Making a kid-friendly dinner doesn’t have to be stressful. Get a jump on dinner while the little guys are sleeping–at school, outside or otherwise occupied earlier in the day–with these make-ahead dinners.
Prep during whenever you have time in the afternoon, then let dinner cook or just hang out in a warm oven until you’re ready. All of them will wait. Patiently. They’re good like that.
And possibly best of all, each recipe below has been kid-tested by moms like me. Sure to please.
21 Make-Ahead Dinners
Lemon Roasted Whole Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots: This is a lick-the-plate favorite at our place. Spend 15 minutes putting it together, then the whole thing slowly cooks all afternoon. via Foodlets
Lentil Sausage Soup with Spinach: Another one-pot meal, this soup is an easy way to get a little spinach into the little guys. via Foodlets
Baked Macaroni & Cheese (with Carrots!): There are times when sliding a few carrots into an otherwise gooey pasta dish has deliciously nutritious results. This is one of them. via Foodlets
White Chicken Chili: Brimming with protein-packed white beans, this easy-to-make dinner is one that waits right on the stove. via The Realistic Mama
Sweet Potato & Apple Soup: Pureed soups don’t get more flavorful than this one, full of our kids’ two favorite fall flavors. via The Sweet Potato Chronicles
Biscuit-Topped Turkey Pot Pies: A can of store-bought biscuits makes quick work of a dish that typically takes much longer to make. via Foodlets
Baked Eggs with Cream, Ham & Swiss Cheese: This is one of our easiest, fastest meals that ALSO waits patiently in a warm oven until everyone is ready to eat. at Kids Activities Blog
More Delicious Recipes
BBQ Wings: Great flavor in a kid-friendly portion: Love and love. via Beauty Through Imperfection
Simply Best Oven Potatoes: What’s easier than a side dish that cooks itself in the oven? via The Realistic Mama
Tex-Mex Rice, Beef & Beans: All the flavor of beef tacos in a one-pot meal. via Foodlets
Meatless Meatballs: This vegetarian version of a beloved classic includes eggs, nuts, cheese and three different kinds of something you’d never guess. via Kids Activities Blog
Fritatta with Spinach, Pancetta and Ricotta: An easy-to-make egg dish with rich Italian flavors kids love. via Foodlets
White Chili: Full of juicy chicken and white beans, this chili is a great alternative for kids who aren’t into the tomato-based kind. via The Sweet Potato Chronicles
Stove Top Broccoli, Chicken & Rice: A one-pot dish that cooks–and waits–on the stove until dinner time (Note: If my kids didn’t love it the first time, they’re believers now). via Foodlets
Make-Ahead Dinners for Busy Days!
Fried Cabbage with Crumbled Bacon: If you (or the kids) think you don’t like cabbage, make this one tonight. The cabbage gets soft and buttery, the bacon’s salty and crispy, together it’s heaven. via Foodlets
Chicken Adobo: Chicken thighs in a thick, rich and tangy tomato sauce sounds great, but knowing you can even make it days ahead of time sounds even better. via Elsie Marley
Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup: Two beloved flavors come together in one of the world’s most beloved kitchen gadgets. You know this one’s gotta be good. via Kids Activities Blog
Moroccan Chicken: I love introducing our kids to new flavors and the sweet cinnamon in this dish helps bring a bit of familiar flavor to a new experience. via Beauty Through Imperfection
Bacon & Swiss Quiche: Our kids love eggs. And bacon. And Swiss cheese. But when they find out there’s a pie crust involved with dinner? There might be cheering. We’re trying this one immediately. via This Heart of Mine
Easy Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot: Nothing waits better than a slow cooker meal, and this one’s a one-pot meal in the making. via The Realistic Mama
*Bonus recipe: Baked Risotto with Bacon and Peas (pictured in the top collage). Nope, no stirring over the stove here. Just a rich and creamy rice dish that you can park in the oven until you’re ready to call the rascals for dinner. via Foodlets
That makes 22 dinners you can make ahead of time, whether it’s earlier in the day or in the month.
More Dinner Recipes
What recipes do you and your family plan on making first? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear! Also, be sure to join us over on our Facebook page.