The holidays are stressful enough, the last thing you need to worry about is what you're going to make for Christmas dinner. Why not give yourself a break, pour a big glass of spiked nog and toss one of these meals you already made into the oven?
We know, we like that idea a lot, too. These easy, incredible and delicious make-ahead meals take the stress out of holiday meal planning and make spending time with your family a lot easier (and more delicious, too!).
Roasted butternut squash lasagna
Serves about 9
- 4 pounds butternut squash, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup milk
- About 3-1/2 cups Alfredo sauce
- 1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 4 slices bacon, chopped and cooked
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Fresh thyme and rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the squash in a glass baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 45 minutes, or until soft. Place in a food processor with 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup water and salt and pepper. Puree until smooth and creamy. Mix the butternut squash mixture with the Alfredo sauce and chopped bacon. Stir to combine.
- Bring lasagna noodles to a boil and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Rinse in cold water. Mix the ricotta cheese with 1 cup of mozzarella.
- Reduce oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch glass baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour about 1/2 cup of the sauce into the glass baking dish and spread evenly to coat. Top the sauce with a layer of lasagna noodles.
- Spread ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with more sauce and another layer of noodles. Repeat until you end with a layer of noodles. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
*When making ahead, store PREBAKED lasagna in the fridge for up to 3 days covered tightly with plastic wrap. When ready to serve, simply bake as instructed.
White wine, garlic, onion and lemon chicken
Serves about 8-12
- 1 (5-6 pound) roasting chicken
- 2 lemons, 1 sliced and 1 juiced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 cup white wine
- 2-3 tablespoons rosemary
- 2-3 fresh basil leaves
- Fresh tarragon
- Dashes salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove giblets from chicken and thoroughly rinse. Place on slightly greased roasting pan.
- Liberally salt and pepper inside of chicken. Place 1 whole lemon, 1/2 rosemary, basil, tarragon, garlic cloves and onion into the cavity of the chicken.
- Rub outside of chicken with the butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remaining rosemary. Using the juice of 1/2 lemon, spritz the top of the chicken. Be sure to spritz a little into the cavity. Use the remaining second half of the lemon as garnish on the roasting pan.
- Pour white wine over the chicken. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh herbs.
- Roast for about an hour, or until a meat thermometer reads 175-180 degrees F.
*We found this tasted the best when made a day ahead. Simply warm in the oven the day you're ready to serve.
Cranberry and pistachio crusted pork tenderloin
Serves about 6
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Mix the breadcrumbs, olive oil, cranberries and pistachios together. Liberally coat the tenderloin with salt and pepper.
- Press the crumb mixture over the tenderloin until no more pink is showing. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reaches 175 degrees F. Let sit for 10 minutes before you cut.
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