag. Throw a slice in the toaster, and it’s good to eat!
Get the recipe: Banana Bread
2. Scrambled Chickpea and Spinach Pitas
This plant-based sandwich is great for breakfast or lunch, and is ideal for batch cooking. Just be sure to wait until the chickpea mixture is totally cooled before stuffing the pitas.
Get the recipe: Scrambled Chickpea and Spinach Pitas
3. Tender Baked Oatmeal Cups
Top your oat cups with whatever nuts, seeds, or dried fruit you have in the pantry. Granola, chocolate chips, and coconut flakes also make a good topping.
Get the recipe: Tender Baked Oatmeal Cups
4. Easiest-Ever Instant Pot Pulled Pork
The Instant Pot makes pulled pork that melts in your mouth and is infused with the deep, warm, smoky flavors of BBQ sauce. I’ll plan to portion it before freezing so it’s easier to defrost and use for several meals.
Get the recipe: Easiest-Ever Instant Pot Pulled Pork
5. Simple & Tasty Slow Cooker Chili
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn
6. Juicy Turkey Meatballs
If you’re feeding a big family, it’s worth making a double batch of meatballs for the freezer. The meatballs can be frozen uncooked or cooked. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer container or freezer bag.
Get the recipe: Juicy Turkey Meatballs
7. Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
When making this soup to stash in the freezer, it’s a good idea to skip the noodles. they’ll continue absorbing liquid from the soup as it sits, gradually getting softer and mushier. It takes a little more time to cook the noodles separately and add when serving the soup, but it’s worth the small effort.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
8. Easy 5-Ingredient Black Bean Veggie Burgers
These plant-based bean burgers always go quick in my house, so I like to double the recipe. These burgers can be frozen raw or cooked. Wrap each burger individually in plastic and freeze. Thaw raw burgers in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
Get the recipe: Easy 5-Ingredient Black Bean Veggie Burgers
9. Make-Ahead Super Greens Smoothie Packs
Smoothie kits make mornings even easier. Dump the contents of the bag in the blender, add some liquid, and blend. This kit comes together with one leafy green and three fruity ingredients, plus your liquid of choice when it’s time to blend.
Get the recipe: Make-Ahead Super Greens Smoothie Packs
Credit: Christine Han/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn
10. Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
When you have a hankering for something sweet after dinner or you’ve had one of those days and want nothing more than a couple warm, freshly-baked cookies, it’ll feel like such a win knowing you have homemade cookies in the freezer.
Get the recipe: Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies