Make-Ahead Meals

Just for kicks — here are the five make-ahead meals we made at Stepping Up Sabbath today.  (You can read more about that here.)  I really don’t know the origin of all of them:  probably,, family friends…  They’ve been tweaked and reworked a bit, and you might be able to find the originals online elsewhere, but this is what worked for us.  Enjoy!



Cranberry Chicken

*Note:  Onion soup to taste — you may omit this entirely or use a whole packet.  Our family likes it without this ingredient, or with only a half packet.

  • 1 15. oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • *1/2 packet onion soup mix
  • 1 small bottle Catalina salad dressing
  • 1.5 lb. chicken breasts


  1. Make sauce packet by mixing first three ingredients.  Freeze along with a package of chicken breasts.
  2. For Serving Day, be sure you have thawed the sauce packet ahead of time.
  3. Spray your crock pot with nonstick spray, and put in the chicken.  Pour your sauce over the top and cook on low for 6 hours.  (You could also thaw and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes if you don’t have a slow cooker.)
  4. Make rice to serve with your chicken.  Sprinkle with parsley if desired.


Lettuce Leaf Tacos

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. chicken stock (optional)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 T. taco seasoning
  • 2 large roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped, or salsa
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 12 large romaine lettuce leaves
  1. Dice pepper and onion.
  2. Cook and stir pepper and onion in a skillet over medium heat with olive oil and chicken broth until onion is translucent.
  3. Cut up ground beef into small pieces; place into a separate skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir ground beef with taco seasoning until beef is browned and crumbly. Drain excess grease.
  4. Combine beef, onions, peppers, and freeze.
  5. On Serving Day, reheat meat packet.
  6. Create “tacos” by using lettuce leaves for your shell, a scoop of meat mixture, a sprinkle of cheese, and some tomatoes.


Honey Garlic Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. ketchup (you can also use low-sodium ketchup, if available)
  • 1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 2 T. fresh parsley
  • 1/2 T. toasted sesame seeds


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oregano and parsley; whisk until thoroughly combined.
  2. Freeze.
  3. For Serving Day, be sure to thaw your sauce packet ahead of time.  Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs in a slow cooker.  Close with a lid and cook for 6 to 7 hours on low.
  4. Make rice to serve with chicken.  Spoon extra sauce over the top of each serving.
  5. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.


White Lightning Chicken Chili and Cornbread

This is a quick and easy chili, but like all good chilies, you can go low and slow if you want. 

  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 c. cooked chicken
  • 3.5 t. chicken bouillon
  • 2 cans diced green chiles
  • 1 package white chicken chili seasoning mix
  • (McCormick makes one)*
  • 3 cans navy beans

Optional Toppings for Serving Day:

  • low-fat sour cream
  • shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • cilantro
  • lime
  • diced avocado
  • chips or corn bread
  1. Shred or coarsely chop chicken.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in a large Dutch oven, about 5 minutes, or until onion is tender.
  3. Stir in chicken with next 3 ingredients, 28 oz. water, and 2 cans of navy beans.
  4. Coarsely mash remaining beans and stir into chicken mixture.
  5. Freeze.
  6. Reheat in slow cooker, or thaw, bring to a boil, stirring often; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer about 10 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, avocado, lime wedges, and chips, if you like, and a batch of cornbread on the side.

*If you cannot locate a package of White Chicken Chili Seasoning, use extra garlic, 2 T. cumin, 1 T. coriander, and a cup of green (tomatillo) salsa in its place.


Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna

I dearly love this vegetarian lasagna.  It’s not that carroty veggie lasagna with no hint of cheesy tomato goodness; it really satisfies a good Italian craving — with no meat!  Break it out for your cow-conscious friends.  They’ll thank you.

  • 2 cups bottled red pasta sauce
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 6 ounces mozzarella*
  • 1 T. red wine
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup roasted red sweet peppers, drained well and sliced
  1. Lightly coat a 2-quart square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Spoon 1/3 cup of the sauce in the dish. Top with 2 lasagna noodles.
  3. In a small bowl stir together the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, and wine. Spoon half the mixture over the noodles in the dish.
  4. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Top with half the red pepper strips.
  5. Spoon half the remaining sauce on the pepper layer.
  6. Top with 2 more noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture, and remaining peppers.
  7. Add 2 more noodles and the remaining sauce.
  8. Sprinkle top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
  9. Cover with foil.
  10. Freeze.
  11. Thaw overnight.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 50 minutes. Let stand, covered, on a wire rack for 20 minutes before serving.  Serve with caesar salad and french bread if desired.

*Super good with goat cheese instead of mozzarella!  

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