make ahead meals

User - posted on 09/08/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )




I am looking for something to make in the morning and throw in the oven at dinner times. Crockpot recipes would be good too


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Jennifer - posted on 09/29/2009




chicken spaghetti:

cook and drain spaghetti noodles
boil boneless skinless chicken

add both with the following in crockpot

enchilada sauce
large can cream of chicken soup
small can of tomato soup
taco seasoning
salsa and or diced tomatoes
velvetta cheese
mexican cheese shredded

forget it in crockpot for all day on low and it is so yummy and delicious can be hot just depends on how hot you get ingredients

Lena - posted on 09/28/2009




This one is perfect made the night before..or depending on how much time you have in the mornings to make it.

Summer Spaghetti Salad

1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 purple onion
2 cucumbers
2 tomatoes
4-6 stalks of celery
2-4 bottles of Italian Dressing
2-4 lbs Spaghetti

Cut all veggies up into cubes. Can leave peel on Cucumbers if you like. Make Spaghetti according to package. When done, Drain & run cold water over it to cool it off. When Cool, place into large pot or bowl, add veggies & 1-2 bottles of Italian dressing. Cover & place in fridge to chill. When ready to serve, Add another bottle of Italian Dressing, Toss & serve cold.

Can add mushrooms, but they will turn brown & will start to get slimy if left longer then 12 hrs. Also another variation is adding Black Olives.

This recipe yields 10-12 large bowls. Can add more or less depending on family size & quantity wanted. Very addictive lol. Perfect for a light dinner or Family Get togethers. Goes absolute perfect with BBQ chicken & Sausage. We eat ALOT of this in my house. Best way to get a child to eat veggies lol

Iysha - posted on 09/28/2009




I don't have one for mornings, but I have one that you make the night before.

Meat Ball Soup

ingredients: 1 lb 80% lean ground beef(fatty meat gives the soup a better taste), 1 egg beaten, 1/2 onion chopped(yellow or white preferred), about 1 1/2 roma tomatoes chopped the other 1/2 sliced, a hand full of rice(uncooked), 2 squash or zucchini cubed, 2 sicks oregano(leaves only), a couple mint leaves chopped, beef stock, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat about 4 cups water in a big pot with the sliced tomato and leave to boil. Meanwhile, combine meat, onion, chopped tomato, rice, egg, oregano, mint leaves and salt and pepper in a bowl. Check to see if it has enough salt(take a pinch of the mixture and microwave for about 20 sec and taste) Once water has boiled, start making meat balls with the meat mixture and drop in the boiling water slowly and one at a time. Cover and boil for about 30 min then add zucchini or squash and some beef stock to make more broth. boil for about 15 min more until meat balls are cooked (take one out and check). Put in refrigerator over night.

At dinner time, take pot of soup from the refrigerator. There should be a layer of fat over the soup. scoop out the layer of fat then heat soup on stove until it boils.

Serve hot with corn tortillas or by itself.

Recipe for 2-3 people... double for more

Cher - posted on 09/24/2009




It really depends on how much prep time and cooking time you have. Try the following, I have never made it ahead, but it should be fine in the fridge for the day. May require a little longer cook time. My family loves it!

Burrito Bake
Meat mixture: brown 1lb ground beef and drain (time saver: cook more and freeze into meal size portions for future use). Add 1pkg (1 1/4oz) taco seasoning mix and 3/4cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered 10 min, stirring occasionally.
Lay 4 tortillas on the bottom of a greased 9 in. pie plate.
Top with a couple of spoonfuls each: meat mixture and refried beans, shredded cheese (soya cheese also works equally well for this recipe). Cover with another layer of tortillas. Repeat layers and top with remaining tortillas. Finally spread salsa on top, sprinkle with shredded cheese and diced fresh vegies such as romano tomatoes, peppers, onion, etc.
Bake at 350 F for 30 min (if previously chilled add additional cook time). Cut into wedges and serve with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, sour cream, avocado/guacomole, sliced olives, or salsa.

Dawn - posted on 09/23/2009




I like to make this before I leave so it is ready when I get home! It is from Busy People's Slow Cooker Cookbook. Mmmm,mmmm!

Meatloaf Dinner

What’s better than a meat and potato dinner all in one pot?

