Tag Archives: make ahead

Cinnamon and Sugar Muffin Puffs

Cinnamon PuffsEvery once in a while I just need something super indulgent for breakfast. Most of the time that means doughnuts for my family. When our favorite doughnut shop retired earlier this year we were at a loss. We’ve tried many of the other neighborhood spots, but none of them are quite as good. Although I recently took a doughnut making class, I have not yet made them at home on my own. So I have succumbed to simply making muffins on a regular basis. This recipe is my version of a churro in muffin form. I hope you enjoy.

Shopping List:

2 cups flour
1 cup milk or cream
2/3 cup brown sugar or granulated sugar (I used brown.)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
8 tablespoons vegetable oil

Topping:

4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl start by whisking together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.
  3.  Make an indentation in the center of the bowl and mix in the vanilla, milk and eggs.
  4.  Spoon these into a well-greased mini-muffin baking tray. Bake for 12-14.
  5. When they are done pop them out of their tray and roll them quickly in the butter, sugar and cinnamon topping.

Back to School Make Ahead Dinners: 5 to Keep You Alive

With the school year starting back up, so many of us will soon be thrown into that business of the after-school hustle. So who can’t use a few easy tricks to getting meals on the table a little faster. Some weeks I am a pre-chopper and other times I am a pre-cooker. All of these meals are meals that you can make on the weekend, or whenever you have time, and then they reheat well when it’s time serve them. The other great thing about these dishes is that because the stand up to re-heating you can easily pack them for lunch, or bring to a pot luck. I hope you enjoy these.

IMG_3836
Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Goat Cheese Enchiladas are a sophisticated Mexican meal that are definitely suitable for entertaining. A delicious combination of goat cheese and green chiles give this traditional comfort food a little glam power.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Cobb Hand Pies

Chicken Cobb Hand Pies are my favorite salad tucked inside a pastry crust. Who wouldn’t love that? I love a good sandwich with a side salad, and this pocket sammy is amped up because it’s stuffed inside of dough!

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Peppers
Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Chicken Stuffed Peppers are a healthier version of the traditional pork and beef stuffed favorite, but just as tender and moist. These reheat really well, so make a batch or two and send them for lunch too.

 

 

 

 

P1060572
Veggie filled Chili

Chili what more do I need to say? OK, a little more would be good. This is a fabulous veggie chili that holds its own filled with spices that with keep your mouth begging for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Meatballs
Traditional Meatballs

Traditional Meatballs are one of my tests of a good Italian restaurant. I am super picky to say the least about meatballs, as most Italians are. These are a classic recipe with my favorite homemade marinara to boot!

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus Make Ahead Meal: Pesto Chicken. Sorry no photo for this one, but it’s super simple! Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread 1/2 cup of pesto on the bottom of the pan. Top with 2 cups of pre-cooked chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. Spread the chicken with another 1/2 cup of pesto and top with 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese shredded (I used white cheddar). Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly and hot all the way through. Serve this over pasta or brown rice.

Double Duty Meal #2: Lemon-Mustard Chicken and Israeli Couscous Spa Salad

IMG_1191-0.JPG

We eat a lot of chicken around here. As you might guess if you are a frequent visitor to my blog. Chicken, in my opinion, is a perfect double duty food element.

You can easily whip up a big batch of chicken on the weekend, and stock pile it in the fridge for quick fix meals later in the week. My favorites are to use it in a soup, a salad or a pasta dish. It is so versatile that all you need to do to reinvent it is to mix the chicken with some new flavors.

I’ve come into a pretty good routine in the past year of cooking meals that do double duty.  So, here’s another of my favorites.

 

Shopping List:

CHICKEN MARINADE:

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 garlic clove, sliced

2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breasts

 

Instructions:

1. Mix together the marinade in a ziptop bag and place the chicken inside. Make sure that all sides of the chicken is covered before you leave it to do it’s thing in the refrigerator. Marinate it between 1-3 hours, longer than this will cause the chicken to become mushy.

2. Drain the chicken and either grill it on a hot grill for 6-7 minutes per side or cook it  in a saute pan on medium high heat for the same amount of time. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan as the chicken will steam, rather than caramelize.

