Make It Ahead

By : | 0 Comments | On : July 25, 2016 | Category : Book Review

A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

For the first time, trusted and beloved cookbook author Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, answers the number one question she receives from cooks: Can I make it ahead?

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in front of the stove at your own party, scrambling to get everything to the table at just the right moment, Ina is here to let you in on her secrets! Thanks to twenty years of running a specialty food store and fifteen years writing cookbooks, she has learned exactly which dishes you can prep, assemble, or cook ahead of time. Whether you’re hosting a party or simply making dinner on a hectic weeknight, Ina gives you lots of amazing recipes that taste just as good—or even better!—when they’re made in advance.

In Make It Ahead, each recipe includes clear instructions for what you can do ahead of time, and how far in advance, so you can cook with confidence and eliminate last-minute surprises. Make a pitcher of Summer Rosé Sangria filled with red berries, let it chill overnight for the flavors to develop, and you have a delicious drink to offer your friends the minute they arrive. Simmer a pot of Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup, enjoy a bowl for lunch, and freeze the rest for a chilly evening. You can prep the kale, Brussels sprouts, and lemon vinaigrette for Winter Slaw ahead of time and simply toss them together before serving. Assemble French Chicken Pot Pies filled with artichokes and fresh tarragon a day in advance and then pop them in the oven half an hour before dinner. And for dessert, everyone needs the recipe for Ina’s Decadent (gluten-free!) Chocolate Cake topped with Make-Ahead Whipped Cream. Ina also includes recipes for the biggest cooking day of the year—Thanksgiving! Her Ultimate Make-Ahead Roast Turkey and Gravy with Onions & Sage may just change your life.

With beautiful photographs and hundreds of invaluable make-ahead tips, this is your new go-to guide for preparing meals that are stress-free yet filled with those fabulously satisfying flavors that you have come to expect from the Barefoot Contessa.

TSG Review

I really like the idea of a cookbook that gives you recipes that can be made ahead or partially made ahead so you don’t have to do as much when hosting a party and allow for fresher tasting leftovers.

I followed all of these recipes exactly as written.

Ham and Leek Empanadas


Makes 12 of these amazing Puff pastry appetizers. I have seen some pretty small Empanadas but these are not it. These are about the size of your hand. Filled with diced leeks, Black forest ham, and Gruyere cheese, it gives a Spanish dish a totally different, but great, flavor. As for “the make ahead” it might be my favorite one in the book. You can freeze these for up to three months and after doing just that, they are as good from frozen as they are cooked fresh. Its pretty impressive when you break those out on unsuspecting guests. To try this recipe from the book yourself, click the button below.

Ham and Leek Empanadas Recipe



Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes

IMG_7514The make ahead for these is to boil the potatoes and smash them, up to a few days before you add the cheese chives and roast them, or you can eat them the day you make them if you want. These were a very easy side to accompany almost any entree. Different but similar too a baked potato. With how good they taste and how easy it was you can’t go wrong. BTW, the Yellow Yukons taste like they have already been buttered…my new favorite potato.

Zabaglione with Amarettini


Zabaglione is basically an Italian pudding and the Amarettini are crispy cookies. Pretty easy to make egg cream pudding like desert with flavors of vanilla, almond, and Marsala wine. Between the layers is this Italian crumbled crispy cookie that pairs well with the cream. The “make ahead time” was just a couple days but I was able to eat it on different days and the desert tasted just as good if not better to me because the Marsala had mellowed a bit. In fairness I didn’t use an “Italian Dry Marsala” like the recipe asked, I had a bottle of Marsala already open for cooking that I used and I am sure it affected the flavor a bit but this was still pretty good. It reminded me of tiramisu in a way with the crunchy bits absorbing the creamy ones and the strong flavors.

Herb-Roasted Fish


This one is made to serve four people but it couldn’t be easier to make just one, which is exactly what I did. For being a simple steamed fish it really taste good. You bake a fish with a few other ingredients in a sealed parchment paper packet.The olives, thyme and lemons flavors get absorbed into the fish giving it an herby-bright note. For that reason and because it is deceptively easy to make, I will be doing this many more times.

Belgian Waffles

2016-04-01Alright! Belgian waffle batter doesn’t work as well in a regular waffle grill! One the other hand this was easy to do. You do all the work in the evening and let the yeast proof overnight then, when you get up, add the eggs and grill. You don’t even refrigerate it. In a proper begin waffler maker it would have come out perfectly, it really did taste good but in a regular waffle maker there was way to much moisture and the larger holes from the yeast made the waffles fall apart and sag in the middle.


They were all pretty good recipes with a few exceptional ones like the empenadas and herb fish. The recipes were all easy to follow with pictures for all of them and some “cooking technique” pictures when additional images were needed. Most of the recipes are pretty simple and don’t get carried away with tons of ingredients. The Make Ahead info is next to every recipe. It’s easy to find if you want to use it or you can just make the recipe as is. I was able to eat everything I cooked because with the “make it ahead” I was able to keep some of the food at least a few days longer. When you have as many recipe books as the Barefoot Contessa and a show, you must be doing something right! This book proves that. You can’t go wrong with this book. To try The Ham and Leek Empenadas recipe for yourself, click the button below.

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