Make-ahead homemade dinners to feed the masses for a week!

All of the dinners were prepared before we left for the trip (aside from spaghetti night)!!  And they were magically delicious.  The only thing we had to prepare nightly was the salad.  It was our vegetable for each meal.

Ingredients were simply lettuce, feta cheese, diced peppers, diced tomatoes and Greek dressing. 


Lasagna (recipe found on the box).  My sister added spinach to the ricotta cheese and she made 3 or 4 lasagnas.  All I know is we were swimming in leftover lasagna the entire week.  It was filling and delicious! 

It was a hell of a way to start off our week!


Tuesday was Chicken Pot Pie and Shepherd's Pie night!

I made 2 Shepherd's Pie dishes and my sister made 2 Chicken Pot Pie dishes.  We prepared and froze them and just cooked them on Tuesday!

Shepherd's Pie

2 lbs grass-fed beef
1 can Beef Consomme
5-7 carrots
1 16 oz bag of peas
5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick butter
5 cloves of garlic
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper

1) Heat up a little butter in a pan and throw in 2 cloves of garlic.  Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.  Throw in the beef and cook.  When it is done, drain the fat and then add the beef consomme.  Bring it to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes.  Layer the beef in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

2) Chop the carrots and cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat.  Steam the green beans.  Mix together and layer on top of the beef.

3) Wash, peel and chop the potatoes.  Boil them until soft (about 10 minutes).  Mash the potatoes and add the milk, 3 cloves of garlic and butter.  Layer it on top of the veggies and top with cheese.

4) When the entire dish is completely cool, cover it and freeze until you are ready to cook and serve!!

Chicken Pot Pie (Link to original recipe here)

This is without a doubt, the best chicken pot pie I've ever tasted!


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into pieces, room temperature

(Okay I just noticed the butter in the crust - And you called ME Dee.n??????)

1 3 1/2-pound whole chicken
12 cups water
2 large onions, quartered
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large leek, sliced
12 small thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf

Filling and assembly
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
4 ounces green beans, boiled 1 minute, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
4 1/2 teaspoons beef base* or other concentrated beef-flavored broth*

1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)

Preparation For crust:
Mix flour and salt in processor. Add butter and cheese; blend until moist clumps form. Shape dough into 6-inch-long log. Wrap; chill while making chicken and filling.

For chicken:
Place all ingredients in large pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Transfer chicken to large bowl; cool. Discard skin and bones. Cut meat into 1-inch pieces; return to bowl. Strain cooking liquid into large saucepan. Boil until reduced to 3 cups stock, about 1 hour.

For filling and assembly:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers and onion; cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl with chicken. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until just brown, about 4 minutes. Add to bowl with chicken; mix in next 4 ingredients.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; whisk 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in 3 cups stock, then milk, cream and beef base; bring to boil. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Stir 3 cups sauce into chicken mixture (reserve remaining sauce for another use).

Cut prepared dough crosswise into 6 equal pieces. Roll out pieces to 7-inch rounds on lightly floured surface. Divide filling among six 2-cup soufflé dishes. Cover each dish with 1 dough round. Press overhang to side of dish to adhere. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush top of each dough round with egg glaze; cut 3 slits in each for steam to escape. Bake pies until crust is golden brown and filling is heated through, about 45 minutes.


Chicken Tetrazzini!! Or as Pioneer Woman calls it: Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

I have made Chicken Tetrazzini a few times in the last few weeks.  It's so darn delicious, I had to do it for the group.  I took Pioneer Woman's recipe and quadrupled it.

10 Chicken Breasts
1 stick (1/2 Cup) Butter
8 ounces sliced Baby Bella mushrooms
¼ cups Dry White Wine
Kosher Salt And Pepper
¼ cups Flour
2 cups Chicken Broth (reserved From Chicken Or Canned)
1-½ cup Whole Milk
¼ cups (additional) Dry White Wine
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, Or To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Extra Cheese, For Sprinkling
1 pound Linguini

Preparation Instructions

Bake chicken breasts in oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Throw in mushrooms, add 1/4 cup white wine, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until liquid has totally evaporated. Remove mushrooms from skillet. Set aside.

Bring broth to a boil. Break spaghetti into thirds (shorter pieces). Add spaghetti pieces to boiling broth and cook. Drain when al dente.  Pour into pan, add mushrooms and chicken, and stir.

Return large skillet to medium-low heat. Add 6 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle flour over butter, whisking to combine. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in 2 cups broth and whisk to combine. Pour in milk, additional 1/4 cup wine, salt and pepper to taste, then cook and bubble until thick. Turn off heat, add Parmesan cheese, and stir.

Pour cream sauce over chicken/mushroom/spaghetti mixture in a 9 x 13 casserole pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. (Or you can let it cool and freeze it to cook when ready!)

I thought I was bored of this recipe.  Then I passed the Baby Bella mushrooms in Costco and my mouth started to water again.  I will be making it again tomorrow night ;)


Does it get easier than popping a Spiral Ham from Costco in the oven???  My sister also prepared scalloped potatoes and froze them before we left for our trip.  Throw in a salad and some dinner rolls and dinner is ready!


Apparently 4 Chicken Tetrazzini's is a ridiculous amount of food.  As the crowd got a little smaller (we were down to 18-20 people), we were able to pull out more leftovers.

On Friday's in Lent, we don't eat meat.  So spaghetti was the easiest and best option.  I purchased 2 jars of this family size Victoria Marinara Sauce from Costco and we cooked two boxes of linguini.

Maybe it was just me, but that marinara sauce was GOOOO-OOOD!

Nope - it wasn't just me:

And there you have it.  6 nights of delicious dinners.  Most prepared before-hand and frozen.  It made our vacation completely enjoyable and every meal was absolutely delicious.  We received rave reviews from all of our family members.  And although there was quite a bit of prep work to do before we left, splitting the dinners between my sister and I made it tolerable.

Here are links to the other meals we served for the week:
Menu and Grocery Store Lists

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