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38 Easy Meal Prep Ideas that Make Dinner a Breeze

Spending part of your Sunday prepping for the week ahead will make your future self say, "Thanks, pal!". These easy meal prep ideas are things that can be prepped in advance or frozen to reheat later.

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Unstuffed PeppersTaste of Home

Unstuffed Peppers

If you like stuffed peppers, you'll love this speedy version. It offers all the comforting flavor of the original, but takes just half an hour. Instead of cooking the instant rice, you can use 2 cups leftover cooked rice if you have it on hand. —Beth Dewyer, Du Bois, Pennsylvania

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Southwest Chicken DinnerTaste of Home

Southwest Chicken Dinner

My family loves to order those gigantic takeout Tex-Mex burritos, but they can be expensive and we always have leftovers. I created a lighter, no-guilt alternative with the flavors they love, and that skips the tortilla. —Marquisha Turner, Aurora, Colorado

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Penne and Smoked SausageTaste of Home

Penne and Smoked Sausage

My sausage pasta is a must-try dish. It just tastes so good when it’s hot and bubbly from the oven. The cheddar french-fried onions lend a cheesy, crunchy touch. —Margaret Wilson, Sun City, California

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Asian Chicken Rice BowlTaste of Home

Asian Chicken Rice Bowl

This super flavorful, nutrient-packed dish makes use of supermarket conveniences like coleslaw mix and rotisserie chicken. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled for large families. —Christianna Gozzi, Asteria, New York

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Veggie Thai Curry SoupTaste of Home

Veggie Thai Curry Soup

My go-to Thai restaurant inspired this curry soup. Shiitake mushrooms are my favorite, but any fresh mushroom will work. Fresh basil and lime add a burst of bright flavors. —Tre Balchowsky, Sausalito, California

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Chicken Florentine MeatballsTaste of Home

Chicken Florentine Meatballs

Served over squash and a chunky, mushroom-tomato sauce, these tender meatballs are tops when it comes to great flavor. —Diane Nemitz, Ludington, Michigan

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Korean Beef and RiceTaste of Home

Korean Beef and Rice

A friend raved about Korean recipes for bulgogi—beef cooked in soy sauce and ginger—so I tried it. It's delicious! Dazzle the table with this tasty version of Korean beef and rice. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota

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Warm Chicken Tortellini Au GratinTaste of Home

Warm Chicken Tortellini Au Gratin

This is one of my favorite recipes. Pasta from Monday plus roasted chicken from Tuesday equals this delicious dish on Wednesday. It's fast and delicious, and paired with a green salad and toasty bread, you have a meal that's fancy enough for company. —Brenda Cole, Reisterstown, Maryland

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Chicken Barley SoupTaste of Home

Chicken Barley Soup

No question—this is my favorite barley soup! It's so filling that I serve it as a hearty main dish, and I have given the recipe to many of our friends and relatives. It simply tastes too good to keep to yourself! —Diana Costello, Marion, Kansas

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Beef & Spinach Lo MeinTaste of Home

Beef & Spinach Lo Mein

If you like a good stir-fry, this dish will definitely satisfy. I discovered the recipe at an international luncheon, and it's now a favorite go-to meal. —Denise Patterson, Bainbridge, Ohio

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Easy White Chicken ChiliTaste of Home

Easy White Chicken Chili

Chili is one of our best cold-weather strategies. We use chicken and white beans for a twist on the regular bowl of red. It’s soothing comfort food. —Rachel Lewis, Danville, Virginia

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Italian Turkey SkilletTaste of Home

Italian Turkey Skillet

It's a challenge to find imaginative ways to use leftovers, especially for turkey after Thanksgiving. Here's a favorite of mine that you can easily make ahead for another dinner option. Prepare the recipe as directed, then transfer to a casserole dish and freeze up to three months. —Patricia Kile, Nokomis, Florida

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Vegetable Noodle CasseroleTaste of Home

Vegetable Noodle Casserole

If you're looking for a filling side dish, this recipe fits the bill. It combines nutritious vegetables and hearty noodles in a delectable cream sauce. Whenever I serve this dish, it gets passed around until the pan is scraped clean. —Jeanette Hios, Brooklyn, New York

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Pasta Fagioli SoupTaste of Home

Pasta Fagioli Soup

My husband enjoys my version of this dish so much that he doesn’t order it at restaurants anymore. With fresh spinach, pasta and seasoned sausage, this fast-to-fix soup is a meal on its own. —Brenda Thomas, Springfield, Missouri

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Freezer BurritosTaste of Home

Freezer Burritos

These burritos go from freezer to plate in minutes without the extra salt and chemicals of store brands. Make a batch for quick dinners or late-night snacks—or even breakfast! —Laura Winemiller, Delta, Pennsylvania

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Cashew Chicken with NoodlesTaste of Home

Cashew Chicken with Noodles

I tried this recipe for chicken with cashew nuts when making freezer meals with some friends. I was smitten! It's quick, easy and so delicious! —Anita Beachy, Bealeton, Virginia

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Mexican Cabbage Roll SoupTaste of Home

Mexican Cabbage Roll Soup

I love sharing our humble and hearty soup made with beef, cabbage and green chiles. A blast of cilantro gives it a sunshiny finish. —Michelle Beal, Powell, Tennessee

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Monterey SpaghettiTaste of Home

Monterey Spaghetti

I'm a working mother with two young boys. Our family leads a very active life, so I make a lot of casseroles. It's so nice to have a hearty side dish the kids will eat. Topped with cheese and french-fried onions, this tasty spaghetti casserole recipe is a hit at our house. —Janet Hibler, Cameron, Missouri

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Contest-Winning Stuffed Pepper SoupTaste of Home

