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Make-ahead meals

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Autumn Rice Salad

The Autumn Rice Salad with Turkey and Cranberries can be made ahead of time and reheated later, or even served cold.

Cooking Buzz is produced in partnership with the Junior League of Houston, a women’s charitable and education organization founded in 1925.

Fall is just around the corner, and for many that means back to school. If you are anything like me, planning ahead makes the days run more smoothly. While I am not yet packing lunches for kiddos, making meals ahead of time that can be enjoyed throughout the week is helpful for both the young and old.

A rule in my household growing up was that we were not allowed to leave for school without something in our stomach. My mother was convinced that a hearty breakfast led to more focus in the classroom.

As I grew older, I did my best to stick to this rule, but it became more difficult to find time in the morning to make breakfast. Making something on Sunday was a great way to ensure that I had something prepped for breakfast all week.

I love making the Tender Scones or the Lemon Yogurt Muffins from the Junior League of Houston cookbook Stop and Smell the Rosemary. Both are great make-ahead options that my husband and I can grab in the morning on our way out the door. If I am looking for something on the lighter side, the Blueberry Basil Compote from Peace Meals is not only a good choice for breakfast, but also for dessert. For breakfast, I pair it with Greek yogurt, but try it also on vanilla ice cream.

I eventually got in the habit of making a variety of meals ahead of time that I could use all week for lunch and dinner. Some of my favorites are Italian Wedding Soup, Autumn Rice Salad with Turkey and Cranberries and Homestyle Spaghetti with Meat Sauce from Peace Meals. All three of these dinners save really well in the refrigerator or freezer and can be reheated. Occasionally, I don’t even reheat the Autumn Rice Salad because I like how it tastes cold too. 

I always have the best intentions to prep as much as I can over the weekend, but as we all know, life sometimes gets in the way, and I put off that meal prep for a couple more hours of shopping or pool time. That’s why I like to stock up my freezer with several meals from the Junior League Pantry that require no other effort from me other than simply reheating them. This is a great backup plan for all the times you did not make it to the store or you just got home and are too tired to cook.

The best part of using part of my Sunday for prepping meals (or relying on the Pantry) is that it gives me more time during the week to spend with family and friends. This sometimes even includes a cocktail. One of my favorites is the Rosé Wine Freeze because, as anyone from Houston knows, fall doesn’t necessarily mean cooler temperatures.

To buy a cookbook, see www.jlh.org or call 713-871-6608.

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