Sunday, January 31, 2010

Make Ahead Beef Macaroni Soup

This is a quick, easy, and delicious version of a vegetable beef soup. It's also a really flexible dish because you can use whatever vegetables you have at the time, fresh or frozen.

The Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups fresh or frozen vegetables (I used celery, carrots, fresh green beans, peas and corn.)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans beef broth
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni or shells

At Ten O'Clock

In a large saucepan, cook the beef until it starts to brown. Add onion and continue to brown the beef. Drain off excess fat. (You really need to make sure you drain your beef, otherwise your soup with be greasy.) Stir in mixed vegetables, tomatoes, broth and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the macaroni and vegetables are tender.

Refrigerate until ready to reheat for dinner.

Before Serving

Reheat and serve :)

Family Approval
This isn't quite as good as the cheesy potato soup, but it's a fantastic dish because it's full of veggies, quick and easy to make, and very tasty. All of my kids really liked it.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Make Ahead Kodiak Casserole

When I came across this recipe, I was intrigued.  The ingredient list is full of things I always have on hand, but have never used together.  This make ahead meal is a great way to rotate some of your pantry staples. 

The Ingredients
2 lbs ground beef
4 cups onion, diced
3 green bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 18 oz bottle barbeque sauce
1 jar (5-3/4 oz) stuffed green olives, undrained
1 can (4 oz) mushrooms, undrained
1 can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 jar (8 oz) picante sauce
12 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 package egg noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

At Ten O'Clock
In large frying pan (I used two frying pans), brown the meat with the onions, peppers and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drain.  Stir in the remaining ingredients except the cheese.  Divided between two 9x13 pans.  Refrigerate until ready to bake.

Berfore Serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake, covered for 1 hour.  Sprinkle with cheese while still hot. 

Family Approval
This was tasty!  My husband and brother-in-law thought it tasted like a really good sloppy joe.  Both of my kids gobbled it up and even ate seconds.  Even though I'm not usually a huge ground beef fan, I loved this.  We all love green olives, but I was a little skeptical about using them in this recipe.  I'm so glad I left them in, because they were delicious.  The give the dish a little heat and are surprisingly good cooked.  This make ahead meal gets two thumbs up from our whole family.  Note:  I froze my second casserole.  I'll let you know how it works frozen, once we cook it in a couple weeks.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Make Ahead Chicken and Leek Pie

I normally don't do multiple pictures, but I just couldn't resist; this make ahead meal was just so pretty.  I've always wanted to use leeks instead of onions, but I just hadn't gotten around to it.  Then I spotted one lonely bunch of leeks at the grocery store this week.  They looked so pretty, I just had to buy them.  The leeks look like large green onions, and once you cut into them, you can see they have many thin layers.  Even raw, they have a mild, appealing aroma and once they are cooked, they retain a beautiful, spring-green hue. They were perfect for this chicken pie. 

The Ingredients
The Filling:
1/4 cup butter, divided
2 leeks, white and light green parts, halved, rinsed and sliced
1 cup carrots, cut thinly
1/3 cup flour
1/4 white wine
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups flour

The Topping:
4 tsp baking powder
1/4/ tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper

At Ten O'Clock
In large pan, melt 1/4 cup butter (4 Tbsp)over medium heat.  Add the leeks and carrot.  Saute until veggetables are soft.  Sprinkle with the 1/3 cup flour.  Mix well and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the wine and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, and reduce heat.  Simmer for ten minutes.  Add the chicken and peas.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put in 2 quart baking dish.  Refrigerate until ready to bake.

In small bowl, mix the 2 cups flour, baking soda and salt.  Cover and set aside until ready to bake.

Before Serving
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Make the topping.  Cut the 1/2 cup butter into small cubes.  Add to the flour mixutre and cut with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Add the milk and stir until just combined.  Cover the filling with large heaping spoonfuls of the topping.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.  (I had to cook mine for about 35-40 minutes.  If the topping is browning too quickly, cover it with tin foil.)

Family Approval
 Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm!  This was delicious.  Everything about it was perfect.  The biscuit topping turned out wonderful, and the sauce was divine.  This is definately my favorite meal I've made so far this year.  The filling would be perfect in a traditional pot pie with a crust on top, and the topping would make moist, flakey biscuits on it's own.  That said, the filling and the topping are just right together.  The biscuit topping was easier to make than pie crust..  I think the filling was as good, if not better, than any pot pie I've ever had anywhere.  Leeks may be my new favorite ingredient.  


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Make Ahead Creamy Broccoli Soup

I love broccoli soup.  It is my wonderful Grandma's favorite soup and I remember eating a lot of it at her house over the years.  Broccoli is so good for you, and it has such a yummy taste.  This soup is nice, because the Broccoli is definitely the star. 

The Ingredients
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 cup celery, finely sliced
4 cups chicken broth
8 cups broccoli florets
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper
garnish with cheese and bacon

At Ten O'Clock
Melt the butter in a large pan.  Saute the onion and celery in the butter until soft and translucent.  Meanwhile, put the broccoli florets and the broth in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and let simmer until broccoli is cooked, about 15-20 minutes.  Do not drain. 

Once the broccoli is cooked, coarsely mash with a potato masher.  Add the celery and onions to the broccoli.

Meanwhile, heat the milk and whipping cream in a saucepan until steaming.  Do not boil.  While milk is heating, melt the butter in another pan.  Once melted, add the flour, stirring constantly.  Once the roux is made, add the steaming milk and cream.  Stir constantly until thickened. 

Add the while sauce to the broccoli mixture.  Stir well and season with salt and pepper. 

Before Serving
Reheat, if necesary.  Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheese and crumpled bacon.