2 egg whites

1/4 cup skim milk

2 slices day-old bread, cubed

1/3 cup chunky salsa

1 1/2 pounds ground eye of round beef

1/4 cup ketchup

8 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch cubes

12 small red potatoes

• In a bowl beat together the egg whites and milk.

• Stir in the bread cubes and salsa.

• Add the beef and mix well.

• Shape the beef mixture into a round loaf and place it in a slow cooker.

• Spread the ketchup on top of the loaf.

• Place the carrots and potatoes on top.

• Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

• Reduce the heat to low and cook for 7 to 8 hours longer until the meat is no longer pink in the center and the vegetables are tender.

Yield: 6 servings

Calories: 324

Fat: 11grams (30% fat)

Cholesterol: 42mg

Carbohydrate: 28g

Dietary Fiber: 5g

Protein: 28g

Sodium: 380mg

Menu idea: Since these vegetables are high in carbohydrates, I suggest having a fresh garden salad with this meal.

Jessica - posted on 09/23/2009




Crunchy Mac & Cheese

Prep 5 minutes

Cook: 8 minutes

Bake: 10 to 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

* Cooking spray

* 1 cup whole-grain cereal flakes (like Wheaties or Total)

* 1/4 cup wheat germ, unsweetened

* 2 Tbs grated Parmesan

* 6-oz package macaroni and cheese

* 1/4 to 1/2 cup White Puree

* 1/2 to 1/2 cup Orange Puree

* 2 Tbs butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat casserole dish with cooking spray. Put cereal in zip-close bag and crush to coarse crumbs. Pour crumbs in a bowl and mix in wheat germ and Parmesan.

2. Prepare macaroni and cheese according to package directions, adding White Puree, Orange Puree, or both (use no more than 1/2 cup puree total per 6-oz box of macaroni and cheese). Transfer to casserole dish, sprinkle with crunchy topping, and dot with butter. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until topping is golden.

Per serving: 313 calories, 18 g fat (10 g saturated), 418 mg sodium, 45 mg cholesterol

Spinach and Cheese Casserole

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 75 minutes

Serves: 8

Cooking spray

4 eggs

2/3 cup flour

Two 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

24-oz container low-fat cottage cheese

3 cups grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Salt, to taste

1. Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with flour until smooth.

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to blend. Spoon into prepared dish, cover, and refrigerate.

3. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 75 minutes.

TIP: To prep and bake the day before, shorten oven time by 10 minutes. Cool, wrap, and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, checking at 10-minute intervals, until heated through.

How kids can help: Measure ingredients.

Per serving: 273 calories, 13 g fat (7 g saturated), 818 mg sodium, 140 mg cholesterol.

Ravioli Lasagna

Prep: 7 minutes

Bake: about 40 minutes

Bake from frozen: 1 hour 25 minutes

Serves: 6

26-oz jar marinara or pasta sauce

Two 13-oz packages cheese ravioli

1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a foil baking pan. Spread 1 package of ravioli in a single layer on sauce. Top with 1 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Layer the second package of ravioli on top, then 1 cup sauce and 1 cup mozzarella. Cover pan with foil and freeze until ready to use, or bake covered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes.

To bake frozen lasagna: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake, covered, for 1 hour. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is melted and starting to brown, and inside middle is hot, about 25 minutes more.

How kids can help: Measure ingredients; help assemble lasagna.

Per serving: 402 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated), 615 mg sodium, 116 mg cholesterol.

Chicken Pie with Cornmeal Crust

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: about 45 to 60 minutes

Yield: 9 servings


* 1 3/4 cups chicken broth

* 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch pieces

* 4 carrots, thinly sliced crosswise

* 4 tablespoons butter or margarine

* 1 medium onion, chopped, about 3/4 cup

* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

* 1 cup low-fat milk

* 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

* 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

* 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

* 1 teaspoon sugar

* 1 teaspoon baking powder

* 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons milk

* 1 egg, lightly beaten

* 2 tablespoons peanut or olive oil

1. Heat broth and chicken in a large saucepan until boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken to a 2-quart casserole dish and set aside. Add carrots to hot broth and simmer about 5 minutes, until fork-tender, then remove and add to the cooked chicken. Reserve the broth and set aside.

