12 Hearty Meals to Cook Once and Eat for a Week

Sophie Miura

Give me an afternoon in the kitchen and I’ll happily whip up a culinary creation, but ask me to make a home-cooked meal after a full day in the office and that’s a different story. As much as I’d love to create fresh meals every day, the reality is that sometimes there just isn’t time. That’s where batch cooking comes in. With ample preparation, these make-ahead meals mean you only have to cook once to eat for the week. Scroll down for our edit of the best hearty meals to cook, freeze, eat, and repeat.

On winter nights, few things are as comforting as a steaming bowl of home-cooked soup. This curried butternut squash soup balances the rich, creamy consistency of coconut milk with a full-flavor curry kick.

Fritters are a great versatile option to pre-make when you’ve got a busy week ahead. Store them in the fridge or freezer and reheat the perfectly portioned patties in the microwave. Serve these Corn Zucchini Fritters with a side salad for a balanced two-minute meal.

Dubbed risotto’s low-effort cousin, orzotto barley is a great rice alternative to add to your recipe rolodex. It takes center stage in this meal and is combined with healthy, fresh ingredients like pearl barley, fennel, and soybeans. Store this meal in the fridge during the week and add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese to fake a just-cooked consistency. 

Looking for an idea for meat-free Monday? This inventive simple chickpea Bolognese swaps out meat for chickpeas, which are also high in protein. It’s a simple recipe to whip up at the start of the week. Just cook the rich tomato Bolognese sauce and chickpeas, and freeze separately. This recipe uses finely grated carrot instead of pasta, so when you get home from work, all you have to do is grate some carrot and combine with the heated sauce. Easy.

Looking for a dish that’s hearty and a little bit fancy? We love this gourmet pumpkin sage pasta, which credits its full flavor to a mélange of fresh sage, ground nutmeg, and squash. Simply reheat and top with a sprig of sage and crack of pepper. Consider it your end-of-day treat.

Quinoa and casserole don’t regularly meet in the culinary world, but this Midwest-inspired dish makes the combination work. Equal parts naughty and nice, this chicken quinoa broccoli casserole is waistline- and taste bud–friendly. Get cozy with a glass of wine and knitted throw, and you’ve got the makings of a great night in.

We love a recipe that’s tasty and easy to prepare, and this quick apricot chicken recipe ticks both boxes. A great crowd-pleaser, this sweet and savory dish combines soy sauce, honey, and dried apricots. Store it in the fridge for up to four days or spoon into Tupperware and freeze for later.

Pizza got a makeover! Sheet Pan Pizza swaps out the typical dough base for a rich egg-and-cheese center. The ingredient list reads like a breakfast menu, with hash browns and sausage on the list. Serve it up for breakfast or dinner for quick cheesy bite.

Before you visit your local Chinese takeout restaurant, take a look at this vegetable wonton miso soup recipe. It might look gourmet, but it’s surprisingly easy to make at home. Freeze the wonton parcels in single-meal servings, then boil them in the miso broth when you’re ready to eat.

Inspired by a seaside town in North Carolina, these crab cakes with pickled radishes and cucumber are super simple to cook and freeze. An added bonus: The pickled radish and cucumber only needs to sit for 20 minutes rather than the usual one-week requirement.

Few things are more annoying than finding a great recipe that requires out-of-season vegetables. This market veggie strata avoids the seasonal conundrum with classic ingredients that can be changed according to the time of year. Recipe creator Sneh Roy says it’s her “favorite kind of blank canvas cooking.” What’s more, it only takes 20 minutes to prep and can be pre-sliced and frozen for a single serve meal later.

This chipotle black bean tortilla soup is bursting with flavor, thanks to an ingredient list packed with spices, including cumin and chili powder. It is also vegan and gluten-free, so it’s a great option when guests come over. Just heat and serve with fresh avocado and tortilla chips for a winning midweek meal.

Shop these classic chef’s essentials for a chic kitchen.

Crate and Barrel Amuse Serving Board ($20)

Universal Expert Silicone Utensil Set ($10)

Do you have a make-ahead meal you swear by? Share your recipe with us in the comments below.

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