Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cookbook Notes: The Best Make-Ahead Recipes

I love checking out cookbooks at the library. Sometimes I reserve titles that have been recommended to me or that are recently published. But I often just pick up books that look good. The Best Make-Ahead Recipe is one of those books and boy was it a good find.
I knew it had to be good since it's from the editors of Cook's Illustrated, the same people that do the show America's Test Kitchen on PBS. They're great!

Anyways, the cookbook is full of recipes you can make ahead {obviously!} to either refrigerate until dinnertime or freeze for later. Perfect to avoid getting dinner ready after the kids wake up from naps. We all know how that goes. And you'd be surprised the variety of recipes: from stuffed plum tomatoes and make-ahead mashed potatoes to 24-hour omelet and chocolate souffle. A chocolate souffle that goes from freezer to oven?! Amazing! I haven't tried that yet but it's on my list.

Here's what I've made so far...

Overnight Sour Cream Coffeecake {see above pic} - it's dense but good. Perfect with coffee for sure. And I love that you can assemble it, streusel topping and all, and pop it in the freezer until you're ready to bake it. Great for having company in town!

Flank Steak Stuffed with Spinach, Provolone, and Red Pepper Pesto - Oh my goodness, yum! We ALL loved this one and it will for sure be repeated. Such great flavor.

Overnight Yeasted Waffles - These were good but I don't think they'll become my standby waffle recipe. They turn out crispier than other waffle recipes I've tried and had a little too much of a bread dough flavor.

Breaded Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Ham and Cheese - Mmmm. These were delicious. According to the recipe, I made my own breadcrumbs. It made such a difference. The breading was light and crispy. The recipe includes several variations for filling: Goat Cheese and Thyme, Gorgonzola with Walnuts and Figs, and Mushroom and Provolone. I opted for the kid-friendly Ham and Cheddar Cheese but will definitely try the others. It's a great recipe.

Besides a ton of great recipes with tasty variations for each, the cookbook is full of helpful tips and explanations of how the recipes were tested. That's what I love about Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. They're so thorough and really do test the recipes over and over again to get the recipes perfect. They have other cookbooks similar to this that I plan on checking out soon.

I'll do more Cookbook Notes here as I try recipes from cookbooks I check out at the libary and those I already own. Hope you find them helpful.


Laura said...

Looks good. I assume the stuffed tomatoes are just make-ahead the day of and not frozen?

Renee Westcott said...

I'll have to check this book out. I love to make stuff ahead, especially with company. Who wants to be caught cleaning up the kitchen when someone walks in for a visit?!

Lauren said...

Hi there! I got here from Kate's blog. I love checking out the crafts you do!

I LOVE Cook's Illustrated. I get their magazine as a gift from my folks at Christmas each year and this year my husband got me their baking cookbook. It makes the best bread EVER. I'm devouring it. I didn't know about this theme and will have to check it out. How handy to have!!! Thanks for the tip!

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