Tag Archive | "Make Ahead Meals"

French Toast Casserole

Tags: French Toast, Holiday Dishes, , Using Leftover Bread

French Toast Casserole

Posted on 17 December 2012 by noelskitchen

I found this recipe sometime last year and think it is just a wonderful breakfast or dinner (for those of us who like breakfast for dinner) for busy families. It literally takes only 10 minutes if that to make the night before and you just pop it in the oven in the morning. It’s also a great recipe for when you have company. I plan on making this breakfast dish Christmas morning and again the morning we leave for vacation. We’ll have so many other things to be thinking about, a full day ahead of us and a house full of family, it will be the perfect meal for breakfast.

Plus, it’s a great recipe to use my leftover bread or bread rolls. Texas Toast would also be wonderful in this recipe too. The french toast casserole turns out perfect and is so crispy on top.

Overnight French Toast Casserole

Servings: 8


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 12 slices leftover bread
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 can apple pie filling (optional)


  1. Melt butter and pour in a 9x 13 baking dish. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together.
  3.  Layer bottom of pan with half the bread pieces Sprinkle half brown sugar mix over the bread.
  4. Layer second half of bread. Pour egg mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly.
  5.  Sprinkle remaining brown sugar on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and cover with a new piece of foil. Preheat oven to 350 bake the casserole for 30 minutes.
  7. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes the French toast bake should be browned and set.
  8.  Pour a bit of maple syrup on top and place back in the oven to caramelize for about 5-7 minutes.


* recipe from Mommy’s Kitchen.net

Comments (4)

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad Supreme

Tags: , McCormick's Seasoning, Pasta Salad,

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad Supreme

Posted on 11 September 2012 by noelskitchen

Pasta Salad is a favorite at our house. I love to make it during the summer when the weather is warmer and you just don’t feel like cooking. It’s great for BBQ’s, potlucks and a it’s a perfect leftover dish for lunches. It’s also on this week’s simple supper menu.

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad Supreme

Serves: 4


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons McCormick’s Salad Supreme Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound (I use 4 chicken breasts) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 12 ounce box tri-color rotini pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup deli-sliced mild pepper rings
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Mix oil, vinegar, Seasoning, mustard and oregano until well blended.
  2. Place chicken in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour 1/2 the dressing over chicken; turn to coat well. Reserve the remaining dressing.
  3. Refrigerate chicken 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.
  4. Grill chicken over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes per side or until cooked through. Slice chicken into thin slices. Let cool.
  5. Boil and cook pasta according to box or package instructions. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
  6. Toss pasta, chicken, broccoli, tomato,  pepper rings, Parmesan cheese and remaining dressing in a large salad bowl. Refrigerate for one hour or longer to let the flavors marinate.

*Pasta salads like this recipe can be made the night before or in the morning and placed in the fridge until dinner.

What’s your favorite pasta salad?

Comments (5)

New June Meals For The Freezer Weekly Challenge

Tags: , , , , Turkey

New June Meals For The Freezer Weekly Challenge

Posted on 10 June 2012 by noelskitchen

Each month, I spend a few hours (or a few days) cooking up big batches of our family’s favorite recipes in order to save me a little bit of time in the kitchen during the week.

This “power cooking” or “make-ahead meal” planning is not just a hobby…It’s a routine habit that has become a way of life for our family and keeps our grocery budget fairly reasonable. My goal or should I say challenge for the next six months is to keep our grocery budget in check and our family everyday expenses to a minimum. Especially, if we plan to go on our big family New Year’s vacation.

Since we don’t typically use everything I make for the freezer up all in one month’s time, there is eventually a variety of meals to choose from. And with summer vacation here, I don’t want to heat up the kitchen if I don’t have to either.

Making meals for the freezer will allow us to have a constant rotation in our freezer throughout the month of great tasting recipes. And I get a break from cooking a few nights during the week.

