Freshly cooked meals are the best.
Too bad we can’t have them all the time because most of the day, most of the week, we’re out and will only be back in time for dinner.
There’s not much choice but to make dinner ahead of time. But not all recipes can be cooked ahead, or are decent enough to be eaten when cooked ahead or when re-heated.
I drew up a category list of “make ahead” meals which might help the working mom plan and cook meals ahead of time.
Wraps & Rolls. These are the types that you mix and wrap beforehand, maybe store in the freezer, ready to steam or fry or even ready to serve. House favorites include siomai, lumpiang shanghai, vietnamese spring rolls, lumpiang ubod, lumpiang gulay, shrimp dumplings.
Cold Noodles. We’re noodle monsters. But a lot of noodle dishes are better when cooked fresh, like pasta with sauce or noodle soups. Lucky enough, some of the asian noodle dishes can be served cold. Yakisoba, chap chae, pancit malabon are among those I can think of.
Stews. When dishes require longer cooking time, it’s very likely that you can cook it ahead. Dishes that require stewing meats for longer periods, like asado, mechado, menudo are some of your best bets.
Vinegar-based. Like wine, vinegar-based dishes taste better as they age. Cooking them in advance and leaving them out for the rest of the day or overnight would mean more developed flavors and a much more tastier dish, than when you eat them right after cooking. Adobo and paksiw na pata are perfect examples.
To Bake. Meals that can be pre-cooked, frozen then popped into the oven for re-heating are safe to make ahead as well. Casseroles, gratins, pizza and baked pasta are pretty yummy options.
If you work all day, there’s nothing better than coming home hungry but with food on the table ready to be devoured.
Tomorrow, we’ll have siomai. But they’re ready now.