Quick Recipes That Will Stay Fresh for a Week in Your Refrigerator
If you have a number of mouths to feed, you’d probably love recipes that can hold so you’re not constantly at the stove. And if you’re cooking for yourself, perhaps you could benefit from recipes that make enough for you to eat over the course of a week. Finding long-lasting recipes that will stay good in your fridge from Monday to Sunday sounds like a tall order, but we have the answer for you. Check out these five recipes that will stay fresh in your refrigerator for seven days.
1. New York Style Chopped Salad
Salads are great for prepping ahead of time, then eating all week long for lunch or dinner. This New York style chopped salad from The Pioneer Woman lives up to all expectations. With olives, hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese, you’ll be happy you have this mixture all set for the week. Make sure you add the dressing and avocado only when you’re ready to serve it to keep the salad from becoming soggy and the avocado from browning.
- 3 cups mixed salad greens
- 3 cups Bibb lettuce
- 8 whole Romaine leaves
- Grape tomatoes, halved
- Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- Pitted mixed olives
- Sliced or diced bell pepper
- Hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
- Avocado, sliced
- Mushrooms, sliced
- Cheese, grated
- Fresh mozzarella, cubed
- Cucumbers, halved then sliced
- Asparagus, blanched and sliced into pieces
- Sunflower seeds
- Sliced almonds
- Add a dressing of your choice
Directions: You can store your lettuce and salad toppings together in jars for the week, or you can keep them separate to give yourself the option of adding or omitting certain ingredients on different days.
When you’re ready to eat, grab your ingredients. Using a large bowl with tongs, toss the greens, your toppings of choice, and your favorite dressing. To have your salad chopped, pour everything onto a cutting board and quickly chop the salad into smaller pieces with two knives. Serve your salad immediately and store the rest of the ingredients in the fridge for later in the week.
2. Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Bars
If you love granola bars but hate all of the added preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup found in store-bought varieties, then check out these peanut butter-chocolate chip bars from VegKitchen. These delicious, chewy treats are sweetened with maple syrup, and you won’t feel guilty about reaching for them all week long, either.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- ½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup brown rice syrup
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup crisp rice cereal
- ½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions: Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lining an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. The parchment paper should hang over the edges of the pan a little bit, and from here, you can spray the paper with a light coating of nonstick cooking spray.
Stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, and brown rice syrup in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth. Add in the canola oil, vanilla, and salt. Then, mix in the oats and crisp rice cereal. You’ll be able to start mixing these ingredients in with the fork, but once it becomes too tough, you’ll have to knead the mix with clean, wet hands.
Add the peanuts and chocolate chips to the mixture and knead one last time. Then, transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press it firmly and evenly down into the parchment paper. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden.
Allow the pan to cool completely before removing the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment paper on the sides. Using a chef’s knife, slice the bars by pressing down firmly and cutting in one motion without sawing. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge.
3. Kale and Apple Soup
Soups are excellent make-ahead meals because you can cook up a large batch and save it in your refrigerator to have all week long. We particularly like this kale and apple soup from The Kitchn. Some soups that have noodles or contain cream can only stay good for a few days, but this recipe will taste just as good on the fifth day as it did on the first. This wonderful fall soup will liven up any weeknight.
- 1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ¼ cup cubed pancetta or sliced bacon (about 2 ounces)
- 4 cups warmed chicken or vegetable stock, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ whole yellow onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium apple, cored and chopped
- ¼ cup crème fraîche, mascarpone cheese, or plain yogurt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Directions: In a large skillet over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook for 1 minute and sauté until just beginning to browl. Add the kale and stir once or twice to coat the kale in the rendered fat. If the pancetta did not render enough fat, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until the kale begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and lower your heat down to medium low. Cook for about 10 minutes and stir occasionally.
Take this cooked mixture and transfer it to a blender. When you’re blending, make sure to only fill your blender halfway so the liquid does not drip over the top. Do this in two batches if you need to. Starting on the lowest blending speed, purée all of your mix until smooth. Alternatively, do this with an immersion blender. Pour the mix into a large bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium and add the onions and salt. Cook the onions until they’re translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the apples have softened and the onions have cooked and reduced. Stir in the rest of your broth.
Transfer this mix to the blender, and puree until smooth. Combine the puréed apple mix with the puréed kale mix and whisk to combine. You can add more stock or water if your soup consistency is too thick. Serve garnished with a dollop of crème fraîche and black pepper.
4. Curried Rice Pilaf
Rice is one of those staple foods you’ll probably always have in your pantry. Once you’ve cooked it with curry powder, garlic, and roasted cashews, you’ll be making rice to store in your refrigerator every week. Try this curried pilaf from Epicurious, which goes perfectly with meat or seafood and can even work as a light entrée.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons Madras curry powder
- 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained well
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ cup chopped salted roasted cashews
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Directions: Using a 1½ to 2-quart heavy saucepan, cook the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring the mixture every minute or so. Cook the mix until the onions are golden in color, or about 6 to 9 minutes. Add the curry and continue cooking and stirring for 1 minute.
Add the rice to the saucepan and cook for 1 minute, stirring all the while. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat down to low, and cook the rice mixture for 18 minutes. Remove from the heat once the rice is done cooking, and let the curry rice stand for 5 minutes, covered. Fluff with a fork before serving, and gently toss the rice with the roasted cashews and cilantro.
5. Spiced Red Lentils with Caramelized Onions and Spinach
Lentils are hearty and great for storing in your refrigerator all week. This recipe for spiced red lentils with caramelized onions and spinach from Sunset is delicious the first night you make it, and for many nights after. The fresh ginger and chili provide plenty of heat to the dish, while turmeric, coriander, and cumin add wonderful spice notes that liven up the lentils. Serve this dish over rice (which you can also make ahead and store in your fridge for the week) for a fast and delicious dinner.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1½ large onions, halved and cut into thin half-moons
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2 dried bay leaves
- ½ serrano chili, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 bunch (10-ounce) bag spinach, stems finely chopped and leaves cut in half
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups cooked brown basmati rice or couscous
Directions: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large nonstick cooking pan. Add your onions to the pan as well as a pinch of salt and cook until browned and completely soft with golden edges, about 30 minutes. Transfer half to a bowl and set aside.
While the onions are cooking, put your lentils, 3 cups of water, and bay leaves into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, skimming the foam as it forms. Simmer the lentils for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove the bay leaves and set the lentils aside, but do not drain them.
Add chili, ginger, coriander, turmeric, and 1 teaspoon salt to onions and cook over medium heat for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the spinach and cook until completely wilted, stirring a few times, about 3 minutes. Stir into the lentils, then wipe your cooking pan clean.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan and set over medium heat. Add cumin and garlic and stir while cooking for about 1 minute. Stir the garlic into the lentils and season with salt. For garnish, top the lentils with the reserved onion and serve over rice.