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It’s been a long day. It’s freezing out. You’re exhausted. The thought of grocery shopping or whipping up a gourmet meal is simply out of the question. (OK, we’re done complaining now.) In those weak moments, don’t settle for takeout. Instead, consider these 20 simple and awesome recipes you can make ahead of time to stick in your freezer, then dole out on lazy winter nights. Problems solved.

eggplantparm

Eggplant Parmesan

You could order in from the local Italian restaurant or defrost this delicious, lightened-up, homemade version.

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ragout

White Bean Ragout

You can freeze this ragout for about three months. Serve it over warm toast and voilà: a cozy dinner in no time.

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ziti

Baked Ziti

Loaded with creamy ricotta and veggies, then baked to rich, cheesy perfection.

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RELATED: 13 Mouthwatering Make-Ahead Breakfasts

cauliflower

Coconut Curried Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower gets a kick in this silky winter soup.

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meatloaf

Mini Meatloaves

This recipe is a gift that keeps on giving. Make these guys in bulk, then pop 'em out of the freezer one at a time.

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chili

Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash Chili

Make it now; serve it every Sunday until the Super Bowl.

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pullechicken

Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken

All you need day-of are buns.

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RELATED: 6 Easy Slow-Cooker Chicken Recipes

macandcheese

Mac and Cheese

You never know when a mac and cheese craving will hit. It’s best to be prepared.

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italianwedding

Italian Wedding Soup

Assemble your ingredients in freezer bags. Thaw the bag overnight before you want to make the soup and then throw it all into your slow-cooker.

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potpie

Veggie PotPie

This potpie can go into the freezer before it’s cooked. When it’s time to whip it out for dinner, simply pop it in the oven (and add 15 minutes to the recipe’s bake time).

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fishsticks

Crispy Fish Sticks

Never settle for the packaged version again.

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empanada1
ERIN MCDOWELL

Beef Empanadas

Freeze these finger foods before baking them and add an additional 8 to 10 minutes to the cooking time when you’re ready to eat.

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ragu

Lamb Ragu

The perfect make-ahead sauce--just pour it over rice or pasta and chow down.

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lasagna

Mixed Greens Lasagna

The most delicious way to eat your greens.

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bbqchicken

BBQ Shredded Chicken

Make a few pounds in the oven or slow-cooker, store it in the freezer and prepare it for weeknight meals throughout the month.

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dumpling

Homemade Pork Dumplings

Stuff these homemade dumplings with your favorite fillings. Then freeze them for a lazy evening.

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fritters

Zucchini and Carrot Fritters

Put squares of parchment paper between the fritters so you can easily get them out of the freezer one at a time.

 

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meatballs

Zucchini and Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs freeze better than most dishes. Cook them ahead of time, then serve them throughout the month in soups or pasta.

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pizza

Cheater’s Pizza Dough

We’re assuming you have marinara sauce and some sort of cheese in your fridge.

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tomato

Roasted Tomato Soup

Make a big batch then store in individual Tupperware for a perfect lunch or dinner on the go.

Get the recipe.

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