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58 Make-Ahead Lunches for a No-Stress Mother’s Day

This Mother's Day, make Mom a lunch fit for a queen. From bright salads and mains to luscious desserts, these prep- or make-ahead dishes are two gifts in one: a delicious meal and time spent with you!

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Cheese & Crab Brunch BakeTaste of Home

Cheese & Crab Brunch Bake

Who doesn't love a cheesy seafood casserole that can be pulled together in thirty minutes, popped in the fridge overnight, and ready for its baked up debut the next day? —Joyce Conway, Westerville, Ohio

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Overnight Fruit SaladTaste of Home

Overnight Fruit Salad

I first tasted this rich fruit salad at my wedding reception many years ago. The ladies who did the cooking wouldn't share the recipe at the time, but I eventually got it. I've made it for many meals, and our daughters copied the recipe when they married. —Eileen Duffeck, Lena, Wisconsin

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Slow-Cooker Frittata ProvencalTaste of Home

Slow-Cooker Frittata Provencal

This recipe means that a delectable dinner is ready when I walk in the door from work. The meatless slow cooker meal also makes an elegant brunch for lazy weekend mornings. —Connie Eaton, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Veggie Chopped SaladTaste of Home

Veggie Chopped Salad

My husband's aunt gave me this recipe back in the '80s, and it's been a staple at our house ever since. I like to make it a day ahead because some time in the fridge makes it even better. Be sure to save yourself some leftovers, too. —Madeline Etzkorn, Burien, Washington

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Chicken Broccoli ShellsTaste of Home

Chicken Broccoli Shells

This cheesy entree is a make-ahead dream. Just assemble it ahead of time and put it in the oven when company arrives. I round out the meal with a tossed salad and warm bread. —Karen Jagger, Columbia City, Indiana

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Cheesy Zucchini QuicheTaste of Home

Cheesy Zucchini Quiche

A few years ago, I found this zucchini brunch recipe that's quick to prepare and freezes well, too. Just put it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight and pop it into the oven when you wake up! —Karen Howard, Lakeville, Massachusetts

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Asparagus and Ham StrataTaste of Home

Asparagus and Ham Strata

For a quick and easy make-ahead breakfast, do the prep work the night before. Next morning, just pop it in the oven. This casserole version of quiche is so hearty and delicious. —Alla Gray, St. Thomas, Pennsylvania

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Sesame Chicken DipTaste of Home

Sesame Chicken Dip

I can't tell you how many times I'm asked to bring this easy dip to holidays, birthday parties or girls' weekend getaways. It's fresh and light, and it has the Asian flavors that make it stand out. The rice crackers are a must! —Dawn Schutte, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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Cucumber-Stuffed Cherry TomatoesTaste of Home

Cucumber-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Besides being tasty, these little tomato poppers are extra awesome because you can make them ahead of time. At parties, I often triple the recipe because they disappear fast. —Christi Martin, Elko, Nevada

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Oven Barbecued Chicken

Oven Barbecued Chicken

Chicken and Sunday dinner belong together. During my married life on a dairy farm, I'd make this baked bbq chicken before church. — Esther Shank, Harrisonburg, Virginia

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Avocado Salsa

Avocado Salsa

I was planning a party and thought it might be fun to try a different kind of avocado salsa. This recipe was an absolute success. Scoop it up with chips, spoon it over chicken or steak, or eat it on its own! —Susan Vandermeer, Ogden, Utah

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Cheesy Hash Brown BakeTaste of Home

Cheesy Hash Brown Bake

These cheesy hashbrown potatoes were so popular at the morning meetings of our Mothers of Preschoolers group that we published it in our newsletter. It's a great dish for busy moms because it can be prepared ahead of time. It's perfect for brunches or to serve on Christmas morning. It's creamy, comforting and tasty. —Karen Burns, Chandler, Texas

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Chocolate TrifleTaste of Home

Chocolate Trifle

For a fabulous finale when entertaining, this lovely layered chocolate trifle is a winner! Chocolate trifle recipes are a do-ahead dessert that serves a group, and it even tastes great the next day. —Pam Botine, Goldsboro, North Carolina

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Blueberry Romaine SaladTaste of Home