Contest-Winning Stuffed Pepper Soup

This is an excellent example of how convenience foods can be combined for a tasty entree. Ready in minutes when I get home from work, this soup becomes part of a balanced meal with a tossed salad, rolls or fruit. For variation, try chicken, turkey or even venison instead of ground beef. –Tracy Thompson, Cranesville, Pennsylvania

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Pan-Roasted Pork Chops & PotatoesTaste of Home

Pan-Roasted Pork Chops & Potatoes

A shortcut marinade gives these chops plenty of flavor, and the crumb coating packs on the crunch. For color, I like to tuck in a few handfuls of Brussels sprouts. —Char Ouellette, Colton, Oregon

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Mongolian ChickenTaste of Home

Mongolian Chicken

This is a different, fun way to make chicken. It has a lot of flavor and a bit of heat for good measure. —Mary Ann Lee, Clifton Park, New York

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One-Pot Spinach Beef SoupTaste of Home

One-Pot Spinach Beef Soup

My idea of a winning weeknight meal is this beefy soup that simmers in one big pot. Grate some Parmesan and pass the crackers. —Julie Davis, Jacksonville, Florida

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Chicken Cordon Bleu BakeTaste of Home

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake

I got this easy chicken cordon bleu recipe from a friend years ago. I freeze several half recipes in disposable pans to share with neighbors or for when I'm pressed for time myself. —Rea Newell, Decatur, Illinois

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Comforting Chicken Noodle SoupTaste of Home

Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup

A good friend made us this rich, comforting, creamy chicken noodle soup after the birth of our son. It was such a help to have dinner taken care of until I was back on my feet. This yummy dish is so simple to fix that now I give a pot of it (along with the recipe) to other new mothers. —Joanna Sargent, Sandy, Utah

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Double-Duty Layered Enchilada CasseroleTaste of Home

Double-Duty Layered Enchilada Casserole

Here's a heap of cozy comfort. The Taste of Home Test Kitchen took my recipe for chili without beans and turned it into a scrumptious enchilada casserole. —Molly Butt, Granville, Ohio

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Chicken and Chiles CasseroleTaste of Home

Chicken and Chiles Casserole

This casserole is easy to prepare and can be made ahead if you have a busy day coming up. It makes good use of leftover meat and is very filling. —Lois Keel, Alburquerque, New Mexico

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Vegetable Meat LoafTaste of Home

Vegetable Meat Loaf

I'm not big on leftovers, so I've pared down my recipes to serve two. This meat loaf is simple and quick to prepare, plus it helps you eat your veggies. It's great served with cheddar-topped baked potatoes. —Judi Brinegar, Liberty, North Carolina

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Beef & Tater BakeTaste of Home

Beef & Tater Bake

The entire family will enjoy this heartwarming, all-in-one dinner. And cleanup is a breeze! —Mike Tchou, Pepper Pike, Ohio

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Pumpkin Sausage SoupTaste of Home

Pumpkin Sausage Soup

This dish is well suited to my lower-carb way of eating. It's definitely soul food, and I love that it's very simple to prepare. —Paula Diaz, Billings, Montana

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Cheesy Cheddar Broccoli CasseroleTaste of Home

Cheesy Cheddar Broccoli Casserole

People who don’t even usually like broccoli casserole beg me to make this comforting broccoli cheese casserole recipe. It's similar to a classic green bean casserole, but the melted cheese just puts it over the top. —Elaine Hubbard, Pocono Lake, Pennsylvania

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Hoisin Sriracha Sheet-Pan ChickenTaste of Home

Hoisin Sriracha Sheet-Pan Chicken

The convenience and simplicity of this chicken dinner make it extra awesome. Change up the veggies throughout the year—the sticky-spicy-sweet sauce is good on all of them! —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland

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Low & Slow Pork VerdeTaste of Home

Low & Slow Pork Verde

My family loves this versatile pork dish. We like to have it over a serving of cheesy grits, but it also goes well with rice or potatoes. Leftovers make an excellent starter for white chili. —Val Ruble, Ava, Missouri

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Contest-Winning Broccoli Chicken CasseroleTaste of Home

Contest-Winning Broccoli Chicken Casserole

This delicious chicken and broccoli casserole recipe is a twist on chicken divan that came from an old boss. It’s quick, satisfying comfort food. —Jennifer Schlachter, Big Rock, Illinois

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Best Ever Potato SoupTaste of Home

Best Ever Potato Soup

You'll be surprised at the taste of this rich and cheesy easy potato soup. It really is the best potato soup recipe, ever. I came up with it after enjoying baked potato soup at one of our favorite restaurants. I added bacon, and we think that makes it even better. —Coleen Morrissey, Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania

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Curried Chicken SkilletTaste of Home

Curried Chicken Skillet

This protein-packed skillet dish is loaded with bright flavor. A little curry and fresh ginger make the veggies, chicken and quinoa pop. —Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh, Willimantic, Connecticut

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Chicken Enchilada BakeTaste of Home

Chicken Enchilada Bake

Your family is going to gobble up this cheesy, southwestern and easy chicken enchilada casserole…and will ask for it again and again. It’s real comfort food! —Melanie Burns, Pueblo West, Colorado

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Weeknight Taco SoupTaste of Home

Weeknight Taco Soup

This soup turned out delicious on the first try, when I was working without a recipe. You could also add cooked ground beef or cubed stew meat dredged in seasoned flour and browned for a heartier meal. —Amanda Swartz, Goderich, Ontario

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Chicken Zucchini CasseroleTaste of Home

Chicken Zucchini Casserole

A co-worker shared this chicken zucchini casserole recipe that was originally her grandmother's. When I make it, I use pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store and fresh zucchini my neighbor gives me from his garden. —Bev Dutro, Dayton, Ohio

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