Some ideas for dinners this week are:

  • Crunchy Chicken Fingers
  • Meatloaf Sandwiches
  • Chicken Phillies
  • Lasagna
  • Hearty Beef Stew
  • Taco Soup (back up)

So, this week’s freezer cooking session was designed to get our dinner meals up to speed and include a couple of breakfast and snack options. Here’s the plan for today:

That’s the plan for today. What about you? Making any tasty meals or snacks for the freezer today?

Comments (1)

Homecooked Meals For The Freezer: Ziploc® Perfect Portions™ Bags

Tags: , , , Ziploc

Homecooked Meals For The Freezer: Ziploc® Perfect Portions™ Bags

Posted on 14 April 2012 by noelskitchen

In just three quick steps, bulk food items, such as raw chicken, can be individually wrapped and frozen so that they are ready for a later date. 

Ziploc containers and freezer bags are used quite often when I prepare Homecooked Meals For The Freezer. I use the containers for storing leftovers or beans for the freezer, snack bags for lunch items such as grapes or crackers, homemade oatmeal packets for breakfast, and even use the gallon bags to marinate meats in the fridge before they are cooked.  I’ve recently added Ziploc’s new Perfect Portions Bags to my pantry drawer.

When it comes to splitting up portions for meal planning, the Ziploc Perfect Portions allow you to pick up raw meat like chicken or stew meat without having to directly hold it. You simply put your hand in the Perfect Portions bag, pick up the meat and then turn it inside out to place in a larger freezer bag, never having to directly touch the raw meat.

When I’m making meals ahead, like my seasoned ground beef for taco night,  I simply brown the meat, season it with taco seasoning and cook it.  I make a large sized batch (usually 5 to 10 lbs.), let it cool, then divide into portions my family would normally eat, allowing for leftovers depending on the meal. I like to have extra servings on the side that don’t go into a meal in case I decide to make something different with the meat. I can add the taco meat t0 the Ziploc Perfect Portions Bags and freeze. When I’m ready to use, all  I have to do is thaw out a bag in the refrigerator the night or morning before. Easy Peasey.

Watch Rachael Ray’s Perfect Portions™ and discover why she claims, “it’s a new fave!”

{photos source: Ziploc®}

Comments (5)

Quick Freezer Meals: Bean and Cheese Burritos

Tags: Beans, , ,

Quick Freezer Meals: Bean and Cheese Burritos

Posted on 12 April 2012 by noelskitchen

This is a great recipe because it keeps things simple, inexpensive and freezes well. You can add a variety of ingredients to change up the recipe any way you want depending on the ingredients you have on hand in your pantry, fridge or freezer. Below is my simple recipe with some ideas for changes.

If you find that ground beef is not on sale, you could use ground turkey, shredded beef or shredded chicken.

Frozen Burritos are another homecooked meal idea  from the freezer and something that I make a lot of and always try to make sure I have a zip-loc freezer bag of them in the freezer. They are one of the first items to disappear from our freezer each month. In fact, last night when I attempted to make some, a few of them disappeared quickly. I use burrito size tortillas, cooked pintos, taco meat, and grated cheese. Super easy!

Bean and Cheese Burritos


Makes: 30 burritos



  • 4 cups taco meat
  • 4 cups pinto beans
  • shredded cheese
  • burrito size tortillas (I usually buy them at Costco)


Mix taco meat and beans together in a large bowl for filling.

Spread about 1/4 cup of filling  onto tortilla and top with cheese, fold up sides and roll up.  

Tip:  If tortillas are dry and not bending well, heat in microwave for about 10 seconds to soften them up. 

(optional step:)  Top with a little cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.
Frozen Tortillas: I don’t recommend thawing, that makes them soggy, just cook in aluminum foil for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Garnish with your favorite toppings if you choose like: sour cream, diced tomatoes, black olives, jalapeno slices, green onions, guacamole, salsa, hot sauce , taco sauce (recipe coming soon), or anything you like!

Some changes you could make:

  • use no meat at all
  • use refried or black beans
  • add cooked onions and peppers for more of a “fajita” style burrito
  • omit spices
  • use green salsa
  • add brown or white rice

Comments (3)

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