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In my experience, single-serving dishes tend to be of-the-minute, speedy affairs, while recipes for make-ahead meals feed small armies. And while I want to plan ahead, I don’t want to eat the same thing over and over and over again.
One way to keep dinners fresh is by freezing portions for my future self. But recently, my freezer’s been getting a bit full of soups and loaves (and some ice cream). So I’ve thought of another tactic: prepping one base ingredient on Sunday nights, like grains or sauces, so I’m halfway to dinner the rest of the week. It’s the perfect compromise between the comforting predictability of meal planning and the creative freedom of making dinner on the fly. Here, I’ve gathered four make-ahead components that are perfect blank canvases for dinners I can finish on my own—no small armies required.
Make a pot of rice
Quick, easy, filling rice is ready to help you with dinner all week long. Use it to bulk up salads or cobble together leftovers. And if you’re looking for a fluffy, stress-free method, check out our guide here.
Boil a batch of eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are not only portable snacks, but also adaptable, affable best friends to salads, stews, sauces, and sandwiches. There are loads of ways to get your perfect egg, but we’ve got some pointers.
Soak a bunch of beans
Whether or not you’re a fan of the overnight soak, beans are a great make-ahead base. Dress them up in salads or pulse them into dips. (You can even use canned—we won’t tell.)
Pulse some pesto
Pesto can be made out of practically any vegetable or herb that’s green and flavorful. Arugula? Yep. Peas? Yes. Mint? Of course! And what’s more: You can add any nuts, oils, or cheeses you’d like. Now, get to grinding.
How do you prep dinners without getting tired of leftovers? Share tips in the comments!