Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms by Jane Doiron

Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms by Jane Doiron
Copyright 2009
Outskirts Press - Cookbook
208 pages

Seafood Quiche

A great recipe for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

9-inch deep dish frozen pie crust, thawed
1 can (6 oz.) lump crabmeat, drained
1 can (4 oz.) medium shrimp, drained
1 cup mild cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons green onion, finely sliced
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1/4 teaspoon pepper

~A Day Ahead~

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the crabmeat and shrimp evenly in the bottom of the pie shell. Top with cheese and green onion. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over everything in the pie. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate.

~Cooking Directions~

Reheat the quiche in the microwave.

This is my favorite recipe from Make-Ahead Meals, so far. Confession: I didn't do the cooking; My husband did. He does most of the cooking in our house, so he evaluates the cookbooks and I evaluate the food.

Husband's opinion about the book: It's not what he expected. He thought when I described the book he could expect a book of meals that you prepared in advance (like over the weekend) and freeze, thawing one every day or two so that you had a full week's worth of meals. When he saw the book, he was surprised at the beautiful cover and disappointed when he opened the book to find it totally unillustrated. He did, however, like the fact that the recipes are simple, require few ingredients and are not time-consuming.

My opinion: I had similar expectations. Neither one of us could quite figure out how there's any time saving during the week. I would have liked recipes that could be prepared in bulk, frozen in several containers and stockpiled. But, I loved that seafood quiche and there are several more recipes I want to try. I like the fact that the ingredients are easy to acquire (very important in our area -- we don't have access to a lot of unique or ethnic ingredients) and recipes are not complex. They appear to be more time-saving in their limited ingredients and the ease with which they can be tossed together than in any other way.

We plan to try a few more recipes, but our kitchen is currently in a state of minor chaos. I didn't realize we were going to end up remodeling at the time this tour rolled around. If I have any further comments about the book, once our mess is gone and we're cooking normally, I'll mention them in future posts!

Thanks to Jane Doiron for the review copy of Make-Ahead Meals! I received this for a book tour.

In case you're interested, here's the portion of the kitchen we've managed to complete:

We just managed to get the bottom doors on that side screwed on, today. However, there are some gaping holes that you can't see outside the picture frame. We used to have a double oven but when the door fell off (sigh -- I'll bet nobody else can tell me they had a door fall off their oven), we opted to replace our oven with a single and create drawer space where the second oven used to be. Husband is making the drawers to fit. We're just refacing the kitchen - painting, putting on new doors and drawer facings (and the necessary hardware) and adding those drawers, but everything has to come out of the cabinets when we paint. And, we have on inky dinky kitchen and breakfast nook, so it's been something.

If you make the seafood quiche recipe, come back and tell me. I agree with that comment (from the book) that it's great for any meal. I mostly ate it for breakfast. I'm known for eating quiche for breakfast, though. Nothing overly unusual, there.

Don't forget to stand up and be counted (comment at my last post, that is). And, note that I have three giveaways going in my sidebar. I hope to get some more listed, soon. I signed up for more than I realized (blush). I don't know if I've put Sanjay Gupta's book in the "Now Reading" section of my sidebar but I read the first chapter and they weren't kidding when they advertised it as "like a thriller". It's gripping and a bit of a horror in that the U.S. is behind the world in a life-saving treatment. I hope it horrifies a few really noisy Americans. You should read it to find out what I mean.

Must go crawl into bed and attempt to sleep for the third time. Nighty night!


  1. I joined this book tour, my first. I did not have much success in preparing my dish. I am a terrible cook, however, and I have resolved to try, try, again.

  2. I guess the "time-saving" would be if you were used to having quiche or whatever all the time, doing it the day before means you're not spending time making it in the morning for breakfast. Or whatever. Maybe the author doesn't know what leftovers are? 'Cause when I make a quiche, I have some the first day and then I nuke the leftovers on the day or days after that until they're all gone. That sounds like this book. I agree, I would've thought it'd have recipes for making food in bulk and then freezing what you've got for later. Still, it sounds yummy, and I like recipes with few ingredients.

  3. Deb,

    I loved your post about your cooking experience. It made me laugh. Finally! Someone as graceful in the kitchen as I am! :)

    I hope you find a recipe or two that you like and enjoy cooking!


    I had a little problem with the thought that there's no difference between making something the night before and making it the night you eat it, but yeah. I guess so.

    That's a good point about the leftovers. If you can just keep zapping for several days, it does save time in the long run -- maybe that's what she really meant. The fact that the recipes are low on ingredients and fairly simple is definitely the book's strong suit. My husband said, "Be sure to mention few ingredients and easy recipes." Done! :)

  4. I think it's a little odd that you put all of the seafood at the bottom of the quiche and don't try to distribute throughout the quiche. You are a better woman than I am if you can live through a kitchen renovation!

  5. Kathy,

    I thought that was a little odd, too, but it works.

    As to the kitchen . . . fortunately, we're just refacing. I don't think I could handle the concept of ripping everything out and putting in new cabinets and appliances. This is bad enough.

    It's making a huge difference, I must say. Our cabinet doors wouldn't hold a coat of paint and they were just revolting because it was impossible to scrub the dirt off without taking off the paint. This way we get to keep the solid wood cabinets in place but we get things prettied up, so it's worth the nuisance.

