Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms On Weeknights

Posted on 18 February 2012 by noelskitchen

Last week we started talking about what makes our time in the kitchen more efficient when we have such busy schedules. Making good use of our crock pot/slow cookers came in very handy with our busy schedule and allowed for some tasty dinners. Prepping and making meals ahead so their ready to toss in the crock pot are another great technique for busy moms trying to serve dinner to their families on weeknights.

Make Ahead meals allow us to prepare our meals ahead of time, save our sanity, and gives us more flexibility for those busy evenings filled with activities, so that we will have more time with our family. Plus, our pre-made freezer meals are ten times healthier than those pre-packaged meals from your grocer store’s freezer.

This Shepherd’s Pie recipe was the third recipe made during this week’s Make Ahead Meals.

Meal planning becomes easier for busy moms on weeknights with easy make ahead recipes saving time in the kitchen.

Shepherd’s Pie

Makes: 6 servings


  • 2 cups frozen Make-Ahead Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups frozen corn or your favorite vegetable
  • 1 cup beef gravy (gravy leftover that had been frozen)
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup cheddar jack cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Defrost ground beef mixture in microwave, 5 to 7 minutes or until it’s thawed. Remember to remove the lid before defrosting.
  2. Chop onion. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pressed garlic. (I use my garlic press a lot when adding garlic to a recipe.) Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in ground beef mixture and seasonings. Add corn or other vegetables and gravy to skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil. Spoon into an oval or round baking dish.
  3. Shred half the cheese over potatoes. Mix together. (A Make Ahead step here is to already have the mashed potatoes made and frozen; just pull from freezer and thaw.)
  4. Spread mashed potato cheese mixture over ground beef mixture. (I piped the mashed potatoes over the top for something different.)
  5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove baking dish from oven. Shred remaining cheese over potatoes; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

With the Make Ahead Ground Beef  I made at the beginning of the week,  I was able to create three tasty dishes this week.

  • Tamale Pie
  • Zesty Taco Ring Bake (recipe coming soon)
  • Shepherd’s Pie (recipe above)
Do you having any great Make Ahead Meals?


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0 Comments For This Post

    9 Trackbacks For This Post

    1. Week 4 of the Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge Says:

      [...] meal plan? This week, for my Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge, I’m sharing my make-ahead cooking strategy which is guaranteed to save me time in the kitchen and add some tasty dishes to our dinner menu. [...]

    2. Crock Pot Roasted Chicken:Rotisserie Chicken Says:

      [...] 1 to 2 chickens per week and turn it into a few different meals throughout the week and make a few make-ahead  meals to [...]

    3. Week 5 of the Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge Says:

      [...] prepping or cooking at the beginning of this week. Thank goodness for a freezer stocked with some make-ahead meals , quick, thrifty meals and ready-to-go ingredients for the crock [...]

    4. Week 6 of the Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge | Noel's Kitchen Tips Says:

      [...] week, I’m replenishing my freezer with more make-ahead meals. Yesterday, my day started [...]

    5. Chicken Stir Fry | Noel's Kitchen Tips Says:

      [...] week I’m working on quick weeknight meals. I’m using ingredients that are right in my freezer, pantry and fridge. I’m adding a [...]

    6. Build Your Pantry:Stockpiling Tips | Noel's Kitchen Tips Says:

      [...] Invest in a Full-Size Freezer or Extra Fridge: One of the best investments we did at the end of last year was put an extra fridge/freezer out in our garage. It allows me to stock up on meats and veggies when their on sale and store a lot of my make-ahead meals. [...]

    7. Raley’s Family Deals and Coupon Savings 5/2-5/8/12 | Noel's Kitchen Tips Says:

      sales like this, it’s the perfect opportunity to stock the freezer with some of those make ahead meals for those busy weeknights. This week is STAR testing at school for the kids, so a quick weeknight

    8. Chicken Tostadas with Corn Salsa | Noel's Kitchen Tips Says:

      salsa you could simple eat by itself. )  I like this recipe because it  fits very well into my make ahead meal planning strategy. You can make the chicken breasts ahead of time by tossing a little salt and pepper on

    9. Smothered Burritos | Noel's Kitchen Tips Says:

      it keeps things easy, inexpensive, plus it freezes very well. So of course you could make them as a make ahead meal and freeze for a future meal. These burritos have refried beans, Spanish rice and leftover chicken

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