Summer Dinners to Make in Advance

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Summer is a great time to relax and enjoy family time with vacations and a break from school. These quick, tasty recipes can help you to make ahead meals to give you more time to spend together.


For a quick and easy make ahead meal that you can pop in the oven for dinner or put in the freezer for when your schedule is too hectic to cook, put together an easy, sure to please manicotti dish.

Mix together 1 pint of ricotta cheese and 2 eggs in a medium bowl until blended together. Add in 1 oz. of frozen spinach (thawed, drained, and chopped), 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ½ cup parmesan cheese, 1 ½ tablespoons of white sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until mixed well; stuff into 12 manicotti shells. Large shell shaped pasta would work as well.

Spread out ½ cup of spaghetti sauce on bottom of a baking dish. Arrange stuffed pasta in a single layer on top.

Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight, or wrap and freeze. When ready, bake uncovered from thawed state at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Top with ¼ cup parmesan cheese and diced, fresh tomatoes and peppers from the garden, and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes.

Vegetable Casserole

One of the best things about summer is pulling out a fresh vegetable straight from the garden to use in dinner. Fresh zucchini and squash are a wonderful addition to corn to make crowd pleasing casserole that the whole family will love. Plus, it freezes beautifully for a quick, convenient, and light summer vegetarian meal.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Stir in 2 cups each of shredded or chopped zucchini and squash with ¼ cup of chopped red onion about 10 minutes until softened. Season to taste with pepper and garlic powder.

Stir in ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese; turn off heat and add ½ cup margarine or butter and 8 ounces of cream cheese. Remove pan from burner; add 14.5 ounces of whole kernel corn (fresh or frozen) and 14.5 ounces of creamed corn.

Add 17 ounces of dry corn muffin mix, two eggs, 1 tablespoon of white sugar, and another 1.45 ounces of creamed corn. Mix thoroughly and pour into baking dish.

Bake about 40 minutes until browned and firm on top. Allow to cool before serving, or cool completely and wrap to put in the refrigerator or freezer for a later meal.


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