3. Save 1 1/2 chicken breasts to shred for the salad below.

 

Israeli Couscous Spa Salad
Israeli Couscous Spa Salad

For the second dish of the week you will need the items below. Check out the original posting of this recipe here.

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken (see above)

1 cup uncooked Israeli Couscous (or other small pasta)

1 apple diced

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup dried cranberries

4 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles (hey: by all means if you hate blue cheese a good substitute is feta here, or you could leave it out altogether)

1/2 loosely packed basil

1/3 cup olive oil

Maple-Spice French Toast

P1070394When we head out of town I like to clean out the refrigerator before we go, so that upon return I don’t find some unidentifiable food that’s morphed into something other worldly. I normally make it into an opportunity to eat soups and salads for most of the week prior to the trip. Which in return makes me feel better about gorging myself on vacation food.

Recently we traveled for a long weekend, and I did what I could and used as much produce as possible beforehand, but I still had half of a loaf of bread to leave behind. This was inevitably due to all the salads we ate, but I just popped it in the refrigerator so that it would still be salvageable when we returned. Unfortunately it was a little dry to use for sandwiches, but it was perfect to make a big batch of french toast.

From time to time I will make french toast on the weekends during the school year, but eating it mid-week is a treat for my kids. Occasionally when I have extra time I will make a big batch like this and freeze it for those busy school days.

Shopping List:
9 slices of bread, about half a loaf
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk of your choice, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3/4 teaspoon of maple flavoring
3/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
powdered sugar and berries for serving

Instructions:
1. In a shallow bowl beat together the eggs, milk, maple flavoring, spice and sugar. Then turn on your griddle to medium and grease it with a little butter.
2. Once the pan is hot, dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture one side at a time. Then cook the bread for 1-2 minutes per side.
3. Serve with berries and powdered sugar. Or cool and store in freezer-safe storage bags. If frozen, microwave for 20-30 seconds per slice.
Serves: 3-4

Save the Day Chicken Lettuce Cups

P1070235One of my biggest daily challenges is to try to get a healthy meal on the table that the whole family will enjoy, while still shuttling kids to their afterschool activities. But often after working and then doing homework with the kids and driving them to their stuff, I succumb and just throw together some pasta and sauce or end up ordering takeout. I know it’s a bad habit.

Sometimes I will actually plan out the meals for the week on Sunday, and then head to the grocery store, and then chop up some of those fruits and veggies so they are ready to go. That of course is always the plan, but often the weekend fun and busy week gets in the way of my best laid plans. Continue reading Save the Day Chicken Lettuce Cups

Goat Cheese Enchiladas

IMG_3836One day upon our one of our regular visits to our favorite local Mexican restaurant the waitress brought our kids a small bowl of enchilada sauce for them to dip their chips. The stars aligned that night and the little ones decided to venture deep into the sauce. Continue reading Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Pesto Potato Salad

With summer in full swing, barbeques and potlucks are plentiful. And of course, I’m always debating about what to bring for these events. Since it really depends on the group your serving, and if you’ve been assigned a specific dish or not.  It can be tough to bring a side that stands out, but at the same time will tempt most palates. For a different take on a potato salad, try this pesto infused travel-friendly version. It’s super easy to throw together and pretty tasty as well.

Shopping List:

1 pound baby new potatoes, halved

2 cobbs of fresh corn, with corn cut off

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch peices

1 red pepper, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of prepared pesto, here’s my version of pesto.

Instructions:

1. Bring a small pot of water to boil, with a 1 teaspoonn of salt.

2. Add the potatoes to the pot and set the timer for 10 minutes. At ten minutes throw in the green beans for only two minutes. And then immediately, toss them all in ice water to stop the cooking process. The potatoes should be a tender, but still crisp.

3. While the potatoes are warm stir in the pesto sauce, the corn and red pepper. Then, it’s ready to serve.

Serves: 6-8 people

Other Potluck Friendly Sidedish Posts:

Israeli Couscous Spa Salad

White Bean Picnic Salad

Make-Ahead Mushroom Salad

Thai Carrot Slaw