Category Archives: Make Ahead Meal

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Soup

With the first crisp breath of fall air I take, comes the first batch of soup. This soup is easy to make with staples that can be found any time of the year. The fresh basil adds the perfect balance to the sweet pepper taste. If you want to kick this up a notch, add some crushed red pepper.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Soup
1 TBSP olive oil
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
4 sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 C chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 sherry wine
1 C fresh spinach
1/2 nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
cracked black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over high heat. Add potatoes, stir occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Add peppers and tomatoes. Pour stock into pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes. Add fresh spinach, boil until softened. Remove from heat. Add yogurt and stir. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (or transfer to a blender or food processor). Add basil and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Perfect for a cool fall day!



Filed under Cook, Healthy, Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal, Quick & Easy

Beef Taquitos

My family loves to have a hearty meal on Sunday and we often find ourselves craving Pot Roast, especially in the winter months.  We always seem to have lots of leftover roast and I wanted to create a recipe to use up the meat.  I made these one day and my husband was in love with them.  They are a quick and easy way to use up left over beef and also freeze very well.

Beef Taquitos

3 cups cooked and shredded Pot Roast, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella or pepper jack cheese
6 inch flour tortillas, about 15 or 20

Combine with left over beef roast with the seasonings and lime juice.  Mix in cheese until evenly distributed.

Place about ¼ to 1/3 cup of the mixture down the center of your tortilla.  Roll up and place seam side down on a baking sheet.  Mist with cooking spray or brush with olive oil and then sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown the filling is hot.

These also freeze very well.  Simply place taquitos in a freezer bag before misting with spray and baking.  When you would like to make them, just pull them out of the freezer mist with spray or brush with olive oil, salt and bake.   You might need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time, but the will come out of the oven incredibly delicious.


Filed under Cook, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal, Quick & Easy

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Ginger Cilantro Mayo and Pickled Vegetables

While visiting friends and family in the Twin Cities over Christmas, we stumbled into St. Paul’s Brasa one day for lunch. I say stumbled because we actually tried to go to the restaurant next door but it was too full so we cruised over to Brasa. A lucky twist of fate since this little gem is home to a James Beard award winning chef and boasts being featured on Man vs. Food and the Today show.

I’ve been dreaming about their Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich ever since so I took a crack at replicating it at home.  I was super pleased with the results!  Not only was it easy (thanks, slow cooker) but it was a good way to switch up our standard BBQ pulled pork.
Puled Pork with Quick Pickled Vegetables

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Ginger Cilantro Mayo and Pickled Vegetables

serves 4
1 lb pork shoulder
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp ginger powder
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 C orange juice
2-3 C water
4 pretzel buns or foccacia buns

Place pork shoulder in slow cooker. Season well with spices, working spices into all sides of the meat. Add liquids to slow cooker until they cover about half of the meat and roast on low for 8 hours. Remove meat from slow cooker and use two forks to shred apart. Place meat on a sliced bun and top with pickled vegetables. Spread a generous amount of mayo on the bun and serve!

Ginger Cilantro Mayo
1/2 C mayonnaise (I like the olive oil kind)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled, grated
1 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

Scoop mayo into a small bowl. Chop cilantro and stir into mayo, mixing well. Grate ginger using a microplane grater into mayo and mix well.
Ginger Cilantro Mayo

Quick Pickled Vegetables
*adapted from Whole Foods
1 cucumber, very thinly sliced
2 carrots, very thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled, grated
1/4 C white vinegar
1/8 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Using a knife or a mandoline, slice vegetables very thinly. Place in a medium bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar and salt. Drizzle over vegetables and toss well. Refrigerate vegetables for at least one hour prior to serving.

Quick Pickled Vegetables
Brasa Pulled Pork Sandwich


Filed under Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal, Quick & Easy

{Make Ahead Meal} Butternut Squash Lasagna

Since going back to work I’ve relied heavily on make ahead meals that allow me to put homemade dishes on the table while spending my post-work time with the fam instead of prepping food. About once a month I’ve spent a full weekend afternoon making 4-5 freezer friendly meals that will get us 8-10 dinners. I’ll be sharing lots of make ahead meals this year but lasagna is a hearty go-to.

freezer friendly meals, make ahead meals

The Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce recipe I shared last week does double duty for me in this veggie-focused lasagna. I add Italian sausage at the request of my husband but you could easily skip it or substitute with portabellas for a completely vegetarian meal.

Butternut Squash Lasagna
1 pkg lasagna noodles
1 1/2 lb ground italian sausage
15 oz low-fat ricotta cheese
1 C parmesan cheese, shredded
1 egg, beaten
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed & drained
2 C mozzarella, shredded
salt, pepper
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
2 9×9 aluminum foil roasting pans
heavy duty aluminum foil
parchment paper

In a large stockpot, boil enough water to cover the lasagna noodles. Once water comes to a boil, heavily salt water and add noodles, cooking according to package directions until al dente. Rinse with cold water to prevent sticking and set aside. Meanwhile, in a saute pan, cook italian sausage completely, about 8-10 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine egg, ricotta, 1/2 C parmesan and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

Trim a noodle to fit your pan using a kitchen shears. Use that noodle as a template to trim the rest of your noodles. You’ll have some small loose end pieces, which can be used for your middle layer of noodles without sacrificing the structure of the lasagna. Begin by layering three full, trimmed noodles in the bottom of each foil pan. Visually divide cheese and sausage into 4 portions in your head. Spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles in both pans. Top with 1/4 of the sausage. Top with a layer of squash sauce. Next, sprinkle each pan with 1/3 C mozzarella cheese.

Add another layer of noodles, using end pieces as needed. Repeat layers. Finally, top each pan with another layer of complete noodles, a thin layer of squash sauce and the remaining 1/3 C mozzarella. If freezing, trim a piece of parchment paper to fit the top of each pan and cover lasagna. Use two layers of heavy duty foil to wrap tightly around pan.

If serving, bake at 400 for 50-60 minutes or until center is fully cooked and cheese topping is golden.
If freezing and serving, remove from freezer about 24 hrs before serving to partially thaw. Bake at 400 for 60-75 minutes. NOTE: I recommend setting your timer for 60 minutes and checking the temperature from there. Depending on how thawed your lasagna is your baking time will vary.

Each pan serves 4 large servings.


Filed under Healthy, Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal