A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Make Ahead Dinners

Dinner time is always a problem for me.  Evening chores  must be done right at the time I should be making dinner.  Consequently I try to make dinner earlier in the day so that I can just pop it in the oven when I’m done with chores.  One pot meals and crockpot recipes are perfect for my needs.  I enjoy trying new recipes and I’ve recently hit on some good ones.  If it has  taco seasoning or chili powder in it, it will become Lee’s new favorite.  He loves those flavors.  Here are two recipes I’ve made that were easy for me to make ahead, and that we enjoyed eating.

Let me just mention that whenever I can I use home made and unprocessed foods in recipes.  When I make chili I always freeze leftovers and I used some of that in the chili dog recipe that follows.  You can make your own taco seasoning too.  I’m going to give you the recipes as written, but substitute for the processed foods if you can (or want to).


2 (15 oz) cans chili, with or without beans

1 (16 oz) pk. good quality hot dogs

Flour tortillas, 8 inch size same number of tortillas as hot dogs

8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425

Spread 1/2 of chili in bottom of 9×13 baking dish.  Roll each hot dog in a tortilla and place seam side down on top of chili.  Top with remaining chili and grated cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Serve with sour cream and chopped green onions.



1 lb ground beef or turkey

1 pk taco seasoning

4 oz cream cheese (or Neufchatel)

14-16 jumbo pasta shells

1.5 cup salsa

1 cup taco sauce

2 cups shredded taco or Mexican cheese blend

3 green onions, chopped

sour cream

Preheat oven to 350.  Brown the ground meat.  Add taco seasoning and prepare according to pk. directions.  Add cream cheese.  Cover and simmer until cheese is melted.  Blend well.  Set aside and allow to cool.  Cook pasta shells according to pk. directions.  Drain and place on cutting boars so they don’t stick together.  Pour salsa into bottom of 9×13 baking dish.  Stuff the shells with the meat mixture and place in pan, open side up.  Pour taco sauce over shells.  Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.  Remove foil, add shredded cheese and bake 10-15 minutes more.  Serve garnished with sour cream and green onions.


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