Family Approval
This was a yummy comforting soup.  Perfect for a rainy day.  Although my three year old wanted nothing to do with this soup, my husband, one year old and I loved it.  I actually doubled it, since I had a big bag of broccoli from Costco that I needed to use.  I'm really glad that I did, because after I shared the soup with my mom and grandma, it went fast. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Make Ahead Baked Ravioli

I really love tomatoes, and any dish that has tomatoes or a tomato sauce in it. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't usually love red sauces. I have to be really careful because sometimes cooked tomatoes don't always sit well with him. Well, since he was out of town on business, I figured this was a good time to try this make ahead baked ravioli. The tomatoes make it super fresh, and it was a snap to put together.

The Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
coarse salt
ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3 cans stewed tomatoes
about 20 oz of store bought ravioli
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

At Ten O'Clock

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add Italian seasoning and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, breaking up tomatoes with spoon. Simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes until sauce is thickened.

Meanwhile, cook ravioli according to directions on package. Drain pasta and return to pot.

Toss sauce with pasta. Pour pasta into a large gratin dish or a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Before Serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake, uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until top is golden. Cool slightly before serving.

Family Approval
I was a little worried that my kids wouldn't like this. (They're a little like their dad, and don't always love red sauces.) However, it was actually a big hit. My seven-year-old had 3 big helpings, and even my son who eats his pizza with no sauce loved it.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Make Ahead Cheesy Potato Soup

We have been having so much rain, I was really in the mood for a warm, creamy, comforting soup. This make ahead cheesy potato soup is perfect for a dreary rainy day. To be honest, I didn't make this soup earlier in the day, and it was a huge mistake. I didn't have time in the morning, and then I just didn't get home until close to dinnertime. Needless to say, my kids didn't get their homework done, and I didn't have time to do the dishes and clean my kitchen that night. I woke up to a messy kitchen, and we had to scramble to get our homework finished before school. Of course, since it was so crazy, I ended up yelling at my kids. It was not a good day, and I vowed to never again cook dinner at dinnertime. It really reminded me of why I do this blog. When I cook dinner earlier in the day, my family runs so much smoother and I'm a better mom.

The Ingredients

6-8 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
8 chicken bouillon cubes

White Roux Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 canned milk
8 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

At Ten O'Clock

Saute onion and celery in butter over medium heat with salt and pepper until onions are soft (8-10 minutes) in a large pot. Add potatoes, bouillons and just enough water to barely cover. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, turn down heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes while preparing roux.

To prepare roux:
In a medium or large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium to low heat. Slowly add flour and whisk until well blended. Add milk a little at a time, whisking constantly to ensure your roux stays smooth, not lumpy. (I have found that if I use really warm milk, then it stays smooth. If I use cold, or even room temperature milk, I always get lumps. So, I heated my milk in the microwave before I added it to the roux.) Add cheese and stir until completely melted. Add this to the pot with the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Before Serving

Re-heat soup and serve!

Family Approval
Initially, I wasn't going to post this soup because I didn't make it ahead of time. However, my family was insistent that I put it on Ten O'Clock Chef because "it is the best soup they've ever eaten." This recipe came from my good friend, Kayleen. She said her mom wanted a really good potato soup recipe so she made this one up. I have to say, it is definitely the best potato soup I've ever eaten. I highly recommend it!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Make Ahead Turkey and Cheese Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a yummy, comforting meal that everyone in my family loves to eat.  The only problem is that, up until recently, I just couldn't bring myself to make it.  I mean, who wants to grapple around in a bowl of raw meat?  Not me.  Then, a couple months ago, I realized that I could probably accomplish the mixing of the raw ingredients if I wore big Ziploc bags on my hands.  Yes, I realize that this is a little weird and maybe even TMI, but it works like a charm!  I get a well mixed meatloaf without getting any meat under my nails.  Now my family gets to enjoy meatloaf as often as we like. 

This Turkey Meatloaf is extra delicious because there are small cubes of cheese running throughout.  We like our meatloaf on the spicy side, but feel free to cut down or even omit the red pepper flakes.

The Ingredients
2 lbs of ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup milk
2 eggs
3/4 lb monterey jack cheese, cut into small cubes (about 1/2 inch square)
1/4 diced, dried onion
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup barbeque sauce
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp green pepper Tabasco sauce (optional)

At Ten O'Clock

In large bowl, mix together by hand all ingredients until well blended.  Put in a loaf pan.  Cover and refrigerate.

Before Serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  If desire, cover top of loaf with more barbeque sauce.  Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Let cool for ten minutes before serving.

* Next time, I will just shape into a loaf and bake in a 9x13 pan.  Or use either a larger pan, or two smaller ones and adjust baking time. 

Family Approval
Oh yeah!  This is good.  All of us loved the flavor, and I really preferred the texture of the ground turkey.  I did encounter a slight problem with this recipe:  My pan was too full when it went into the oven, and the cheese overflowed, landed on the bottom of my oven and smoked up my house.  Literally.  There was so much smoke that I had to open every door, (even the garage door) and vacate the house.  Needless to say my three year old wasn't pleased to be ushered outside when he was half naked (I did grab a warm blanket for him).  Seriously, there was so much smoke that I thought that there was a fire.  Next time I make this recipe (because I will make it again - we all enjoyed that much), I will not overfill the pan.  When you make it, take care not to do the same! 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Make Ahead Sausage Bow Tie Pasta

My sister-in-law made this dish for us when we were visiting them about a year ago. It immediately became one of our favorites. The great thing about this make ahead pasta dish is that you can make the sauce the night before, and just add the pasta when you're ready to serve it. Also, my sister-in-law freezes half the sauce to use for a later meal. My family, on the other hand, pretty much eats all of it, and there's just enough for my husband to take for lunch the next day.

The Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, (casing removed) crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 cup diced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped (I use 2 cans diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings, and I like to add a little more Italian seasoning, but it's not necessary.)
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz bow tie pasta
3 Tablespoons parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese

At Ten O'Clock

Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and pepper flakes. Cook until sausage is no longer pink, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender and sausage is light brown, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, cream, and salt. Simmer until mixture thickens slightly. At this point, you could freeze half for a later meal, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Before Serving

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Re-heat sauce. Add pasta and mix together. Top with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Family Approval
I served this tonight at my dad's birthday party. It was a perfect dish for a large group of people, and so delicious!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Make Ahead Cauliflower Salad

Sometimes you just need a side dish that doesn't need to be cooked before it's served.  This yummy vegetable salad is perfect for those days.  And the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it becomes.  Plus, I loved it because it brought a little bit of summer into my cold, January evening.  I kept thinking how perfect it would be at a barbeque. 

The Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
4 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

At Ten O'Clock

Combine cauliflower, tomatoes, bacon and cheese in a bowl.  Set aside.  In a food processor, mix together the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and lemon juice.  Pour over vegetables.  Chill for at least four hours.

Before Serving

Stir and serve.

Family Approval
I loved this salad.  I thought the dressing was so yummy.  My husband liked it and once we got our three year old to try it, he liked it too.   I really enjoyed it as as a light lunch the next day.  Next time I make, I'm going to up the bacon.  'Cause you can never really have too much bacon, right? 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Make Ahead Pot Roast and Gravy

Ok, so I know the picture looks a little like dog food, but it I guarantee this make ahead pot roast and gravy certainly doesn't taste like it. We went up to Brianhead to play in the snow with the some friends and I put this in the crock pot in the morning so we wouldn't have to worry about dinner. This is quick and easy and the results are fabulous! It was a perfect meal after a long day in the snow.

The Ingredients

1 beef rump roast
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can beef broth
1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 packet onion soup mix

At Ten O'Clock

Whisk together cream of mushroom, broth and worcestershire sauce in crock pot. Place roast in crock pot and sprinkle everything with onion soup mix. Cook on high.

Before Serving

I like my gravy to be a little bit thicker, so I remove roast and thicken the gravy with some cornstarch. (Remove about half a cup of gravy, add several teaspoons of cornstarch, and whisk until smooth. Add to gravy, whisk, and boil until it thickens.) I slice my roast, put it back in the crock pot, and pour the thickened gravy over it.

Family Approval
Seriously, this is my favorite way to cook a beef roast. The meat is tender and juicy and the gravy is full of flavor. Everyone loves it! Sometimes I think a beef roast dries out as soon as you take it out of the crock pot to serve it, but the gravy helps this roast stay juicy the whole time. It's perfect with mashed potatoes and, of course, I add corn: my man's favorite meal :)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Make Ahead Stuffed French Toast Strata

Who doesn't love breakfast foods for dinner?  Pancakes, waffles and french toast are just so delicious.  When I was out running errands today, I found day-old white bread from Great Harvest that was 50% off.  I'm usually a whole wheat kind of girl, but I love to snag the day old white bread, beacause it's perfect for french toast and stratas.  This make ahead breakfast stata is a tad on the decadent side, but it is oh so yummy.  Serve it with fresh berries and some orange juice for a satisfying breakfast-for-dinner. 

The Ingredients

1 lb good quality white bread or french bread, cubed
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups apple, diced (Next time, I would slice them really, really, thin)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp sugar (optional)
8 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving

At 10 O'Clock

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Layer half of the bread cubes at the bottom.  Evenly place the cream cheese cubes over the bread.  Layer the apple peices on top.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Cover with the remaining bread cubes. 

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, melted butter and maple syrup.  Pour over the bread mixture.  Cover with tin foil and press down on the top to make sure that all of the bread cubes are submerged in the egg mixture.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Before Serving
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes.  Check to see if it is set in the middle and the edges are golden.  If not, cook longer.  Let set for a few minutes before serving.  Serve with maple syrup. 

Family Approval
Delicious!  My one-year-old growled, "Mmmmmm," after he took a bite.  The whole family loved it.  I especially like the apples in it.  Note:  I had to cook it for a little over an hour.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Make Ahead Cheesy Beef Enchiladas

Beef enchiladas are one of my husband's favorite dishes, but my kids always find the canned enchilada sauce too spicy. These are made ahead with a homemade enchilada sauce that's much milder than canned sauce, but still full of flavor.

The Ingredients

2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of black pepper

1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup onion, diced
1 cup cheese plus additional cheese for topping
6 flour tortillas

At Ten O'Clock

In a medium saucepan, add thyme, garlic powder and onion powder to chicken broth. Heat to boiling.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in hot chicken broth, whisking as you slowly pour it into flour mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Set aside.

Brown ground beef with onions. Drain excess fat. Add 1 cup cheese and 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce. Spoon ground beef mixture into tortillas and place side by side in a slightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and additional shredded cheese and green onions, if desired.

Cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Before Serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until heated through.

Family Approval
My children loved this dish, especially my 10-year-old who is very sensitive to spicy foods. My husband and I also thought it was yummy, but I did think it was a little salty. When I make it again, I would leave out the salt, and maybe half the garlic and onion powder.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Make Ahead Mexican Pork Soup

Usually, I'm not sure what to do with left over, cooked meat.  But, boy, did I know what I wanted to do with my leftover Tuscan Style Pork Roast.  Earlier this week I found a William Sonoma recipe for a Mexican Pork and Rice Soup that used lime juice and cilantro.  I used it as a jumping off point for this yummy soup.

