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What are some of your favorite make-ahead meals?

I have been asked to provide a meal for someone who recently lost a family member. I thought about the standards like meatloaf, beef stew and baked ziti. But I think I would like to make something a little more unique. What are your favorites? If you can share the recipe or a link or even just a description of how you make it, I would really appreciate it.

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  1. You could do chili with cornbread. I like bow-tie pasta with pesto (1/2 small jar) mushrooms (1 container) sun-dried tomatoes (20 strips or half larger jar) you can eat it hot or cold which is nice, you can also add Romano cheese or pine-nuts. I like to make a salad with chicken breast made on the side they can add when they serve. i love lasagna. you could do a lentil salad or a Tuscan bean salad with sandwiches for a lunch meal. You could do soup and salad and bread come to think about it. chicken pot pies is a thought as they freeze well. Sheppard pie too. quiche for brunch with a fruit basket would be nice... coffee and coffee cake as well.

    1. Curried Cream of Chicken Soup from Silver Palate
      I love this soup and have made it usually the original way noted in the writing, but the shortcut would work I am sure. I made it with hot curry powder and some cayenne and have given it many times to people. It does freeze well.

      1. Tamales--because if you're going to go to the trouble of making them, you want enough for freezer stash anyway.
        I've made meat filled and the sweet corn/cheese/pepper ones from Rick Bayless' website and both are amazing.

        1. How about a chicken pot pie? It's good and seasonal. I like to top it with a biscuit topping. Just make sure your veggies - I like peas, carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms - are already cooked. Make a roux then cook it into chicken broth and white wine, then season with dill and some cream. Stir in your shredded chicken and ocoked veggies, top with your topping and bake.

          1. Lots of great suggestions here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810644

            Curries freeze really well and can be very comforting when feeling ill (Nepalese Dal Bhat and a Split Pea Sal with Ginger and Lime come to mind). Soups also fit the bill (beef and barley, red lentil and cumin soup). I'd try to making something filled with lots of vegetables, beans, grains, etc. instead of sugary, fatty foods.


            1. Braised shortribs and some sort of potato casserole. Ad a bag baby greens and a jar of homemade vinaigrette.

              1. Wow, it must be late! Add a bag of baby greens and a jar of vinaigrette. Whew.

                1. Stuffed peppers might be nice, and you can wrap them individually so they can eat as needed. What about a simple roast chicken - it can be eaten warm or cold.

                  Some of my favorite make and freeze meals involve soups (corn chowder, mushroom soup, or maybe pumpkin soup for this time of year). Eggplant parmesan. And I'll second the chicken pot pie.

                  Chili and lasagna are good ones because I can pack a lot of veggies in it, so it's a one dish meal. My chili I do zucchini, lots of peppers, onions, carrots & corn with ground beef, tomatoes, beer, and spices. The lasagna I layer with spinach, zucchini, carrots along with the beef, cheese etc. (A meat and cheese layer, then a veggie and cheese layer, then meat, then veggie).

                  1. lots of great ones already suggested. a few additions:
                    - chicken cacciatore
                    - chana masala
                    - chicken or pork chile verde

                    and don't forget about breakfast:
                    - baked oatmeal
                    - a strata or frittata
                    - a basket of homemade muffins or scones
                    - homemade granola

                    i don't want to get too off-topic here, but having just gone through this myself i want to make sure you don't go to a lot of trouble to prepare delicious food that never gets eaten. while we were sitting shivah for my father last month there was far too much food coming into the house, much of which was repetitive, and we actually didn't have sufficient space in the refrigerator & freezer for leftovers/extras so we had to give it away or throw it out. i personally couldn't eat most of it anyway because of my gluten restriction, and my mother - who has a life-threatening seafood allergy - got sick when someone sent over a meal containing a very pungent whole cooked fish. so...have you confirmed that there are no dietary restrictions or allergies? and is there any way you can find out if there are particular foods this person really would enjoy or appreciate?

                    1. The one we usually get is lasagna. But a friend years ago gave us a chart of mix and match ingredients for different casserole. One column had the protein (tuna, ham, poultry, etc), one column had the sauce maker, another had the starch (pasta, potatoes, rice, etc.) and another had a topping. You'd take something from each column, mix and bake them. It was good insurance against confreres who had trouble cooking. My favorites were tuna noodle and what amounted to scalloped ham and potatoes. We'd freeze several at a time and could pull them out of the freezer as needed. But I think if I were to bring something to someone who has lost a family member, I'd like it to do something a little more special, like stuff already mentioned. Chicken Marbella or similar dishes would be a possible choice. Or bracciole or even the simpler bistecca alla pizzaiola or even similar variations on cube steaks. Dredge them in flour and brown them. Add sweated onions and a bit of broth or tomato sauce and your favorite herbs.

                      1. How about making a Bolognese and giving the sauce with a package of nice pasta? The sauce can be stored in individual servings in jars that can be frozen and then used as needed. As GHG mentioned below, receiving multiple large trays of food can be a storage challenge.

                        Here is a link to Hazan's Bolognese recipe http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html...

                        1. Some years ago I made shrimp creole for a situation like this. I make a quick creole sauce and some rice. I let the rice cool. I put it in a pie tin, added the cooled sauce and put some cooled steamed shrimp on top (small ones). I wrote heating directions on some foil and covered the pie tin with foil. I stuck it in their freezer when I went to feed their pets. They said they loved it.

                          1. i would like also to suggest things that can be made ahead, and then separated into individual servings for freezing, and ease of serving...

                            -a tray of enchiladas, then package 2 or 3 together in foil
                            -burritos - same deal as enchiladas
                            -ratatouille - frozen in individual ziploc baggies -- maybe with roasted chicken to stir in
                            -meatloaf and mashed potatoes - but do in muffin/popover tins for individual servings - meat on bottom, spinach and mushrooms in middle, potatoes or mashed cauliflower with roasted garlic on top.
                            -cabbage and (turkey or beef) meatballs
                            -salmon croquettes (regular or mini) with mashed cauliflower or soup or mashed potatoes...
                            -brisket :) just did an awesome one for rosh hashanah
                            -savory waffles to be reheated in toaster or micro just for a change of pace...

                            all my best to the grieving...