Blueberry Romaine Salad

I love to bring this delicious salad to school gatherings. The homemade dressing couldn't be simpler, so I whip it up in advance and just give it a quick toss with the other ingredients when I get to any event. —Kris Bristol, Charlotte, Michigan

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Classic Make-Ahead Mashed PotatoesTaste of Home

Classic Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

These make-ahead mashed potatoes save me a ton of time on Christmas day. No more frantically whipping the potatoes while hungry family and guests hang around the kitchen! —Marty Rummel, Trout Lake, Washington

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Orange-Glazed Carrots, Onions & RadishesTaste of Home

Orange-Glazed Carrots, Onions & Radishes

Carrots and radishes give color and crunch to this sweet, spicy side. We never have leftovers. If you make it ahead, reheat it and add the walnuts just before serving. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey

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Island Mango SlawTaste of Home

Island Mango Slaw

The cooling effect of mango and Greek yogurt meets jalapeno spice in this snappy take on a slaw. To ensure ripeness, you may want to buy your mango a day or two ahead. —Jenn Hall, Collingswood, New Jersey

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Citrus & Herb Roasted Turkey BreastTaste of Home

Citrus & Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

This recipe will make you love turkey again. Brining with lemon, rosemary and orange juice makes it so moist and flavorful. It's the star attraction at our table. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas

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Corn & Onion SouffleTaste of Home

Corn & Onion Souffle

I swapped out my old cheese souffle for one with corn. If you’re souffle-challenged, it helps to use smaller ramekins instead of one big dish. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia

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Mushroom PalmiersTaste of Home

Mushroom Palmiers

I found this recipe while working at a small-town museum in West Texas. It was the appetizer for a fundraiser a long, long time ago, and it’s still a huge hit at parties. Frozen puff pastry helps make it easy and impressive. The palmiers also freeze well. —Judy Lock, Panhandle, Texas

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Orange-Apricot Mimosa PunchTaste of Home

Orange-Apricot Mimosa Punch

We make this punch for our annual Christmas brunch, and everyone loves it! I usually triple this recipe for a bigger crowd and garnish the punch with an orange-tangerine ice ring made several days ahead of time. —Kathy McKay, Acworth, Georgia

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Strawberry BlissTaste of Home

Strawberry Bliss

My easy-to-make puff pastry crust is topped with a soft-set pudding layer that has a hint of strawberry flavor. It needs to chill for at least an hour, so it’s your new go-to for a make-ahead brunch! —Candace Richter, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

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Salmon with Mango-Citrus SalsaTaste of Home

Salmon with Mango-Citrus Salsa

My mother would make this for us on weeknights in summer—this was the only way we would eat fish. You can make the salsa a day ahead of time. Just keep it in the refrigerator in a covered container until ready to use. —Najmussahar Ahmed, Canton, Michigan

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Limoncello Cream Pie

Limoncello Cream Pie

After a big Christmas dinner, we love the cool refreshment of a frozen lemon pie. Limoncello brings a little sophistication to each smooth, creamy slice. —Jessie Grearson-Sapat, Falmouth, Maine

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Avocado & Garbanzo Bean Quinoa SaladTaste of Home

Avocado & Garbanzo Bean Quinoa Salad

This delicious quinoa avocado salad is high in protein and holds well in the fridge for a few days. If you make it ahead, add avocados and tomatoes right before serving. —Elizabeth Bennett, Seattle, Washington

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Balsamic-Glazed Beef SkewersTaste of Home

Balsamic-Glazed Beef Skewers

With only five easy-to-double ingredients, these mouthwatering kabobs are one of our favorite recipes. We like them with hot cooked rice and a tossed salad. To prevent wooden skewers from burning, soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading on the meat. —Carole Fraser, Toronto, Ontario

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Frosty Orange Cream Cheese CupsTaste of Home

Frosty Orange Cream Cheese Cups

These bite-sized frozen treats will cool you down during the dog days of summer. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California

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Garden Spinach-Potato SaladTaste of Home

Garden Spinach-Potato Salad

Not only is this summer side dish something to look at, it's a treat for the taste buds, too. The medley of textures and garden-fresh ingredients perfectly complement one another for a delightfully different potato salad. —Marilyn Haynes, Sylacauga, Alabama

