It’s tough finding time to have a home-cooked meal during weeknights, but during the school year, it’s even more difficult. One way to make things easier is by preparing a few meals on Sundays. The whole family can spend time together Sundays preparing and freezing or refrigerating meals that are easy to reheat for two or more weeknights. It’s not as daunting as it sounds! Here are a few of our favorite make-ahead meal recipes to try. With any of these meals, plastic or glass storage containers, and even Ziploc bags of all sizes are a necessity, so before you start cooking, make sure you have plenty on hand.

Salad Bar

One of the best parts about salad bars at the grocery stores or at restaurants is that everyone can put exactly what they want into the dish to make their dream salad, and there’s no reason why you can’t have one of your own at home.

Dice or slice your favorite fixings in bulk and no one will have an excuse that a healthy meal will take too long to make. Prepare a selection of greens and diced red onions, peppers of all colors, Roma tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken breasts, shredded turkey, beans, peas, mushrooms, carrots, and sliced or dried fruits. Be sure to have plenty of croutons, seeds or nuts available, as well as a selection of shredded cheeses and salad dressings. If you are planning to take a salad for lunch, it might be a good idea to order individually-portioned salad dressing packets from Amazon. This way you don’t have to worry about your salad wilting from the dressing.

Chicken Salsa Wraps

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 jar Mama Flasch’s salsa (mild, medium or hot)

Diced onions and other items from your salad bar (your choice)

Shredded lettuce (from your salad bar)

1 pack of your favorite tortilla wraps

Shredded cheese

Sour cream

Add thawed chicken breasts to your crockpot. Add enough water to well-cover the chicken. Add a little bit of garlic salt and pepper. Remember, spices amplify in crockpots. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Drain water, keeping chicken in the crockpot. Shred the chicken using two forks. Add salsa and let cook on low for 30 minutes. Turn off the crockpot and let cool for 30 minutes with the lid off. Put the mixture in a refrigerator safe dish and refrigerate for up to 6 days. When you’re ready for dinner, microwave desired portion and heat for about 2 minutes, or until hot. Fill your wrap and add the toppings, with sour cream and additional salsa on the side.

Veggie Burgers (makes 8)

2 cans black beans, rinsed

2 cups Mama Flasch’s salsa (mild, medium or hot)

1.5 cups Panko bread crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon dried coriander or 6 cilantro leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Buns

In a large glass bowl, mash the beans. Mix in bread crumbs, 1 cup salsa, eggs and cilantro/coriander. Shape into eight patties and refrigerate for up to 6 days. When you’re ready to have the meal, cook the patties in a large skillet with two tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side. Serve on buns and top with additional salsa and your choice of toppings from your salad bar.

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