The Ingredients
2 lbs cooked pork, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic (or equivalent garlic powder)
2 serrano chiles, seeded and diced
1 cup long grain rice
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
10 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
tortilla chips (optional)

At Ten O'Clock

In a large pan on medium heat, saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, chiles and rice.  Watch the raw rice carefully, or it will burn.  Add the broth.  If not using a slow cooker, bring mixture to a boil, and then cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for twenty minutes.

Add pork, beans, and half of cilantro.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

If using a slow cooker, there is no need to simmer on the stove top.  Combine the cooked veggies with the rest of the ingredients in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 6-8 hours. 

Before Serving
Stir in the remaining cilantro and the lime juice.  Top with tortilla chips, if desired

Family Approval
Mmmm.  Tasted like a fresh mex burrito in soup form.  The lime and cilantro mix is delicious.  My boys LOVED the pork.  They both inhaled all of the pieces of pork out of their bowls.  Ironically, my husband and I thought that there was almost too much meat in it.  But overall, this was a nice way to use leftover pork roast. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Make Ahead Tuscan Style Pork Roast

I love everything about Costco.  Their food, their books, their shopping carts that fit two children;  It's all good.  I especially love it when they have coupons for things I want to buy anyway.  Like pork roast.  I had been wanting to try this recipe, and when I went grocery shopping this week, their pork roasts were on sale.  Quite serendipitous. 

This roast is so easy to make.  The prep only takes a few minutes, and it can marinate overnight.  It's a great meal to make the night before a crazy day.  Plus, it looks beautiful and tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. 

The Ingredients
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp Herbes De Provence
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 boneless pork loin roast, 4-6 lbs

At Ten O'Clock
In a small bowl, mix together the herbs and olive to form a thick paste.  Score the roast in a couple places.  Rub the herb paste all over the roast.  Place in a roasting pan and cover.  Refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight. 

Before Serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook meat, uncovered for 45 minutes, or longer if needed.  Roast is done when internal temperature reads 150 degrees, or when the meat is just slightly pink in the center.  Let sit, covered with tin foil,  for ten minutes before slicing. 

Family Approval
So yummy!  This was a great marinade.  The herbs flavored the whole roast, not just the top.  Even the top with all the herbs on it was delicious.  I will definitely cook this again. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Make Ahead Creamy Corn Casserole

My family loves to eat tri-tip for dinner. My 9-year-old is sitting right next to me and just said "it tastes so good." I buy it at Costco, and really, we eat it several times a month. Everybody loves it. Since we eat it so often, I'm always looking for different sides that I can make to help it seem like we're not eating the same meal so much. Like I said several posts ago, my husband loves anything with meat and corn together, so I was excited when I saw this recipe for a corn casserole. The tri-tip can be popped in the oven or grilled right out of the package (it comes marinated) and this make ahead corn casserole was quick and easy to prepare earlier in the day and then baked at the same time as the meat. It would also go well with chicken and pork.

The Ingredients

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can cream-style corn
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter melted
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 4-oz can diced green chile peppers, drained
1 8.5-oz package corn muffin mix
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping

At Ten O'Clock

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish or any 2-quart casserole dish; set aside. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cream-style corn, sour cream and melted butter. Stir in whole kernel corn, cheese, onion, and chile peppers. Add muffin mix, stirring until just moistened. Transfer mixture to the prepared casserole dish.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Before Serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 1 1/4 hours or until top is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If desired, top with additional cheddar cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Family Approval
Like I said, my husband loves corn, so naturally this dish was a big hit. For some reason I thought the consistency would be a little more like cornbread, but it is very creamy. It was an excellent side for our tri-tip and I would definitely make it again. Unfortunately, my picture doesn't look anywhere as yummy as it actually tastes. You'll just have to take my word for it. :)


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Make Ahead Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I didn't actually make this recipe, but I did eat it for dinner at a friend's house, and she did make it ahead in her crock pot just for me so I could post it on Ten O'Clock Chef. This is a great dish because it can be made either the night before or in the morning. The pork is super tender and very tasty with minimal ingredients and preparation. You can't beat it!

The Ingredients

1 pork roast
1 can chicken broth
1 onion, cut into chunky pieces

At Ten O'Clock

Place roast, onions, and chicken broth in crock pot. Cover completely with coke. If making the night before, cook on low. If making in the morning, cook on high.

Before Serving

Remove roast from crock pot. Shred into large pieces. Allow guests to make their own sandwiches and top with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Family Approval
Yummy, yummy, good! Everyone loved this meal. My friend put it in the crock pot in the morning, but she did say she prefers making it the night before and cooking it on low because the pork is even more juicy and tender. I loved it the way it was, so I don't think you can go wrong whenever you decide to cook it. Thanks Kaylene!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Make Ahead Turkey Chili

Chili is such a fantastic make-ahead meal. I made this at lunch time and then put it in the crockpot until dinner time. There are so many variations on chili, and I love them all.

This was my first experience cooking ground turkey. I found that it wasn't nearly as gross looking as raw ground beef (I know, I have issues. The aversion to ground beef must be genetic). The only problem is that I bought it at Costco; so know I have a bazillion pounds of ground turkey, and only two recipes that call for ground turkey. If anyone has a great recipe that calls for ground turkey (or one that they've been wanting to try, but haven't), send it my way. Please.

The Ingredients

2 lbs ground turkey
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup diced bell peppers
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
3 cups chicken broth
4 tbsp chili powder
3/4 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic
cheese, shredded (optional)
sour cream (optional)
tortilla chips (optional)

At Ten O'Clock

In large pan, brown turkey with onions and peppers. Cook until meat is browned and the onions and peppers are soft. Drain.

Place turkey mixture in large pot. Add beans, tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, cumin and broth. Stir until combined.