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Chocolate-Cherry Ice Cream CakeTaste of Home

Chocolate-Cherry Ice Cream Cake

O say can you see this amazing dessert at your next gathering? I make it ahead of time and keep it in the freezer, wrapped in foil, for a week or so before serving.—Scarlett Elrod, Newnan, Georgia

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Greek Stuffed Mini PotatoesTaste of Home

Greek Stuffed Mini Potatoes

I love this recipe because you can serve it warm or cold. I usually make these stuffed potatoes ahead and serve them chilled with a tzatziki sauce. —Dee Guelcher, Acworth, Georgia

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Iced Raspberry TeaTaste of Home

Iced Raspberry Tea

Frozen raspberries lend fruity flavor and lovely color to this pretty iced tea that's good throughout the year. The recipe calls for just a few common ingredients and offers make-ahead convenience. —Lois McGrady, Hillsville, Virginia

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Veggie Ranch Tortilla PinwheelsTaste of Home

Veggie Ranch Tortilla Pinwheels

These terrific bite-size appetizers are always a hit wherever I take them. They're easy to make ahead of time, and are a great addition to other party fare! —Lori Kostecki, Wausau, Wisconsin

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Easy Potato RollsTaste of Home

Easy Potato Rolls

After I discovered this recipe, it became a mainstay for me. I make the dough ahead of time when company is coming, and I try to keep some in the refrigerator to bake for our ranch hands. Leftover mashed potatoes are almost sure to go into these rolls. —Jeanette McKinney, Belleview, Missouri

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Broccoli Salad SupremeTaste of Home

Broccoli Salad Supreme

People can't get enough of the sweet grapes and crunchy broccoli in this colorful salad. I appreciate its make-ahead convenience. —Terri Twyman, Bonanza, Oregon

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Lemon Angel Cake BarsTaste of Home

Lemon Angel Cake Bars

A neighbor gave me this recipe years ago and it's been in flavor rotation ever since. It can be made ahead and serves a bunch, so it's perfect for parties and potlucks. —Marina Castle, Canyon Country, California

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Make-Ahead Hearty Six-Layer SaladTaste of Home

Make-Ahead Hearty Six-Layer Salad

This salad is an all-time favorite. I reach for the recipe whenever I need a dish to pass. It’s easy to make, can be assembled ahead of time and looks great. —Noreen Meyer, Madison, Wisconsin

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Slow-Cooker Roast ChickenTaste of Home

Slow-Cooker Roast Chicken

It's easy to make a whole chicken in a slow cooker. We save the shredded chicken to use during busy weeks. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas

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Chicken Salad-Stuffed PeppersTaste of Home

Chicken Salad-Stuffed Peppers

We love this recipe because it combines the fresh flavor of summer bell peppers and chicken salad. — Mary Marlowe Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina

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Crispy Lime Chips with CrabTaste of Home

Crispy Lime Chips with Crab

Creamy crab dip tops the lime-flavored chips perfectly. These would be popular at a party, so it's a good thing they make a lot. —Tracey Stone, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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Fruit and Cheese KabobsTaste of Home

Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

We came up with this fresh and fruity summer snack idea. It's easy to make ahead and carry to the ballpark, beach or playground, and the cinnamon-spiced yogurt dip adds a fun touch kids love. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Make-Ahead TiramisuTaste of Home

Make-Ahead Tiramisu

This variation of the popular Italian dessert is so easy to assemble. It's convenient, too, since you can make it the day before your dinner party or potluck. —Linda Finn, Louisville, Mississippi

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Vegetable StrataTaste of Home

Vegetable Strata

We always serve food at our Bunco games, and since one of us is a vegetarian we like to make fun meatless dishes we can all enjoy. This strata can easily be doubled and tastes fantastic hot or at room temperature. —Doris Mancini, Port Orchard, Washington

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Balsamic Three-Bean SaladTaste of Home

Balsamic Three-Bean Salad

Here's my little girl's favorite salad. She devours it just about as fast as I can make it. I suggest preparing it ahead of time so the flavors can get to know each other. —Stacey Feather, Jay, Oklahoma

