Recipe Round Up [Ina's Make It Ahead Cookbook Edition]

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Today, I've rounded up our favorite recipes from Ina's Make It Ahead Cookbook. This was one of our first cookbooks as an engaged couple, so it holds a special place in our hearts! I'm also one for a recipe, unlike my husband - he likes to improvise and create his own based on basic research he does. And he is SO GOOD AT IT. Me, not so much. Give me an ingredient list, instructions, and a how-to and I'm good to go, girlfriend! But, you know what's funny? In rounding up all these recipes, I've realized we've only made ONE of these "ahead"!

Jalapeno Margaritas | From the Cocktails Section, this beverage quickly became a favorite AND a summer staple in our house! 

One of the first time's we made it was over a weekend in the summer. One of our favorite past times is spending Saturdays and Sundays at home researching our next homemade meal which typically includes a signature cocktail to boot. This past time also typically involves bingeing a new or our current favorite TV series. At this particular occasion, it was Big Little Lies! Let me just tell you, we finished the season in one weekend. It's THAT good and we're THAT into bingeing! 

But anyhoo, this cocktail. Hmm, hmm, hmm. Now I'm always weary of spicy things especially cocktails, but this one is mild and has just the perfect amount slash hint of spice. It's easy for us to take down a pitcher in one sitting - the recipe serves 6. 

Tomatoes and Burrata | From the To Start Section, this is a fancy version of a caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil) that replaces mozzarella with burrata. And OMG. Burrata, y'all. It's EVEN BETTER than mozzarella if that's possible. It's super light and so easy to put together. You can pair it with any main dish and you really just can't go wrong with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzle on top! 

Zuchinni Basil Soup | Also from the To Start Section, I had a blast making this for the first time on my own! Nate was working late the night I made it and I wanted to make the most of the time I had to myself, but still be productive, and serve my hubby at the same time! And WOW. This soup really is to die for. I'd have it anytime during the year that's how fresh and light, yet homey and hearty this recipe is. Check out the full blog post I did on it here.

Homemade Chicken Stock | Another from the To Start Section of Ina's Make It Ahead Cookbook! Another funny story, we've actually never made this with chicken. It always follows our Thanksgiving feasts when we chose to host or still have a small Thanksgiving just for the two of us. So, yes, please substitute Turkey here if you'd like! The recipe makes a heck of a lot. We always can what we make in mason jars, seal them, and put away in the freezer. It's super easy to pull them out and thraw them when we need AND we never have to buy stock at the store. Talk about #winwinwin - easy to make, homemade, and budget friendly!

Ham & Leek Empanadas | We've finally made it to the Lunch Section! Nate loves a good recipe with puff pastry, let me tell you what! And these were absolutely delicious. This was another summer weekend, all the homemade food we could eat, and TV binge fest! I remember the puff pastry being a BIT of a process, but overall a really tasty, light, but filling treat! 

Zucchini & Goat Cheese Tart | This one was really fun to make and another recipe courtesy of Ina's Lunch Section! The dough was crispy and light and paired with the goat cheese spread and zucchini, this is a no-brainer in the middle of a heat wave. It's basically a white, all veggie pizza and I'm pretty sure we had NO leftovers! I'm really excited to make this one again. Try it out during your next at-home movie night!

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy with Onions & Sage | Here it is - the ONE dish on this list that we've actually made "ahead"! You know because all the Thanksgiving things and preparations, right?! This is in the Dinner Section of her book and y'all just can't understand how good this is until you try it! Literally THE BEST gravy I've ever had. It's totally from scratch and I LOVE that you CAN make it ahead - at least part of it anyways. You need the turkey bastings to complete it! Side note: there's almost no need to double or triple this recipe if you're hosting a large gathering. We did for our last Thanksgiving, just based on the serving size, and with a 13lb Turkey... well needless to say it made a WHOLE LOT of gravy. We barely made a dent in it at Thanksgiving dinner, but oh so good were the leftovers!

Baby Bok Choy | OMG. Baby Bok Choy. Have y'all had this before? It's delicious. From the Vegetables section of her book, we actually HAVEN'T made her recipe, but we started incorporating it into our dinners after seeing it in her cookbook! It's to die for and a great alternative to Kale if you're trying to switch things up like we were!

Summer Vegetable Couscous | How this is only in the Vegetables Section, I just don't know. It's SO FILLING. Plus when we made it, we paired it with Chicken and it became a full-on dinner! SO FREAKIN' tasty, y'all. Do NOT skimp on the Lemon juice. It MAKES the dish. So summery, delicious, and bright. Imagine having it after a long day at the pool or beach. Yes, yes, and more yes! My mouth is watering as I type this!

Stuffed Zucchini | I think this was the first dish we ever made after getting this cookbook! It's another from the Vegetables Section and we made it as a side dish to Christmas Eve dinner one year. Absolutely delicious, too. The Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses really make this dish. It pairs so good with the sourdough bread and tomato filling! It would be great for any potluck dinner or sliced up as a finger food at a party.

Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes | In the words of my husband, these things are pretty great! It blows my mind sometimes how many different ways you can have potatoes. Here's just yet another way! The way Ina pairs her ingredients seriously makes every dish above par in my opinion (and half the reason, I don't like to steer away from following her recipe instructions precisely). Her recipes will make you cherish food in a whole new way!

Mini Italian Frittatas | Oh, breakfast, how I love thee. Anyone else eat breakfast at any and all times of the day? It's a big known fact in our house that Nate and I can have breakfast for dinner multiple times a week. These things were real tasty. Think savory muffin with egg, bacon, and cheese plus prosciutto, lemon juice, and basil. Oh so yummy! 

We haven't done any of her desserts yet, and I REALLY want to make my pups her Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits! Also, her Make-Ahead menus are bombbbb! So unique and it makes planning an event SO EASY. Also, can you tell that we're apps and cocktails kind of people? Not much dinner up there on that list!! Although, I'd love to make all of them!

On the list to try this upcoming year is (not including everything above!) .... 

  • Those Dog Biscuits!

  • Spanish Tapas Peppers

  • Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup

  • Herbed Pork Tenderloins with Apply Chutney

  • Asparagus & Prosciutto Bundles

  • Baked Farro & Butternut Squash

  • Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting

  • Fresh Blueberry Pie

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Compote with Greek Yogurt

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