Free Meal Plan: 5 Make Ahead Meals

I’m away at a conference for most of this week – Monday I’ll be at home, but Tuesday-Friday the boys will have to fend for themselves. Not to generalize, but I know in this case it means KD, pizza and eggs on toast, so I’ve chosen some meals that can be prepared ahead of time and either frozen or refrigerated, then assembled at the last minute. Fortunately summer means not a lot of heavy meals – no big roasts or stews or long cooking times. I think they’ll survive.


free meal plan Avocado Chicken recipeI’m still here for Monday’s dinner – and leftovers from the weekend will be transformed into a creamy chicken salad with wee grape tomatoes, stuffed into ripe avocado halves. No heat eats – perfect when you don’t want to turn on the oven! If you don’t have leftovers, pick up a roast chicken at the deli and start there.

Creamy Avocado Chicken Salad

Photo credit: Brooke of Cheeky Kitchen


free meal plan farfalle bolognese recipeMike is a pro at making spaghetti – if it means boiling water to cook pasta and heating up a jar of sauce. This is one step better, with a simple bolognese done in the slow cooker – easy to make ahead and stash in the fridge for anyone to reheat when they need a meal.

Farfalle with Slow Cooker Bolognese

Photo credit: Amy of Family Feedbag


free meal plan Roasted Squash Chickpea Pizza recipeWho says pizza has to be topped with meat and mushrooms? This roasted squash and chickpea pizza is deliciously different – and vegetarian. And because it’s pizza, those who may normally shun both are willing to give them a try. Mike can handle assembling a pizza (he’s a pro at the dough), and the squash can be roasted ahead of time and refrigerated until you need it.

Roasted Squash and Chickpea Pizza

Photo credit:


free meal plan chicken burger recipeChicken burgers can be assembled ahead of time and tossed on the grill when you’re ready to eat. A fresh, spicy fruit salsa – also easy to make ahead – makes these summery – although I suspect my 6 year old will swap it for ketchup.

Grilled Chicken Burgers with Spicy Salsa

Photo credit: Stephanie of Global Dish


free meal plan grilled asian steak recipeIt’s been so nice outside – I look for any opportunity to fire up the barbecue and eat on the grass. This simple marinated steak is one of our summer favourites – and delicious thinly sliced and eaten over sweet, gingery slaw. Pick up a bag of pre made coleslaw to streamline things. Happy weekend!

Grilled Asian Steak with Sweet Ginger Slaw

About the Author:

Julie Van Rosendaal is the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One, the author of five best-selling cookbooks, with a sixth - Alice Eats, the Wonderland Cookbook having just been released in October. She's the food editor of Parents Canada magazine and a freelance writer, contributing to local, national and international publications including Swerve, Avenue, Western Living and Readers Digest. She is also co-host of It’s Just Food on the OWN television network, and writes and is the photographer for her award-winning food blog,, which documents real life in her home kitchen in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, Mike, and 8 year old son, Willem.

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