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Lemon-Berry Ice Cream Pie

I love the combination of fresh strawberries and lemon curd. It's so refreshing, especially in an easy make-ahead dessert like this ice cream pie. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California

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Company Green SaladTaste of Home

Company Green Salad

I partially put this salad together and take the remaining ingredients (candied nuts, seeds, rice noodles and dressing) to mix in at the potluck. Works perfectly every time. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

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Chicken with Peach-Cucumber SalsaTaste of Home

Chicken with Peach-Cucumber Salsa

To keep our kitchen cool, we grill chicken outdoors and serve it with a minty peach salsa that can easily be made ahead. —Janie Colle, Hutchinson, Kansas

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Island Breezes Coffee CakeTaste of Home

Island Breezes Coffee Cake

With the island flavors, this simple pull-apart bread is perfect for a spring brunch. —Debra Goforth, Newport, Tennessee

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Freezer Strawberry Shortbread Dessert

Freezer Strawberry Shortbread Dessert

When I’m planning party menus, I appreciate dessert recipes like this; you can make and freeze it up to two weeks before serving. A refreshing slice is welcome after a big meal.—Cassie Alexander, Muncie, Indiana

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Roasted Herb & Lemon CauliflowerTaste of Home

Roasted Herb & Lemon Cauliflower

A standout cauliflower side is easy to prepare with just a few ingredients. Crushed red pepper flakes add a touch of heat. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin

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Eggs Benedict Brunch BraidTaste of Home

Eggs Benedict Brunch Braid

I make this ahead and serve it for Christmas morning breakfast. It has the ingredients of a classic eggs Benedict, encased in puff pastry to create a beautiful loaf. You can refrigerate the assembled braid overnight, or freeze it for up to two weeks. If you prepare it ahead of time, wrap it tightly so the pastry doesn't dry out, and brush strudel with egg wash just before baking. Add 20 minutes to baking time if strudel is frozen. —Sarah Strohl, Commerce Township, Michigan

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Caraway Coleslaw with Citrus MayonnaiseTaste of Home

Caraway Coleslaw with Citrus Mayonnaise

The combination of caraway and orange keeps this slaw from being anything but run-of-the-mill. I always get requests to bring a big batch to potlucks; proof positive that it's a keeper! I also like to make it a day ahead so the flavors can truly blend. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia

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Pea Soup ShootersTaste of Home

Pea Soup Shooters

Appetizers really don’t get any easier than this. These shooters can be made ahead, they’re colorful, and they won’t weigh you down. Top with a small dollop of yogurt for a little more tang. —Jacyn Siebert, San Francisco, California

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Chicken Caesar PitasTaste of Home

Chicken Caesar Pitas

Hand-held and picnic friendly, these chicken-stuffed pockets pack a double dose of whole grains from brown rice and whole wheat pitas. The chicken can be made up to 2 days in advance for a fast-fix lunch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Sparkling OrangesTaste of Home

Sparkling Oranges

We were living in Texas when I found the recipe for this simple yet elegant salad. I was thrilled— we had a surplus of fresh oranges! All you do at the last minute is garnish and serve. —Janie Bush, Weskan, Kansas

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Icebox Potato RollsTaste of Home

Icebox Potato Rolls

These tender rolls are a family favorite, and we sometimes have more than 20 people around the table. Make the dough in advance and bake when you're ready. —Barb Linnerud, Boiling Springs, South Carolina

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Party Spinach SpreadTaste of Home

Party Spinach Spread

This appetizer is delicious, easy and pretty, too! Everyone who tries it asks for the recipe. The spread keeps for several days, so it's great for making in advance for a party. But once you put it out, it won't last long! —Maire Macy, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Buffalo Chicken Deviled EggsTaste of Home

Buffalo Chicken Deviled Eggs

My daughter Sara loves spicy Buffalo chicken and deviled eggs, so I combined the two. Make and chill a day ahead so the flavors mingle. —Robin Spires, Tampa, Florida

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Mango Gelatin SaladTaste of Home

Mango Gelatin Salad

My Aunt Nannette shared this smooth and refreshing salad as a convenient do-ahead dish. The mango and apricot flavors go well with pork, chicken and beef. —Debra Sult, Chandler, Arizona

 

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.

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