Archive | August, 2012

Make Ahead Meals and Back to School

21 Aug

So this is officially our last week of summer vacation before B starts Kindergarten and we enter a whole new world of adhering to a school schedule.  I’m honestly not sure who is more nervous, me or B – but I’m sure once we get through a couple of weeks we’ll hit a routine.  In the meantime, to curtail some of my anxiety, I spent some time this past weekend making a few dishes to stick in my freezer and heat up later.  This way if our new routine hits a snag, dinner at least will be covered.  At the same time, a very good friend just had a new baby (yay! Congrats MN!) and I was lucky enoughto be  a) baby’s first visitor at home and b) the recipient of their CSA vegetables this week.  So the next two dinners are a combo of make-ahead meals and various attempts to use up all the yummy fresh corn, tomatoes, cabbage, and mini-eggplants that are in my fridge.  In the meantime, I’m always on the look out for more dishes that can be made ahead of time, and reheated easily, so feel free to share them!

1. Tomato Pie with grilled chicken sausage and corn on the cob
This tomato pie, adapted from Simply Recipes, is so super easy to make and is not like anything you’d expect (hint – it’s not a pizza pie!) 

2.  Pasta with Slow Cooker Eggplant Ragu
This is an easy alternative to spaghetti with meat sauce. 

3. Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
This is one of the dishes I made last weekend and froze.  I’ll pull it out the night before to defrost in the refrigerator and then reheat it for 45 minutes in the oven.

4. Cabbage, Turkey Kielbasa, and Pierogies
At some point I’d like to branch out on cabbage recipes, but for a busy weeknight this is a quick fix. 

5. Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
This will use up the last of the fresh tomatoes and I’ll add the leftover corn too.

6.  Fiesta Chicken and Rice Bake
This is the second dinner I made ahead to freeze.

7. Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce
This is pretty much a pantry supper, with the exception of ricotta cheese which is easy to keep around. 

8. Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Preserves with Onion Soup Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli
While I love making pork tenderloins in the slow cooker, they’re really easy and quick to make in the oven too.   I make it with mustard and whatever preserves we have on hand.

9. Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese
The Ultimate comfort food from Rachael Ray – but I make it with 1/2 the butter, skim milk, 2% cheese and ground turkey so it’s comfort without the guilt.  Another make-ahead dinner.

10. Pasta Primavera
In case I have any leftover vegetables, this recipe should do the trick.  Use whatever you have about, and in whatever amount you have.  It’s very forgiving and delicious.

August Already??

3 Aug

I know it’s a cliche, but I really cannot believe it is August already.  Another two weeks are done – this summer is really flying by.  Not much to report here – I’m hoping to have a couple dinners done on the grill so Michael can take over and I can take it easy.  This last stretch of summer is always so bitter-sweet.  I find myself starting to stress over the impending fall rather than enjoying one last month of pool time, sunshine, and relaxation (well, relative to other times of the year anyway).  At least I don’t have to stress about dinner every night!

  1. Curried Chicken Penne with Mango Chutney

My kids love fresh mango – and this Cooking Light recipe looks like an interesting twist to regular old chicken curry.

  1. Easy Chicken Lo Mein

They had me at “Easy”. 

  1. Slow Cooker Meatball Subs with Roasted Sesame and Honey Carrots 

I made a big batch of meatballs in the oven a couple weeks ago and froze them.  Now I’ll just heat them up in the slow cooker and voila – easiest dinner ever!

  1. Everything Grilled Chicken Salad

This isn’t your typical grilled chicken salad – this whole thing is grilled, lettuce and all – and it’s delicious!

  1. Baked Parmesan and Panko Tilapia with Onion Soup Potatoes

Since I never got around to making these potatoes last week, they’re getting a second chance.

  1. Salsa Verde Chicken Bake with Black Beans and Rice

Quite possibly one of the easiest dinners to throw together, from one of my favorite websites.

  1. Slow Cooker Eggplant Moussaka

When I’m trying lots of new recipes at home, I find it’s a good idea to throw in something I know the kids love and are familiar with too. 

  1. Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole

Sounds like a funny name – but it’s from the genius Gina at SkinnyTaste.   I’ll make it with Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage. 

  1. Tomato Pie and Grilled Chicken Sausages

Another Simply Recipes dish that I wanted to try last summer and never had a chance to.  I’ll see if Michael can pick up tomatoes from the farmer’s market for this one and then make it with low-fat mayo.

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