2. In another medium saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the reserved broth. Return to heat and cook, stirring until sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat; blend in milk and salt, then pour sauce over chicken and carrots. Mix in the peas and parsley, and set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and baking powder. Using a fork, blend in the milk, egg, and oil. Pour over the chicken filling and spread to edges of dish with a spatula. Bake 45 to 50 minutes if 1 large pie (40 minutes if in 2 smaller casseroles, 35 minutes if 9 individual ones), or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Freezing: Cool slightly, then chill. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and freeze.

Reheating: Thaw, then bake covered pie in a preheated 425-degree oven, removing foil halfway through. Bake 45 to 60 minutes (35 to 40 minutes if 2 smaller pies, 30 minutes if 9 small ones), or until a knife inserted into the center comes out hot. (To reheat from frozen, double the baking time.)

How kids can help: Combine ingredients and mix the batter for the crust; pour over filling.

Per serving (1/9 recipe): 326 calories, 30 g protein, 11 g fat (4 g saturated), 24 g carbohydrate, 546 mg sodium, 92 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber.

Fall Vegetable Soup

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Yield: 12 cups

* 1 large onion, chopped

* 2 garlic cloves, chopped

* 2 tablespoons olive oil

* 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

* 2 carrots, sliced

* 2 small potatoes, diced

* 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced

* 1/2 cup raw rice

* 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice

* 1 16-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed

* 2 cups fresh kale or spinach, chopped

* 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes, about 1 pound (1 small squash)

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, optional

1. In a large soup pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, carrots, potatoes, parsnip, rice, thyme, and salt.

2. Once soup boils, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice, the white beans, kale, and squash; simmer about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Freezing: Chill, then wrap in batches (use resealable plastic freezer bags or plastic storage containers) and freeze.

Reheating: Thaw, then cook in a covered saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and bubbly.

How kids can help: Since this recipe involves heat, children should not pitch in.

Per serving (1 cup): 150 calories, 7 g protein, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 25 g carbohydrate, 540 mg sodium, 0.5 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber.

Vegetable Lasagna

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

* 3 cups low-fat milk

* 4 teaspoons dried rosemary

* 3 garlic cloves, crushed

* 3 tablespoons butter or margarine

* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

* 2 tablespoons olive oil

* 1 pound carrots, grated

* 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

* 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

* 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce in a jar

* 9 7 x 3 1/2-inch no-boil lasagna noodles

* 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the milk, rosemary, and garlic in a medium saucepan to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 5 minutes.

2. In another saucepan, melt the butter or margarine, then blend in flour. Strain the milk through a sieve into the butter-and-flour mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and boils for at least 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, carrots, and spinach, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Stir in the salt and sauce. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the vegetables evenly into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

4. Arrange 3 sheets of lasagna noodles over the veggies in the bottom of the dish (don't let them touch or overlap, as they will expand during baking). Spoon about half of the remaining vegetables over the noodles. Top with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup marinara sauce.

5. Arrange 3 more sheets of lasagna on top of the sauce. Repeat layers using remaining vegetables, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 cup sauce, and last three noodles. Spoon over remaining sauce, making sure all the noodles are coated, then sprinkle with rest of cheese.

6. If planning to serve immediately, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes; remove cover and bake another 10 minutes, or until top is brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Freezing: Cover uncooked lasagna tightly with foil and freeze.

Reheating: Thaw, then bake, covered, for 30 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven. Remove foil cover and bake another 10 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out hot or until top is brown and bubbly. (To cook from frozen, bake covered lasagna in a preheated 425-degree oven for about 45 minutes.)

How kids can help: Layer the vegetables, noodles, cheese, and sauce in the lasagna dish.

Per serving (1/10 recipe): 313 calories, 14 g protein, 14 g fat (6.5 g saturated), 14 g carbohydrate, 741 mg sodium, 22 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber.

Crab Cakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Chilling time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

* 3/4 pound fresh or frozen, thawed crab (or sea legs), chopped

* 2 cups fresh bread crumbs made from 4 slices whole-wheat bread*

* 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

* 2 scallions, chopped

* 2 tablespoons lemon juice

* 3 eggs

* Dash ground red pepper

* About 2 tablespoons olive oil

*Freshly made bread crumbs are recommended for the best texture.

