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EASY MAKE AHEAD DINNER IDEAS

1.  LATE SUMMER VEGETABLE TIAN

LATE SUMMER VEGETABLE TIAN.jpg

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to coat baking dish

2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced

8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided

3/4 pound (2 medium) zucchini

5 large plum tomatoes

1 pound baby red or Yukon gold potatoes

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush a large, shallow baking dish with olive oil. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook 15 to 18 minutes or until almost golden. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 more minutes or until thoroughly intoxicated from the divine aroma. Add half the thyme and salt and black pepper to taste. Drain off any excess oil. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and allow to cool while preparing the vegetables.

Sprinkle half the cheese over onions.

Slice the zucchini, tomatoes and potatoes into 1/4-inch slices. While the vegetables are on your cutting board, sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Layer vegetables alternately in the dish on top of the onions and cheese, fitting tightly to make one layer. If any vegetables are left over, tuck them in anywhere to use every last one.

Once they're arranged, sprinkle with more salt, black pepper and remaining thyme. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese and and bake another 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

(To make the tian ahead, assemble, bake until the potatoes are tender, cool, and store up to two days. When needed, heat in the oven loosely covered with aluminum foil until hot. Then, proceed with adding the remaining cheese and lightly browning the top. If you store fully assembled without baking–the potatoes will discolor. Tucking the potatoes in at the last minute is also an option.

Recipe and Image from From A Chef's Kitchen

2.  CREAMY CAPRESE QUINOA BAKE

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 cup mozzarella shredded

1 cup fresh mozzarella sliced

1/2-1 cup grape tomatoes halved

1 large bunch fresh basil cut into ribbons

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream, parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa. Fold in the shredded mozzarella and half of the tomatoes, then chop 6 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella slices and the remaining tomatoes.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons. Allow to sit five minutes and then serve.

Recipe and Image from Half Baked Harvest

3.  CHICKEN ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE

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INGREDIENTS

6 ounce package of boxed stuffing mix 

1/2 cup melted butter

4 cups of zucchini, diced

2 cups of cooked chicken, cubed

1 can 10.75 ounces Cream of Chicken Soup

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 cup of sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the stuffing mix and melted butter. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture for the topping.

In a large bowl add the zucchini, chicken, soup, onion and sour cream to the remaining stuffing.

Place the zucchini mix into at greased 9x13 glass pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup stuffing mix on top and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe and Image from Six Sisters' Stuff

4.  BLACK BEAN AND SPINACH ENCHILADA CASSEROLE

MAKE AHEAD BLACK BEAN AND ENCHILADA CASSEROLE.jpg

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon cooking oil 

1 small bag baby spinach (about 5 ounces)

12 small corn tortillas

1 - 16 ounce jar tomatillo salsa

1 - 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1½ teaspoons Mexican chili powder

1 - 4 ounce package goat cheese

1½ cups shredded old cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted, then set it aside.

Spread one third of the salsa into a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish, and then lay down 6 corn tortillas. Top with another third of the salsa, spreading it evenly over the tortillas.

Layer on the cooked spinach, followed by the black beans, and then sprinkle the chili powder evenly over top.

Crumble the goat cheese on top of the beans, then top with the remaining tortillas, the last third of the salsa and the shredded cheese.

If you are making the casserole in advance, stop at this point, cover tightly with foil and pop it into the fridge.

When you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the casserole (covered with foil) for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the casserole is hot throughout and the cheese is bubbly and browning. If you like a very browned and bubbly top, you might need to turn the oven to broil for the last few minutes of cooking.

Recipe and Image from Kiwi & Bean