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05.01.2023 | Perspective

4 Meals That Are Better As Leftovers + From the Freezer

Make these on the weekend. Enjoy them during the week.

Xiu mai vietnamese meatball make ahead meal prep easy weekend meal cook in stackware


Kate Swanson

While I’d love nothing more than a life where I effortlessly whip up meals from scratch every night, the reality is that I simply don’t have time.


To save myself from ordering in every night of the week, I try to prep things that can be easily reheated (from the fridge or freezer) during the week.


The key — finding recipes that are delicious and maybe even better when served on day two (or four), as well as things that can withstand the freezer and thaw.


These are a few of my favourites:


  • Xíu Mai (Vietnamese Meatballs)
  • Stanley Tucci’s Ragu
  • French Onion Soup
  • Chicken Tikka Masala 



Give them a try and let me know what you think! Enjoy 🙂


Xíu Mai (Vietnamese Meatballs)


Chef Vicky, ENSEMBL’s loved Culinary Creator, makes this dish in the Braiser Pan – which is perfect for going from stove to oven to fridge and back again – and I can’t get enough.


Find the recipe here. 

Xiu Mai Vietnamese Meatball Meal Prep make in advance make ahead dinner idea Stackware
Make Ragu easy weeknight meal make ahead dinner recipe

Stanley Tucci’s Ragu


If your schedule permits, you should first read Stanley Tucci’s book, Taste, and then make this dish.


I love it because I can make it in a big batch and freeze it. During the week, all I need to do it prepare my pasta while reheating the sauce and dinner is ready to go.


Find the recipe here.

French Onion Soup


Kenji inspired me to make this a few weeks back, so take his instructions for prep. While you will need time to make beef stock and caramelise onions, both are very passive, and once you have these two things ready to go, everything else is easy.


I love to simmer beef bones in the Stockpot to make the broth, and can easily do a huge batch of onions in the Frying Pan. 


To enjoy during the week, I’d recommend keeping a small saucepan of soup (onions + broth) ready for the week in the fridge.


To serve, all you need to do is top with toasted bread and cheese (I prefer Comté) and bake to heat.

French onion soup easy recipe weeknight meal make ahead dinner prep
Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe make ahead weeknight meal

Kate’s Chicken Tikka Masala


This takes some time to prepare, but I promise it is easy and well worth it.


I really like making it in the Braiser Pan so that it can easily go from stove to the fridge and back again.




  • 6 garlic cloves, minced + 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 thumb size piece finely grated or minced peeled ginger + 1 thumb size piece
  • 4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 Tbsp. ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium fresh tomatoes, blending into a paste using a hand blender
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1   28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes,
  • ~ 2 cups heavy cream (one carton)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish





  1. Combine turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Mix, then divide in half. Take half the dried spice mix and add to a medium bowl with 6 cloves minced garlic, and 1 thumb sized piece of minced ginger. Whisk in the yogurt, salt. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill overnight (at least 8 hours).
  2. Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 min. Then add the remaining 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 thumb sized piece of minced ginger. Stir and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the cardamom and chiles, stir and cook for 1 min. Then add the remaining dried spice mix, and stir into the mixture. Let it cook, stirring for 1 – 2 minutes until the spices are toasted. Add the blended fresh tomato and stir into the mixture. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture has darkened and thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 5 – 7 minutes.
  6. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Serve with basmati rice and top with fresh cilantro.



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