1. Combine the crab with all ingredients except the olive oil. Shape into 10 two-inch cakes. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking (bread crumbs should sizzle when dropped in oil). Add crab cakes a few at a time, being careful not to crowd the skillet. Cook until browned and crisp on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes for each side.

Freezing: Let cakes chill, then wrap between layers of waxed paper. Wrap tightly in foil and freeze.

Reheating: For crispy cakes, reheat in the oven from frozen. Bake uncovered on a cookie sheet in a preheated 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until heated through and crisp. Or warm in the microwave loosely covered with a paper towel, about 3 minutes per cake, or until heated through (cakes will not be crispy).

How kids can help: Mix all ingredients and form the crab cakes.

Per serving (1/10 recipe): 201 calories, 11 g protein, 13 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 13 g carbohydrate, 436 mg sodium, 171 mg cholesterol, 2.5 g fiber.

Diana - posted on 09/17/2009




Everytime I make this, nothing is left:)

Crockpot Cheesy Penne

Prepare this meal in the morning and leave it to cook all day in the crock pot
1 lb Sweet Italian sausage
1 15 oz Can tomato sauce
1 14-oz Can diced tomatoes
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Garlic powder
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup Veggie or olive oil
2 tsp Granulated sugar
1/2-3/4 lb Penne pasta
1 cup Shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack
Parmesan cheese
1. Cook sausage in frying pan on medium heat until browned & crumbly Drain well.
Cook sausage whole in casings; remove and dry, then cut into halved circles.
2. Place in crock pot. Add sauce & diced tomatoes Add oregano, garlic powder, salt & pepper, oil, sugar & stir well.
3. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-6 hours.
4. Salt large pot of water & cook 1/2-3/4 lb of penne 4-5 minutes less than directions on box call for (about 7 or 8 minutes)
5. Add penne & stir well.
6. Top with 1 cup shredded cheese.
7. Continue to cook on high for 15-20 minutes or until pasta is tender & heated & cheese has melted

Linda - posted on 09/15/2009




stir frys are quick & easy! Quiche lorriane 3 eggs,1 tbl butter,1 cup cream,diced bacon,1 cup cheese,frozen puff pastry sheets. beat eggs,add cream ,add cheese & bacon mix.get quiche dish put pastry sheet on bottom of dish pour mixture into dish add extra grated cheese o top put in oven for 35-40mins or until cooked puffed up into a dome & slightly browned.serve with salad or veg.

Alison - posted on 09/09/2009




I made this yesterday and loved it!

Slow Cooker Curry Chicken

Mix together:

3 Tbsp. Curry

1 Tbsp. Cumin

1 Tbsp. Turmeric

1 cup Five Alive (this is what I had on hand, you can use apple or orange juice)

1 tsp. honey (or more if you like it sweeter)

1 onion diced

Put chicken pieces in the slow cooker (I used 4 thighs, but could have used 6) and pour spice mixture over top. Cook on low for 8 hours. Add 1-2 cups of frozen green peas at the end, just enough to let them warm up. If you want more veggies, you can also cook carrots along with your chicken.

Stacy - posted on 09/09/2009




1/2 Box of your favorite pasta

1 can of fully cooked chicken

2 cans of cream of potatoe soup

1 can of cream of onion soup

1 can of whole milk (I use the cream of potatoe soup can to measure)

Cook the noodles as directed on the box, drain and return to pan

add the chicken, cream of potatoe soup, cream of onion soup and milk.

Stir, heat on medium heat until all of the ingredients are warm (about 5 mins). Serve and ENJOY!

In stead of putting it in the pan to heat up you can toss it in the crock pot on low or warm and it will be ready for dinner. Also, you con substitute the noodles for rice :)

Kimberly - posted on 09/09/2009




One of my favs to make ahead, leave in the fridge, and then cook up at dinner time is Lasagna Mix up. It's a simple meal with few ingredients, but always gets great compliments when I make it for friends and pot lucks. Here's the link to the recipe if you want more details:

On the side bar there's a link to my crock pot recipes too. I hope this helps!

Faith - posted on 09/09/2009




The website offers new menus every week for busy families. They always have make-ahead dinners, crock-pot, or "throw together" recipes. You can get a feel for what the menu are like by trying out the Sample Menu. It has about 6 dinner entrees, including the Bleu Cheese Flank Steak. It is an awesome crock-pot dish!

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