Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jun 3, 2013 01:57 PM

Need recipes for make-ahead/heat-em-up dinners for 2 very hungry boys home from college...ideas?

I love to cook...I really do. But during the week I have a very limited amount of time, and I like to hit the gym after work, so I often don't get home until 9 or 10. To try and come home and make dinner every night, well, I just can't do that anymore. My son (his friend from college lives right across the street and he is like my 2nd son!) is perfectly capable of cooking something easy, but I know he loves my cooking. I'd like to find a few really hearty/yummy recipes that I can make and freeze, or at least stick in the fridge, and then they have good home-cooked meals when they get the hungries (which is, let's face it, 24/7. :-))

As an example, I made this the other night. It lasted 3 nights, and they LOVED it.

I also keep seasoned grilled chicken frozen in containers, and then move them to the fridge so that they can add chicken to those steam bags of veggies. They also love the Voila frozen dinners - but each boy can eat ONE for dinner!!

Any other suggestions? Hoping for something different, and not terribly time consuming?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you're looking for items that are readily microwavable...
    I suggest a Mexican themed dinner where they can mix it up to get different dishes.

    Taco meat or chili verde, Mexican rice and refried beans.
    They can make nachos, tacos, burritos, taco salad or just a plate dinner.

    1. A real simple pre-prep meal is rice/veggie/meat in a microwave safe container. Cook the rice (brown often for myself), cook the meat (I often use chicken/turkey/tilapia), add some veggies raw (broccoli, asparagus). Layer them rice bottom then meat then veggie. Microwave for a few minutes and ready.

      If you didn't know microwaving veggies turn out amazing, keep their color, stay crisp and supposedly best way to keep the nutrients. Was taught this by a guy I knew that couldn't cook and was a workout fanatic. He used to do this every sunday for his whole weeks worth of food.

      Honestly though might be better to let them fend for themselves or learn to cook. They will have a long life of it ahead of them and the skills/practice will never hurt.

      1 Reply
      1. re: NekoNekoFancyPants

        Actually, they "fend for themselves" most of the time, already. :-) I'm not looking to have a hot home-cooked meal 3 times a day, beleive me. My son can cook a mean breakast, and he does, and he takes care of his own lunch as well. I would just like to provide a couple of good meals a week that they can heat up.

      2. Sounds like your boys have similar tastes to my SO...he loves those frozen skillet meals too, and eats one of them for lunch when I don't have leftovers for him.

        What about enchiladas? You could either buy canned sauce or make the sauce on the weekend.... same for cooking up whatever meat. My SO likes ground beef enchiladas made w/ the taco seasoning packets... in flour tortillas with cheese in them, and on top. Takes maybe 15-20 to assemble and another 15 to bake. Not much real cooking involved :)

        Also, this casserole is very easy and SO loves it: It's better reheated the next day.

        This is sorta similar to the rigatoni you made, but the pesto makes it a bit different:

        We also both enjoyed this baked chicken, and it's a snap to put together: Reminds me I should make it again soon.

        There's lots of other italian-y kind of things... skillet lasagne, baked chicken parm etc.

        Oh, also you could roast or grill a big hunk of beef, like a tri-tip, and then thinly slice... great for sandwiches the next day.

        1 Reply
        1. re: juliejulez

          Wow those look great!! I will be trying them ALL.

          Hadn't thought about cooking a beef roast for sandwiches...great idea!

          1. re: GH1618

            I always get 3 nights out of chili. 2 nights as regular chili, and 3rd night spread over cheese quesadillas.

            1. re: jeanmarieok

              Don't forget chili dogs or chili cheese baked potato (if necessary, they can cook up the potato's in the micro.

          2. Enchiladas (either chicken or beef - or both, since they are hungry boys) with some spanish rice.
            Chicken & rice is an easy heat and eat meal.
            Make a roasted red pepper sauce and refrigerate and all they have to do is cook some pasta.
            Fritata's reheat well.
            Scalloped potatoes and ham also reheat well.
            Lasagna? Try several different types. Chicken lasagna with a beschamel sauce instead of ricotta.
            Any kind of wraps with a pasta salad.
            I've also been known to cook a small turkey with all the trimmings and plate individual meals on a plastic plate, vacuum seal and freeze. Easy reheat in the microwave and so good (turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggie and gravy).
            Tubs of Chili are really great as well. They can add their own toppings.
            Keep stuff for Nacho's on hand.

            Other than that, leave printed recipes on hand so they can learn as NekoNeko suggested.

            1 Reply
            1. re: boyzoma

              Yeah I make a hellava chicken and rice soup, and tortilla soup, and chili, but somehow I just never want to make that stuff in the summer.