I’ve been lucky enough to have had a little time to do some cooking during my maternity leave*. I wanted to try and re-try a few new make-ahead recipes in particular since once I go back to work it will be beneficial to have a few things to make ahead of time. Here are a few of the things I’ve tried.

Elizabeth made sweet potato, apple and carrot kugel for us last year when we were on a gluten-free diet (you have to scroll down to the gluten free one). It was really good. This was the second time I made it. There are very specific instructions about how to get it to be crispy that I have not been able to replicate yet. I’ll keep trying. It’s still good. The first time I made it I didn’t cook it long enough. This time I cooked it long enough at least.

French onion soup is actually fairly ridiculously easy to make. You just need a chunk of time to let it cook, but basically the only thing you have to do preparation wise is slicing the onions.

This sweet potato hash with sausage and eggs was probably my favorite of everything I tried, fairly easy to accomplish and super-conducive to being made ahead. I made it for brinner with homemade pancakes. Ben found it to be very filling. We tried it both with and without the eggs. Like the French onion soup, it involves carmelizing onions, which I seem to be acquiring a taste for.

The crustless mini-quiches were less of a success in my opinion (although Ben said he liked them a lot – but Ben likes most things a lot). We didn’t have a mini cupcake tin, maybe that made a difference. Or alternately I prefer my quiche (which admittedly I don’t eat very often and have never made) with, rather than without, crust. The flavors were good here, but the end product ended up being a bit on the soggy side. Also the prep time was on the high side.

I made chocolate pie** for Erin’s pie party. This is a recipe I got from my friend Laura, who lives an awesome and fantastic life that included a few years in Pittsburgh, where I met her and learned about her pie. Which, since Laura is from North Carolina, is pronounced PIAH. It’s super easy (even though I was sleep deprived when I made it and forgot the eggs the first time around). I wish we could eat chocolate PIAH for dinner once I go back to work.

I tried this pumpkin steel cut oatmeal in the crock pot and it got burned. So now our crock pot has a pumpkin steel cut oatmeal crust at the bottom.

We’ve done this parmesan dijon chicken before, and I made it in nugget form last night to trick Elena into eating it. It didn’t really work that well but I’ll try again. I don’t really understand how she can tell the difference between freezer nuggets and homemade nuggets what with all the ketchup. In any event, WE liked it and it’s also very easy.

So overall my experimentations were successful, in that they were generally edible and tasty, but I’m not sure that I’ve added many new recipes to our standard list. I’ve also done easier and more basic make-ahead recipes like mac and cheese with broccoli, and vegetable soup, during my leave, and I suspect I’ll be working with those recipes a little more than some of these new ones.


*It should be noted that today is not one of those days since it’s taken me approximately two hours to write this post. I’ve already asked Elena to ask Ben to get Chipotle for dinner.

**Recipe: melt one stick butter and 1 square unsweetened baker’s chocolate together; mix 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, dash of sale and 1 tsp vanilla in a bowl; add melted mixture to bowl and mix together; pour into unbaked pie crust; bake at 350 for about 30 minutes


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