Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Easy and Make Ahead Recipes

It's time to think about recipes.  I'm going to suggest a few that can be made several days ahead of your get-together.  And if I think of any others in the days ahead, I may add a few more.

The following is easy to make and guests go back for more.  If you have any left over, they are good for a main dish.

Easy Appetizers / Hors d'oeuvres

Easy Slow Cooker Barbecued Meatballs

2 -16 ounce packages of frozen meatballs (about 60)
1  20 ounce can of pineapple chunks undrained
1  regular sized bottle barbecue sauce (1 to 1-1/2 Cups of Sauce) I think I  
                                                         used Bulls-eye BBS) 
1  sliced or diced green bell pepper

Cook for 5 - 8 hours on low.  Slow cookers can vary in temperatures, but it would be very hard to cook these too long.  Also, if you are a creative cook you could spice these up according to your taste.  However, this is one of the easiest appetizers I have ever made.

Layered Mexican Dip

Buy a large bag of Tortilla Chips to serve along side this recipe.
All you have to do is layer the listed ingredients in the order given, then
put it in the refrigerator to heat up later or put it in the oven right away, then serve.  This is a really yummy dip.  I like it much better than the cold bean layered dip.  I put this in a 9 X 13 inch glass baking dish.

1 Can of Refried Beans (Regular Size)
Brown 1 pound Ground Beef with 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
8 ounces Taco Sauce
1 1/2 or 2 Cups Shredded Cheese
Small Can Chopped Green Chilis (4 oz.)
Small Can Chopped Black Olives
1 Cup Sour Cream (a little tight spreading 1 cup, but can be done)
Optional:  Chopped green onion if desired

Bake at 350 degree f. for 25 minutes.  Serve with Tortilla Chips.


Make Ahead Dinners or Suppers


Ham, Roast, or Poultry  
Ham can be served cold after it is cooked.  
You could buy Whole Cooked Chicken from the Grocery Store Deli.
Or you could cook a Roast, Turkey Breast or Chicken in a Reynold's Oven Bag.  I have never had  dry meat when cooking in one of these bags.
See the directions in bags for oven temperature and cooking times.
Another choice would be cooking the meat in your slow cooker all day, but it
may be falling apart.  Remember, this is supposed to be easy.  Do what is easiest for you.  Oven Bags make clean up easier too.

Suggested seasonings:
Pork:  Garlic, Rosemary, Salt, and Pepper (Can cook this in a cooking bag too)
Chicken in the Bag:  Season inside and out.  Garlic Salt, Celery Salt, Pepper, 
                             Onion Salt, Paprika.  You can substitute Powdered Garlic
                              for Garlic Salt.  Shake seasonings on the whole chicken.
                              Follow directions for Cooking Bag.
Turkey or Turkey Breast:  You could put a cut onion and some cut stalks
                                    of celery in the cavity.  Don't fill it full.  Leave 
                                    room for heat to circulate.  Rub with butter.
                                    Salt and Pepper Turkey.

Bake sweet potatoes in oven with the main meat or poultry dish.  Serve with
butter, salt, and pepper.  Let guests butter, salt and pepper according to taste.

Or you could have Yellow Rice.  Note that most packaged yellow rice contains

Serve with chilled jellied and/or whole Cranberry Sauce.  Open both ends of cans for sauce to slide out in shape of can.

Possible Make Ahead Casserole for This Menu - this recipe tastes better if it sits in the refrigerator for a couple of days.  It is quite rich.

My Version of Spinach Madeleine (this is a tripled version which will fit in a 9 X
13 glass rectangular baking dish or a 3 quart casserole.  Bake without a cover. 

--large version for 15 to 20 people 
4 - 16 ounce bags chopped frozen spinach 
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1/4 Cup of flour plus 2 Tablespoons
1/3 finely chopped onions
1 1/3 Cups of Spinach Liquer (Juice drained from cooked Spinach)
1 - 12 ounce Can Evaporated Milk
1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt or Rounded 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Celery Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
3 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 3/4 Monterey Jack Pepper Cheese, cut into small chunks
1 Cup Sharp Grated Cheddar Cheese
Cayenne pepper to taste
Butter, and Breadcrumbs made with whole wheat or white bread, for topping

--regular version for 5 to 6 people fits in a 1 1/2 quart casserole
1 1/4 bag of chopped frozen spinach or 2 - 10 ounce boxes frozen spinach
1/2 stick of butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1/2 cup spinach liquer (juice drained from cooked spinach)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces monterey jack pepper cheese
1/3 cup sharp grated cheddar cheese
cayenne pepper to taste
Butter and Breadcrumbs, for topping

Cook spinach as directed on package; drain in strainer, reserve spinach liquid.
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.
Whisk in flour until smooth.
Add onion; cook until soft but not brown.  Stir while cooking.
Slowly add milk and reserved spinach liquid 1/2 to 1 1/2 Cups of liquid 
     depending on how much you are making.  Stir as you add liquids.
     until sauce is smooth and thickened.
Stir in garlic salt, celery salt, pepper, Worcestershire and cheeses;  
      continue stirring until smooth.
Add Drained Spinach to Sauce, or Combine in Large Bowl.
Pour into Casserole Dish.
Make your bread crumbs with bread by tearing into small pieces. 
      Melt some butter in a saute pan and stir your bread crumbs 
      around in butter.
Spread bread crumbs over mixture in casserole dish.

If you are chilling, cool before putting in refrigerator.  Cover and leave in refrigerator one or two days.  This also freezes well.  If you use a glass casserole dish, make sure you let it come close to room temperature before putting in oven, or it might crack.  

Bake at 350 to 375 degrees for 35 minutes to 40 minutes, until bubbly.

If you are cooking in oven right away, use the cooking time below.
Bake at 350 degrees f. until heated through and bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes.  (This recipe always tastes better after it sits in the refrigerator for one or two days.) 

Salad and Rolls could be served with this meal, but our family did not find rolls necessary.

Light Dessert  such as, Sherbet, Sorbet,  or Key Lime Pie -- delicious versions
can be bought in the grocery store.

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It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah