Make-Ahead Meals for A New Family!

Time for some more recipes to share. Here is a few I did in a couple hours one afternoon as a make-n-take meal for my bestie Arya and her hubby Rob, who just welcomed their beautiful new baby girl Theia into the world. They put out an all-points plea for someone to bring them a meal or two the day after the baby was born, as the cupboard was bare and they didn't have the energy or interest in preparing anything themselves. Rightfully so! They needed some rest!

So I popped open my fridge and was able to come up with two prepared meals with sides which they could simply throw in a pan/dish and cook or reheat. I included a printout with a simple ingredients list (so they would know what went into the dish, in case there were any food sensitivities to consider) and the easy instructions for cooking/heating. I put them in an insulated bag with an ice pack in case I had to leave it on their porch. Both meals were a hit and I was told they would like to get the recipes from me.

Without further ado, here's the two menus:

Whiskey Soaked Sirloin with Caramelized Balsamic Bell Peppers and Onions

1-1.5 lb sirloin steak, 1" thick
  1/4 cup whiskey
  1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  1 Tbsp sugar
  1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 white or yellow onion, sliced approx. 1/4" pieces
2 bell peppers of choice, sliced approx. 1/4" pieces (mixing one each of red and orange are my faves)
olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp thyme

  • Slice sirloin into narrow strips, place in Ziplock bag
  • Combine rest of marinade and pour into bag with steak slices. Push out most of the air and seal. Toss to coat, put in fridge. Let marinade at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours.
  • Heat a couple Tablespoons of olive oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers, toss with a little salt and pepper, and sautee, stirring occasionally until starting to brown and caramelize. ~15-20 minutes
  • Add balsamic vinegar and thyme and reduce heat to low. Cook just a few more minutes until all is combined thoroughly. Place in tupperware and put in fridge.
  • Pour out marinade and place steak strips on a broiler pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Set oven to broil. Cook steak 4-6 inches from heat for ~7 minutes per side or until desired doneness.
  • Meanwhile, put peppers and onions in a sautee pan over medium heat until heated through. Is also delicious at room-temperature.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Mashed Potatoes

2 chicken breast halves
thin sliced smoked ham
Swiss cheese
1/4 cup flour
one egg
1/2 cup breadcumbs

1 large or 2 smaller russet potatoes
1 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
1-2 Tbsp butter
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Mis en place:
When working with raw chicken, it is really helpful to have your next steps in your cooking process to be set up already so you aren't having to wash your hands repeatedly between steps or risk spreading contamination. So here is how I set up.
  • Crack egg into a bowl and whisk until a little frothy. Set to right of cutting board where you will work with the chicken.
  • Pour breadcrumbs along with thyme and some salt and pepper into wide shallow dish or bowl and place to the right of the egg.
  • Lay out two squares of saran wrap to the right of the breadcrumbs.
  • Set out 2 slices of ham with a piece of Swiss on top on a small plate near the cutting board.
  • Fill a pot with hot water and begin bringing to a boil

  • Peel potatoes and cut into cubes. Place in water with a dash of salt. Cook 15 minutes or until soft. 
  • Take two additional sheets of saran wrap and place chicken breasts between them and set on cutting board. Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thickness or as close as possible.
  • Dust chicken with flour all over, then replace wrap and pound just a little more to set flour into the meat.
  • Place ham and Swiss onto thicker/wider end of the chicken breasts and roll up tightly. Secure with toothpicks if you wish.
  • Dip chicken rolls into egg, letting any excess drip off. 
  • Roll in seasoned breadcrumb mixture until coated.
  • Finally place chicken rolls onto the corner of one of the squares of saran wrap you set aside earlier. Roll wrap tightly around chicken sealing it up.Wash hands. Place rolled chicken wraps in a tupperware and put in fridge right away.
  • Drain potatoes. Return to hot pot along with desired amount of butter, sour cream, cream, and a dash of salt. Mash up until smooth. 
  • Place potatoes in tupperware and put in fridge.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Unwrap chicken rolls and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Meanwhile, put potatoes in a pan and reheat on stove top over low heat.

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On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

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