In a rush? Try one of these easy meals that can be prepared in advance.
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Italian pasta ingredients on the pink background knolling
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Meal prep may sound tedious, but once you get into the groove of planning, or at least semi-planning, meals in advance, you'll see why so many people love to plan ahead! Whether you want to go ahead and make a week's worth of meals, or just a central protein or ingredient that can be repurposed in various ways, start your meal prep journey with these easy recipes.

The dishes are mainly hands off, last for days in the fridge or even longer in the freezer, and are even better reheated once you put in the initial kitchen time. Keep reading for several meal prep ideas to make your life much easier and more delicious.

RELATED: 35 Quick and Easy Recipes to Make for Dinner Tonight

Macaroni and Cheese
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1 Macaroni and Cheese

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A pan of baked mac and cheese is the ideal make-ahead lunch, dinner, or side dish. Heat it all up or slice out a serving to quickly microwave and enjoy.

Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti
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2 Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti

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Part lasagna, part ziti, this cheesy, saucy meal can be prepped in individual baking dishes or in one large one. Bake it as you're ready to eat it, or just cook the whole tray and work through it as desired.

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
Credit: Greg DuPree

3 Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

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A rotisserie chicken stretches into a meal that will last a week in this decadent casserole that's ideal for advance meal prep. Throw in some frozen peas, broccoli florets, or edamame to up the veggie content.

Gochujang Braised Brisket
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4 Gochuchang Braised Brisket

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A braised brisket can go a long way, especially if you freeze half a batch of this Korean-inspired recipe for another time. Enjoy your reheated brisket as a sandwich, with quick-cooking rice, noodles, or rice cakes, or really however you're inspired to eat this beef.

Whole-Grain Minestrone Recipe
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5 Whole Grain Minestrone

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Replacing pasta with farro in this veggie-based soup recipe helps the grain stand up to the broth after days in the fridge or freezer. It's ideal as a packed lunch in a thermos or a quick dinner for busy nights.

Zucchini Parmesan Frittata
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6 Zucchini Parmesan Frittata

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Making a frittata to sit in the fridge and eat as your craving hits is perfect for busy cooks. Bake up this egg dish at the start of the week and slice some for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. It can be enjoyed cold and reheated.

RELATED: The Secret to Making a Perfect Frittata Every Time

Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup
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7 Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup

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Plant-based soup is always a good idea to have on hand. Whip up a big batch for quick meals, and if you don't get through it all, just freeze the rest.

Double Roasted Chicken Recipe
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8 Lemon Coriander Roast Chicken

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Roasting two chickens at once yields double the meals, and the opportunities for this flavorful, juicy chicken are seemingly endless. Use the leftovers to top salads, sandwiches, or grain bowls, fold into quesadillas or cold wraps, stir into soups, and more.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
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9 Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

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These peppers are easy to prep and then cook for about 40 minutes in the oven. Cook them for slightly less time if you plan on reheating, and enjoy the bounty of your prep with a quick reheat.

Mason jar salad
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10 Mason Jar Salad

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Prep these one- or two-serving jarred salads to bring on the go. The trick is layering ingredients by texture and density, so nothing gets muddled or too mushy.

Easy Pork Dumplings
Credit: Greg DuPree

11 Easy Pork Dumplings

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There's a little legwork (okay, handwork) involved in folding dumplings, but make it a family project and fill your freezer with homemade dumplings to steam or fry whenever the craving hits. No need to defrost!

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