If you equate make-ahead dinners with ho-hum casseroles and boring pasta bakes, it’s time to think again. There’s no reason you have to sacrifice flavor for convenience. Creative cooks can make delicious meals ahead of time that just need to be baked in the oven when dinnertime rolls around. Some of these make-and-bake dinners are freezer meals, while others can be prepped the night or morning before and stored in the refrigerator until ready to cook. All cut down on the work you need to do in the evening and make it easier to get dinner on the table faster. Here are seven recipes for make-ahead dinners you can bake when you get home.
1. Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas
It’s easy to make a double batch of these enchiladas, which are stuffed with healthy chicken and spinach. The recipe comes from Erin Chase, author of The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook, via Good Morning America. Prepare one pan of enchiladas for dinner tonight, then freeze the other for a quick meal later. Each pan serves seven to eight.
- 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- 16-ounce container sour cream
- 2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen spinach, cooked and well drained
- 4 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 18 to 20 soft taco-size flour tortillas
- 2 (10-ounce) cans green chile enchilada sauce
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease 2 glass baking pans (9-by-13 inches) with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the shredded chicken, sour cream, spinach, 1 cup of the pepper jack cheese, minced onion and garlic, cumin, and some salt and pepper.
Spoon the mixture into each of the tortillas. Roll, and place the tortillas seam side down in the baking dish. (You should be able to fit 8 to 10 enchiladas in a pan.) Fill both pans.
Pour 1 can of the green enchilada sauce over the top of 1 pan, and repeat with the other can. Sprinkle the remaining 3 cups of pepper jack cheese over the 2 pans.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and begins to golden, and sauce is bubbling.
To freeze: Enchiladas can be frozen either baked or unbaked. When ready to cook or reheat, thaw the pan of enchiladas completely and then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.