Make Ahead Dinner Recipes

Weeknights are busy! However, the key to less stressful meal times is minimal cleanup and recipes that can be made ahead…to beat the inevitable rush when 6pm hits. Let me help you knock dinner off of your to-do list with this list of Make Ahead Dinner Recipes. These meals are nutritious, kid-friendly…and, of course, delicious!

And…better yet? These recipes are inspired by my newly revised E-Cookbook, WHAT’S FOR DINNER!

To give you a taste of what’s inside the book, I have included a few of the 30 stress-free, one-pot dinner recipes in the list of recipes below as a special sneak peak! 

With options for slow cooker, pressure cooker, stovetop, sheet pan and one-pan meals, along with several vegetarian recipes, this list of Make Ahead Dinner Recipes (along with WHAT’S FOR DINNER!) has got you covered when it comes to quick, flavor-packed recipes that you will love cooking just as much as your kids will love eating! Meals that require minimal prep, even less cleanup, and are mostly set it and forget it? That’s what Happy Kids KitchenWHAT’S FOR DINNER is all about!

Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker

Lazy Lasagna Soup

Cheesy lasagna goodness without all the layering? What could be better?? And, with minimal ingredients and prep time, this hardy soup is bound to be a go-to recipe that the whole family will enjoy.


Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs

Not only are these meatballs packed with veggies, but they are also gluten-free and great for all ages. Since sometimes I don’t plan ahead, I also make the meatballs baked in the oven for an easy, quick meal. Serve with pasta or in a sub roll with melted mozzarella on top–my boys’ favorite!

Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken

This Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken is the ultimate base for easy weeknight dinners. You can use the tender, flavorful shredded chicken in sandwiches, on top of salad, mixed into pasta sauce, and more! I even like to use the cooking juices and leftover chicken to make a delicious soup. There are so many ways to make this chicken into a healthy meal the whole family will enjoy.

One Pot Pasta with Veggie Packed Sauce (Turkey Bolognese Inspired)

This is one of those weeknight dinners my whole family enjoys. You can make this bolognese inspired, healthy pasta dinner in the Instant Pot or on the stove top. This One Pot Past with Veggie Packed Sauce is really a one-pot wonder…No pre-boiling of the pasta at all! Just add all the veggies, ground turkey, sauce, and pasta to the pot…that’s it! I like to use ground turkey in this recipe. However, you can easily use any ground meat or leave it out for a vegetarian dinner. It’s also easy to make dairy-free and gluten-free.

Healthy Creamy Tomato Soup (with veggies and Greek yogurt)

This is one of my kids’ favorite soups. They love it for lunches at home, packed up in a thermos for school, or for a cozy dinner any night of the week. Healthy Creamy Tomato Soup is packed with veggies, but you can hardly tell. The soup blended and creamy Greek yogurt adds an extra protein boost.

Chicken Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Soup

Chicken Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Soup is my all-time favorite soup. It’s hearty, healthy, and packed with veggies. You can make this easy weeknight dinner in the Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) or on the stove-top in less than 40 minutes. Also, it’s simple to make vegetarian by leaving out the sausage and doubling up the beans. Leftovers are great to have in the fridge or freezer to warm up for a quick and nourishing lunch. My boys love having some bread or grilled cheese on the side for dipping.

Autumn Squash Soup (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

All the cozy Fall flavors is a bowl! This veggie-packed soup is so easy to make in the slow cooker, Instant Pot (pressure cooker), or on the stove top! Autumn Squash Soup has carrots, butternut squash (or any variety of squash you have), and a little apple to add some natural sweetness. A touch of ground ginger and nutmeg add tons of flavor but aren’t overwhelming at all. This soup is very kid-friendly and below I highlight several ways to serve it to toddlers or soup skeptics.


Creamy Chicken, Veggie, and Gnocchi Stew

Need a nutritious and easy weeknight dinner? Creamy Chicken, Veggie, and Gnocchi Stew is comforting, hearty, and full of flavor. You can make the stew in the slow cooker, pressure cooker/Instant pot, or on the stove top. Plus, it’s a kid-friendly meal that’s packed with protein and vegetables.


Loving these recipes and ready for MORE?



Casseroles and Bakes

Easy Black Bean and Veggie Enchilada Casserole

This Easy Black Bean and Veggie Enchilada Casserole is weeknight dinner lifesaver. You mix up the filling, layer, and bake! It’s full of veggies and plant-based protein. You can easily be make it dairy-free using a shredded cheese alternative, and the sauce is mild but flavorful. It’s a meal that’s sure to please the whole family. This no-chop, super quick casserole is a sneak peek recipe from my new E-Cookbook, WHAT’S FOR DINNER. If you want more info about the 30 recipes in the dinner ebook, be sure to scroll down to the links below.


Turkey and Veggie Shephard’s Pie

This easy weeknight dinner is the ultimate healthy comfort food. My Turkey and Veggie Shepherd’s Pie is packed with 4 different vegetables and crowned with a light and fluffy potato topping. The turkey filling is savory, flavorful and hearty without being too heavy. You can make it super easy and cook up and save the whole dish in a skillet. Or you can make it a little fancy and bake up the pies in little individual ramekins. Either way, your family is going to request this meal over and over again.


Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls with Spinach and White Beans

Need a healthy dinner the whole family will love? These cheesy and veggie-packed lasagna rolls are the comfort food you can feel good about making any day of the week. Nutritious and fiber-rich white beans replace some of the cheese in these Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls. However, topping the rolls with melty mozzarella makes the dish satisfying and super kid-friendly.

No-Boil Pasta Bake (with veggies)

This recipe is a weeknight dinner miracle! To make No-Boil Pasta Bake, you add everything to a baking dish, including pasta straight from the box, mix it with sauce and veggies, and bake it! Totally hands off and no cooking the pasta before-hand at all! I kept the basic recipe simple. However, You can customize this healthy pasta dish with whatever you’d like. Sausage, chicken, broccoli, different cheeses, or any flavors you love with pasta are easy to mix in.

Sheet Pan Dinners

Chicken Parm Mini Meatloaves with Roasted Broccoli

This easy weeknight sheet pan meal is a family favorite. Chicken Parmesan Mini Meatloaves with Roasted Broccoli is the best combo of comfort food and nutritious, veggie-packed dinner. You mix ground chicken with chopped spinach and a few other simple ingredients and then form it into individual patties. Top the meatloaves with sauce and mozzarella cheese that’s melted to gooey perfection. Bake with broccoli and serve with your favorite pasta or just on its own.


Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil

All the flavors of a Summer shrimp boil, but super quick and easy! This Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil is a healthy family dinner that you can get to the table in 30 minutes. Roast the potatoes, sausage, corn, green beans until golden brown and tender. Then lay the shrimp on top and bake up until perfectly cooked.


Turkey and Veggie Teriyaki Meatballs

This is one of my family’s favorite meals! Teriyaki Turkey and Veggie Meatballs are a healthy, flavorful, easy weeknight dinner. Also, they are packed with 3 different vegetables and happen to be gluten-free because I use almond flour as a binder. However, you can also use breadcrumbs if you want to make them nut-free or don’t have almond flour on hand. The meatballs are great for babies, toddlers, and adults. Eat them on their own (cut up for babies and toddlers) or over rice or asian-style noodles.

Order What’s For Dinner NOW!

And get dinner on the table with more flavor…and less stress!

Take a peek inside


Order What’s For Dinner NOW!

Thanks so much for your support, whether you use my free recipe or buy my books!


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