Since this is being made ahead, there is no need to simmer or heat through. Either refridgerate until needed, or put in crockpot on high for up to four hours, or on low for up to ten hours.

Before Serving

Top with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips, if desired.

Family Approval

This was good. Everyone ate a big bowl of it. My husband commented, "This is fantastic. The only thing that would make it better is if the ground turkey were ground beef." I disagreed with him. I really liked the ground turkey. But, I'm not sure you'll ever find a man who is going to like ground turkey better than ground beef. I think men are hardwired to crave red meat. But this was definately a successs. Plus, ground turkey is a healthy, low fat protein option. I think I'm going to start cooking with it more often. What do you think about ground turkey?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Make Ahead Italian Delight

I'm not sure where I got this recipe. I just had it in a stack of recipes that I wanted to try. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to make it. I'm not a lover of hamburger helper type of stuff. My husband, on the other hand, goes crazy over anything with meat and corn it it, so I decided to try it. It's super easy and quick to make, and the ingredients are usually things you have on hand. (We bought a cow this last year with some friends, so I always have ground beef on hand. Not only is it convenient, but the meat is so much better too!) Anyway, it's a wonderful make ahead meal because it goes together fast, and it can stand on it's own as a your entire dinner.

The Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can corn, drained
8 oz macaroni noodles
1 can tomato soup
1 1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar or a blend)
1/3 cup onion
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chile powder

At Ten O'Clock

Cook noodles according to package directions. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef for several minutes before adding onion. When the beef is cooked and onion is tender, add cream of mushroom soup, corn, tomato soup, 1 cup cheese, paprika, and chile powder. Blend together and add macaroni noodles.

Place in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Before Serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, for one hour.

Family Approval
I cannot even describe how much my family loves this dish! Maybe it's a "man" thing. Just kidding, I think it's delicious too. However, when I put all the ingredients together before I baked it, I really didn't think it would be very good. (My husband thought it looked good from the minute I started making it, so I think it might just be my own issue. I did say I don't like hamburger helper.) The magic must come when you bake it and all the flavors blend together. It really is yummy!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Make Ahead Texas Chicken Casserole

When I first looked at this recipe I knew there was no way I would be able to make it close to dinner time. There are lots of ingredients and too many steps. However, this is a perfect make-ahead dish. I REALLY LOVE enchilada sauce and I was excited to try this homemade sauce. It's definitely not a quick meal, but it's worth the time it takes to prepare it.

The Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (this is about 3)
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
dash ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup) optional
1 clove garlic, minced
2 4-ounce jars diced pimiento, drained
2 4-ounce cans diced green chile peppers, undrained
2 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons chile powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
12 6-inch tostada shells
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

At Ten O'Clock

In a large saucepan, combine chicken, the water, bay leaf, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, one clove garlic, and dash black pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Drain, reserving 2 cups broth. Chop chicken. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add onion, tomatillos (if desired), and one clove garlic; cook until onion is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in pimiento, green chile peppers, and jalapeno chile peppers. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and dash black pepper. You will need to stir this as you add all the ingredients so you don't get any lumps. Gradually stir in reserved 2 cups of broth. (Your broth should be hot when you stir it into the butter/flour mixture. You may need to heat it again before adding it otherwise your sauce will be clumpy.) Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream.

In an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish, arrange six of the tostada shells, overlapping slightly. Top with half of the chicken, half of the onion mixture, half of the sour cream mixture, and half of the cheese. Top with the remaining tostada shells, chicken, onion mixture, sour cream mixture, and cheese.

Cover casserole loosely with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Before Serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, for about 45 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with pico de gallo or salsa, if desired.

Family Approval
When I was making this, I thought it might be too spicy for my kids. They're pretty picky eaters, and I was worried it might be too strong for them to eat. Boy, was I wrong! My 7-year-old, quickly cleaned his plate and told me this was his second favorite thing I've made (he loves the chicken salad). This dish could easily become a family favorite. When I make it again, I won't overlap my tostada shells so much. I would probably break them apart so they barely overlap. I liked it better when there was only one layer of tostada on the bottom instead of two. I would highly recommend this dish!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Make Ahead Quinoa Salad

This was actually last night's first main dish.  The one I wasn't sure was all that good and then my husband came home and saved the day by adding salt.  Once the salt was added, I loved it.  I always want to make grain salads, but they seem to require so many fresh herbs.  I did have fresh sage in the fridge, but I think it would have worked just fine with a little bit of dried.  If you have fresh herbs, definately throw them in. 

The Ingredients
4 cups cooked quinoa
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1/3 cup diced kalamata olives
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
2-3 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1/2tsp -3/4 tsp salt

At Ten O'Clock
1.  In food processor, blend together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and dried herbs. Set aside
2.  In large bowl, stir together quinoa, beans, bell pepper and olives.
3.  Pour dressing over salad.  Add fresh sage and salt to taste.  Mix well.
4.  Chill until ready to eat.

Before Serving
Pull it out of the fridge and give it a good stir. 

Family Approval
Jesse and I liked it.  It was yummy and kind of refreshing.  If I'm being totally honest, we ate a ton of it.  It was good as a small side with dinner and excellent as the main course for lunch.   The more time it had to marinate, the better it got. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Make Ahead Spaghetti bake

So, long story short, I made two different main dishes today.  It really was an accident.  After making the first, I didn't think it was quite good enough.  So I made a second.  Then my husband came home and, after tasting the first (which was meatless), figured out what was missing from it:  salt.  It's amazing what a little salt can do.   So, we ate the first as a side tonight, and will eat it for lunch tomorrow.  Not too shabby. 

