If you’re hosting a dinner party or attending a potluck, the key is to make meals ahead of time so you’re not scrambling the day of.

  • “If I know that I’ll be hosting a big meal and will be serving soup as one of the courses, I’ll prepare it up to several weeks in advance and freeze it in a freezer-safe bag,” says Michelle Cohen, newlywed and development coordinator for Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  • “On the day of the event, I put the freezer bag in a pot of boiling water to defrost the soup and serve to everyone without the hassle of having to prepare it the day of.”
  • You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to take advantage of make-ahead meals. Make it a weekly routine for breakfast, lunch or dinner. “I prepare my steel cut oatmeal in my rice cooker on the ‘porridge’ setting the night before,” says Catherine Nojiri, Pharm. D.
  • “I set the cooker’s timer and also chop up an apple and add my seasonings right into the mix before it cooks. To save even more time, I make a weeks’ worth and store the leftovers in single serving containers to bring to work with me. It reheats beautifully and I don’t have to waste any time in the morning.”

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