Make-ahead dishes like frozen lasagna and macaroni and cheese will come out of the oven just as saucy and cheesy as fresh-baked; stuffed chicken breasts will cook up juicy and tender even after two days in the fridge; and your make-ahead mashed potatoes will be so creamy and fresh-tasting your guests will think you've just mashed them over a hot stove. The test kitchen also provides precise instructions on scaling recipes up or down as well as detailed reheating instructions that won't leave you guessing. A lifesaver for busy families, The Best Make-Ahead Recipe will give you the recipes, tips, and techniques to plan and cook ahead--whether you are hosting a dinner party or want to put fresh-tasting food on the table every night of the week.
COOK NOW AND SAVE TIME LATER
Have you been tempted by the convenience of ready-to-cook breaded stuffed chicken breasts at the supermarket? They might look good, but once cooked, the breading becomes soggy and the fillings taste bland. The Test Kitchen shows you how to pretoast bread crumbs for a guaranteed crunchy crust, and for the filling they rely on a highly seasoned mixture of cheeses and fresh herbs, whose flavors won't become muted.
Most make-ahead coffeecakes are baked and then frozen, which can result in a dry texture. Here is a sturdy coffeecake batter (with an extra egg and additional butter) that can be either refrigerated or frozen right in the cake pan. When ready to serve, simply pop it into the oven, and in no time you'll get a fresh-baked coffeecake with a moist, tender crumb.
Turn Sunday night's Braised Brisket into Monday night's quick and heartyToasted French Dip Sandwiches or an easy Meat Ragu. These double-duty recipes offer a variety of family-friendly weekend cooking options that will give you a headstart on organizing your weeknight meals. You'll never look at leftovers the same way again.
The problem with slow-cooker stews is that by the time the meat becomes fork-tender, the vegetables have turned mushy and dull. For the Test Kitchen's beef stew, they found that wrapping the carrots and potatoes in a foil packet and placing the packet on top of the stew allows the vegetables to cook up just right and retain their bright, fresh flavor.
When entertaining or cooking for the holidays, don't let last-minute side dishes slow you down (or stress you out). With these make-ahead menus, you can start your cooking up to a month in advance. With recipes, shopping lists, and a detailed timeline that coordinates all your cooking, you'll be able to get any holiday feast under control so that you can enjoy the day, too.