Anyways, this make ahead spaghetti bake was the second dish I made.  It was perfect since I was already cooked-out at two in the afternoon.  By the time five rolled around, I just popped it in the oven and we had an excellent dinner without any last minute cooking. 

The Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 tsp itallian seasoning, divided
2lb 14 oz bottled spaghetti sauce (feel free to make your own) 
1 package spaghetti noodles (I used whole wheat)
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated and divided

At Ten O'Clock

1.  Make the ground beef mixture:  Bround meat with onion, pepper, and 1 tsp italian seasoning.  Drain.  Return to pan.

2.  Add spaghetti sauce to ground beef mixutre.

3.  Meanwhile, cook spaghetti noodles a little bit shy of al dente, or about 2 minutes less than the directions indicate. 

4.  Mix together the ricotta, eggs and 2 tsp italian seasoning. 

5.  Assemble:  Spread 1/3 of sauce in a 9x13 pan.  Put 1/2 of noodles on top.  Spread ricotta mixture on noodles.  Cover with 1 1/2 cup of cheese.  Then layer 1/3 of sauce.  Then put the rest of the noodles on top, and then cover with remaing sauce.  Set aside 11/2 cup of cheese for later use.  Cover and refridgerate.

Before Serving
1.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. 

2.  Cover with the reserved cheese and bake for 10 more minutes.

Family Approval
Boy, was this a hit.  My husband said it was "almost as good as lasagna," and both of the kiddos inhaled it.  My wonderful parents stopped by right as I was taking the dish right out of the oven, so I naturally sent some home with them.  My dad called me to tell me it was "fabulous" and "looked fantastic and tasted as good as it looked."  I would definately say it was a success.

Note:  I used two pie plates instead of the 9x13.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Make Ahead Potato Bacon Brie

We had some friends over for dinner tonight and I made this delicious make ahead potato side earlier in the day, so all I had to do was put this and our pre-marinated tri-tip in the oven and dinner was done. My husband was a little worried about the Brie cheese on the top so I made half with Brie and covered the other half with Cheddar. The original recipe called for leaving the rind on the cheese and leaving that side up when baking it. I love Brie, (actually I just love cheese in general) but I don't like the rind, so I cut that off before topping the casserole.

The Ingredients

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (usually about 6 potatoes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
2- 8oz rounds Brie cheese

At Ten O'Clock

Boil peeled potatoes for about 30 minutes; drain. Rinse with cold water. While potatoes boil, in a large skillet, cook chopped bacon over medium heat for 1 minute. Add onion and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Add wine to bacon mixture and simmer, uncovered, until wine is nearly evaporated. Stir in thyme.

Slice potatoes. Rinse again with cold water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place half of the sliced potatoes in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Cover with the bacon mixture. Top with the remaining potatoes. Pour cream and broth over potato mixture.

Slice the Brie and arrange cheese slices over the potatoes. It doesn't look very pretty right now, but when you bake it and the cheese is lightly browned it looks beautiful and delicious.

Before Serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. The cheese needs to be lightly browned and insert a knife to make sure the potatoes are soft.

Family Approval
Definitely delicious! Everyone agreed that the side with Brie was much tastier than the side topped with cheddar. This is a perfect make ahead side for any kind of meat, and was especially tasty with our tri-tip.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Make Ahead Mushroom Tart

So, I realized that I had an entire supersized package of baby bella mushrooms that I needed to use post haste.  Hence, I made this tart.  Except I didn't have a tart pan.  So I used a pie plate.  Not really the same thing, but it did the job.  I had never made tart dough before, and was surprised at how easy it was to make.   Although, be warned:  this recipe did not take a lot of active time in the kitchen, but the tart dough needed to be chilled in the fridge, and then in the freezer, and then partially baked.  This is a good recipe for those days you are home for a few hours straight, or when you have a few short chunks of time spread throughout the day. 

We ate this as a meatless main course, but it would be excellent as a make ahead side and served with a grilled steak.  It reminded me of the mushrooms that you can buy at steakhouses. 

The Ingredients

Cream Cheese Tart Dough:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (if using salted, cut down on the table salt)
4 oz cream cheese

Mushroom Filling:
2 tablespoons oil or butter
1 1/2 lb mushrooms, halved or quartered
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup red cooking wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

At Ten O'Clock
1.  Make the tart dough:  Blend the flour, salt, butter and cream cheese in your food processor just until crumbly (don't over blend).  Dump out and form into a solid, flatish disk.  Dough will be super crumbly at first, but once you touch it, it will start to come together quickly.  Wrap in saran wrap and refridgerate for 30 minutes or up to three days.

2.  After dough has been chilled, roll out into a 12 inch round.  As you can see, I didn't quite make the whole 12 inches.  Place in tart pan and fold overhang onto itself.  Pinch to create a sturdy edge.  Prick the dough all over with a fork, and place in freezer for fifteen minutes.

3.  Blind bake the tart shell:  Cover the tart with tin foil.  Actually press the tin foil down into the pan (on top of the dough) and into the sides.  On top of the tin foil place pie wieghts or dried beans (a large handful will do).  Bake at 400 degrees for fifteen minutes.  Let cool. 

4.  While tart shell is baking (or freezing), start the filling.  Heat the oil or butter in a large saute pan on medium high.  Saute onions until translucent.  Add all of the mushrooms.  Saute about six or seven minutes. 

5.  Add the red wine.  Keep the heat on medium high and cook until the wine is reduced by about 50% and the mushrooms are cooked through - about three to four minutes.  Remove from heat. 

6.  While stirring constantly, add the cream.  Stir in the oregano.  Pour into partially baked tart shell.  Cover and refridgerate until ready to bake.

Berfore Serving
1.  Bake uncovered tart at 400 degrees for twenty minutes, or until heated through and crust is golden brown.  Enjoy. 

Family Approval
I'd say this was an unexpected winner.  I love mushrooms, so I loved this tart.  My husband said it was "delicious" and my in-laws said they really liked it.  We've been playing the new Mario game on the Wii, so my three year old thought it was awesome that we were eating mushrooms (for those who've never played Mario, there are a ton of mushrooms on the game).  He actually ate two large helpings.  Not bad for a boy who has recently decided he doesn't really like to eat vegetables.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Make Ahead Bacon, Egg and Cheese Casserole

So, I have the most wonderful mother in law. Seriously. She is fantastic. It might sound like bragging, but she really is. She is also a rock star in the kitchen. As in everything she cooks is yummy, made at lightening fast speed and each side/entree is finished at exactly the same time. And when I say my husband's family likes food, I mean they really really like food. And they all have incredible metabolisms. Some things in life aren't fair. But I digress. Anyways, when my mother and father in law stayed the night with us, I naturally wanted to have a good breakfast for them. And I wanted to make it before they arrived. And I wanted my kitchen cleaned before they arrived. Both of those wishes came true. It was a good night followed by an easy morning. Oh, the power of make ahead meals :)

The Ingredients

4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups shredded, mexican blend cheese
1 lb bacon
1/2 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pepper to taste

At Ten O'Clock

1. Cook the bacon until crisp. Cool and crumble. Reserve a tablespoon bacon grease. Saute the onions and green peppers in the bacon grease. Set aside

2. Put the cheddar cheese in a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with the flour. Use your hands to mix well - until the cheese is coated.

3. Spread the mexican blend cheese over the cheddar cheese.

4. Put the crumbled bacon on the cheeses.

5. Next, put the onions and green peppers on top.

6. Blend the eggs, milk, garlic powder and salt and pepper together. Pour over cheese and bacon mixture.

7. Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours (or overnight)

Before Serving

Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. (Halfway through, I upped the temp to 350 and I baked it for about 50 minutes.)

Family Approval

This was a winner! Everyone loved it. The hubs and the kids scarfed it down, and my wonderful father in law commented a few times on how good it was. But, really, what is there not to like about large quantities of cheese and bacon?

I think this would be an excellent dinner. Just make it at breakfast and bake it at dinnertime.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Make Ahead Macaroni and Cheese

Really, there's not much better than homemade macaroni and cheese, unless it's make ahead macaroni and cheese. It's definitely a feel good food. My mom made this a little while ago for a big family dinner. She had seen it on a food network show called Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. When I made this tonight, the boys wanted to know if it was Nana's macaroni and cheese because "Nana's macaroni and cheese is so good."

The Ingredients

3 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
2 1/2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
1 cup cottage cheese

For the topping:
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

At Ten O'Clock

Cook macaroni, drain but do not rinse.

Mix the two cheeses together in a large bowl and measure out the cottage cheese. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing well as you go. Cook and stir for about 1 minute. Add the warm milk, bay leaves, paprika, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Add 3 cups of cheese and all of the cottage cheese. Stir well. Remove from heat and remove bay leaves. Add macaroni noodles and mix well.

Pour 1/2 of macaroni mixture into a 9 x 13 or 2 qt baking dish. Cover with 1/2 of the remaining grated cheese. Add remaining macaroni mixture and cover with the remaining grated cheese.

In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of the macaroni. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Before Serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes.

Family Approval
Yummy! This recipe is delicious, and surprisingly didn't take that long to prepare. I thought the paprika and cottage cheese were really unique to mac and cheese and added a lot to the overall flavor. I love the crunchy topping and would probably double that next time I make it.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Make Ahead Mexican Cornbread Casserole

I think one dish meals are awesome; There are less cooking pans, less serving plates and, ultimately, less dirty dishes. You just can't beat that. This hearty casserole is a little spicy, so if you like your food mild, feel free to leave out the serrano and use a little less chili pepper.

The Ingredients

1 lb of ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 serrano pepper, finely diced (optional)
1 can corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 boxes cornbread mix
milk and eggs to go with bread mix

At Ten O'Clock

1. Brown meat, salt and pepper to taste. Add onion and peppers and saute until meat is cooked and vegetables are soft.

2. Add corn, tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano and garlic powder. Stir until combined and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Pour mixture into 9x13 pan, (or one pie plate and one 7x11 because you left all of your 9x13 pans at various family members' houses during the holidays and have yet to get them back because you only think of them right when you need them). Cover and put in the fridge until ready to cook.
4. Get the cornbread topping ready to go: blend eggs and milk; cover and put in fridge. Dump cornbread mix into mixing bowl. Set aside in a safe, inconspicuous place until needed.

Before Serving

1. Dump wet cornbread ingredients into dry cornbread ingredients. Mix. Spread on top of meat mixture.

2. Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until cornbread is completely cooked.

3. Garnish each serving with cilantro.

Family Approval

We all liked this one. At first, my older boy was a little freaked out that there was stuff on his cornbread. He quickly got over it and ate a good size helping. Initially, the Hubs said it was great. And then he said it really needed cilantro. Doh! I forgot the cilantro. We added it to what little we had left on our plates and it really made the dish go from good to great.
~ Cami

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Make Ahead Creamy Chicken Salad

One of my family's favorite meals is chicken salad. In fact, I can open up a can of chicken and add a little mayo and they're happy. This recipe is not quite as simple as that, but it's much more tasty. I originally had this chicken salad at my second son's baby shower almost 8 years ago. My friend Britney made it and served it in croissants. It was a huge hit! I've modified it slightly (her original recipe called for miracle whip) and served it with homemade wheat bread that I made this morning. If you're counting carbs, this would also be great served over a bed of lettuce.

The Ingredients

3 cups diced chicken (I bought a rotisserie chicken and cut it up)
1 1/2 cups celery
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes (double this amount if using fresh parsley)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream (whipped)
1/4 cup green onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped almonds
grapes cut in half or quartered (optional)

I chopped everything into small pieces because I knew this was going into sandwiches and I don't like big chunks in my sandwiches.

At Ten O'Clock

Chop all ingredients and mix together. Whip the whipping cream. The recipe says to fold in whipping cream just before serving, but I added it with everything else so I wouldn't have to worry about it later and it was just fine.

Before Serving

Make sandwiches and enjoy! If you were using croissants, you could easily make the whole sandwich earlier in the day and just pull out of the fridge to serve at dinner time.

Family Approval
When my husband took his first bite, he said, "um... yeah". Lots of nights we are super busy during dinner time with sports practices or music lessons. This is a great meal-on-the-go and it's perfect as a leftover for lunch the next day.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Make Ahead Asian Chicken Salad

Monday is my errand day, and by the time I'm done with all my running around, shopping, and putting away, the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This meal was easy, quick and healthy. Plus, I was able to throw it together while my baby napped and my three-year-old played. If only I would have thought ahead to the rice - we ended up with couscous because it only took five minutes instead of thirty right at dinner time.

The Ingredients

2/3 cup oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 bag of coleslaw mix
2 individual celery stalks
1 can of mandarin oranges, drained
1 can of chow mien vegetables, drained and rinsed (totally weird, I know. but it really worked well)
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
2 cups cooked, diced chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken I picked up while I was grocery shopping)
1/2 cup halved, salted cashews (so not optional!)
At Ten O'Clock

1. Blend oil, soy sauce, ginger and vinegar together in a food processor. Set aside.
2. Combine rest of ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Pour sauce over top, and stir to combine. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Before Serving

Needs no extra attention. Definitely my kind of meal. If desired, serve with rice.

Family Approval
Big thumbs up. As we were eating it, I was thinking about how much I liked it and how my husband probably wouldn't. It turns out he did. He actually like it a lot. Next time, I think I'll add a little more chicken and a little more coleslaw, just 'cause I really like both. The inspiration for this recipe was Sandra Lee's Salad Chinois.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Make Ahead Creamy Sour Cream and Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

My family loves all kinds of enchiladas. My husband particularly likes the creamy variety. So this recipe was for him. If you've ever met my husband, you know that he's tall, skinny and eats like a horse. Therefore, these aren't low fat. But, this is a great weekend dish. Calories don't count on the weekends, right?

The Ingredients
10-12 flour tortillas (I used the uncooked kind. I cooked then in a frying pan with no butter until they were barely done. Already cooked tortillas or corn tortillas would be great as well.)

The Sauce:

1/3 c. butter

1/3 c. flour

2 1/2 cups milk

3/4 c. sour cream

2 cubes chicken bouillon

1 can diced green chilies

1-2 tsp Green Pepper Tabasco Sauce (optional)

1 cup monterey jack cheese

The Filling:

3/4 lb cooked, shredded chicken breast (I just boiled mine with some garlic and onions)

3-4 cups of monterey jack cheese


Extra Cheese

chopped black olives

green onions

At Ten O'Clock
Make the white sauce. There are a couple tricks to a good white sauce: low heat, warm milk and lots of stirring. Start by heating the milk. You want the milk to be warm, but not boiling. You now it's ready when there is steam rising from it and there are lots of tiny little bubbles on the side of the pan. Make sure to heat it on low so that it doesn't get to hot. While the milk is heating, melt the butter in another saucepan on medium low. Then stir in the flour. This is called a roux. You must stir this constantly! Once the milk is steaming, pour it very slowly into the roux. Stir, stir, stir! Keep it on low heat, and within a couple minutes, it will be nice and thick and creamy. Turn heat to low and stir in the sour cream, Tabasco and diced chilies.

Assemble the enchiladas. Take a few big spoonfuls of sauce and spread it on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Spread a couple tablespoons of chicken in a line down the center of a tortilla. Then spread a layer of cheese, and then a spoonful of sauce. Roll up and place in the baking dish. Repeat. Pour white sauce over enchiladas and top with more cheese, chopped olives and chopped green onions. Cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Before Serving
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered for 15 minutes and then uncovered for 10 more minutes.

Family Approval
My husband said the sauce was excellent. We both really loved them. Our little boys also liked them. My three year old scarfed them down for lunch the next day. I was really excited that the uncooked flour tortillas worked out so well. Definitely one I would make again.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Make Ahead Pork Chop and Rice Casserole (in the crock pot)

This is a great make ahead twist to the usual chicken and rice casserole. The pork is super moist and very tasty.

The Ingredients
4-6 pork chops (I used boneless)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup beef broth
1 packet onion soup mix
3/4 cup instant rice

At Ten O'Clock
Put everything but rice in crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours.

Before Serving
Switch crock pot to low, and add rice. Cook an additional 4 or more hours.

Family Approval
This is very yummy and perfect for picky eaters. 100% approval.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Make Ahead Tuscan Beef Stew (in the crockpot)

This is a super easy, make ahead soup. Great for those days when you just need to dump everything in the crockpot and go, or when family members need to eat at different times.

The Ingredients
1 can tomato soup
1 can beef broth
1/2 c. dry red wine or water
2 lbs stew meat
1 can diced italian style tomatoes
3 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cans white kidney beans (or any white bean)

At Ten O'Clock

Put everything, but beans, into the crockpot. There is no need to brown the meat first. Cook on high 4-6 hours on high.

Before Serving

Switch crock pot to low, and add beans.

Family Approval

It's a keeper! All of my boys loved this soup. I added a loaf of italian bread on the side and it was delicious.