  6. The seafood quiche sounds yummy. I wouldn't be impressed though by a cookbook without any illustrations as that's one of the things I really love. It's always nice to see the recipe prepared.

    ps-I sure hope your kitty is doing better. It's not nice when our furbabies get sick.

  7. Dar,

    Me, too. Actually seeing how the dish looks makes a big difference to me. I love a really visual experience when it comes to cookbooks.

    Kitty is doing better, thanks! Her eye still is totally black, but she's compensating very nicely -- she has her balance back and she's got more energy. Each day seems to be a tiny baby step forward. Hopefully, the eye will eventually improve, but we're fine with a one-eyed cat if it doesn't. She seems happy. :)

  8. Hmm...I share your thoughts about the title versus the contents. Although I haven't seen this in person at this point, from the title I was thinking along the same lines, but I suppose quick night meals are at least a step in the right direction.

    No, I haven't had the oven door issue (thank goodness!) but at least you got a great excuse to redo the kitchen. =0)

  9. That sounds yummy! This seems like a book that I could really use.

    Life by Candlelight

  10. I am not a busy mom, but this still sounds like a good cookbook for me! :)

  11. I can't remember the last time I cooked anything that took time and a recipe. I love to cook but not much reason to be doing it now.

    I love the cabinets! They're so clean and pretty!


  12. GMR,

    Easy-fix, low-ingredient meals are always a good thing to have on hand so I would certainly never tell anyone to avoid this cookbook. It just didn't turn out to be exactly what we were expecting.

    Trust me, you don't want oven doors falling, floors cracking (it looks like we're on a fault line because we bought the Armstrong floating tile and it turns out floating tile is a bad, bad idea) and gunky cabinet doors for the sake of someday getting a new kitchen. It's amazing ours wasn't declared a national disaster area.


    I can vouch for that quiche recipe. It's definitely a good one. I'm not sure, though -- hubby might have actually substituted fresh imitation crab meat for the canned stuff.

    Little critters take up a lot of time, don't they? I hope you like it, if you get a copy!


    It's probably even better if you're not a mother. I can imagine cooking a few of the recipes at the beginning of the week would cover you nicely.


    Me, either. But, I've got a fellow who likes to cook (it's called "cheating"). If only he could figure out the concept of "clean as you go", I'd feel touched by a fairy godmother's wand.

    Thank you! "Clean" is the key word. Our cabinet doors were so gross. But, since we couldn't scrub them, we just had to live with that yuckiness till now. Paying off the house means now we finally have the money to work on home improvements, a little at a time. Wahoo for that!

  13. I like the idea of meals you can make beforehand! That's kind of the meals I need!

    Kitchen is coming along nicely! Love the look!

    Well-Read Reviews

  14. Oh, Allison!

    Funny you should show up at this moment! I was just watching your baby's first steps. She is a doll!!! I tried to comment but I don't think it went through. Yeah, this would be a good time for make-ahead meals, when you've got a little sprite getting ready to take off!

    Thank you! I might actually start using the kitchen, again, if it ends up as attractive as I think it's going to. :)

  15. Looks like a cookbook that would be right up my alley! Easy and make ahead, a great combo, especially going into the busy holiday time.

  16. Holdenj,

    Good thinking! Definitely a good thing, making ahead, during the busy-busy time of the year.

  17. I love your new cabinets. I made grilled cheese sandwhiches for dinner last night which is about how I cook most of the time. I like to bake. :)

  18. I don't quite get the make ahead bit of that book either but the recipe sounds good. It must be the pre made pie crust. Most of those "time saving" techniques really don't save that much time. OTOH, I don't have to cook for a family every night. Or at all. PB&H anyone?

    Glad Miss Spooky is getting better! at least adapting more.

  19. Lucky you to have a husband that cook! Mine does usually once a week, so that's something.

    This book looks great. I might try that recipe!

  20. Brittanie,

    Thank you! I'm really enjoying the new look. I like to meditate upon the joy of that side of the kitchen. The other side is still ugly as dirt.

    Grilled cheese sounds excellent. Baking is about all I like doing and I don't even bother with that. I'm hoping the update will help me get back into the kitchen.


    Somewhere around here, we actually do have a book that's designed for preparation of number of casseroles and dishes that you could freeze and then thaw as needed. I was kind of hoping for more of the same -- maybe with a little additional variety. I'm just happy with a little bit of easy cooking, though.

    PB&J works for me. The kid dislikes it, though. Darn.

    Miss Spooky impresses me, honestly. I think it's amazing how quickly she regained her balance. She even leaves that yucky eye open, now, like it's no big deal. I do hope it'll eventually drain and become normal, but if not . . . she'll be okay!


    I am definitely lucky in that regard. If only I could train him to clean as he goes, life would be darn near perfect. :)

    Let me know what you think, if you do try the recipe. Hubby's away on business and I forgot to ask, but I think he substituted fresh fake crab meat for the canned. It sure was good, whatever he did.

  21. Oh I LOVE those beadboard cabinets!! I want I want I want!

    Hmmm, the title of this book immediately caught my attention. I don't even think I've been grocery shopping in over a month. I've been living a completely pathetic existance without even ice cream in the freezer! What do I eat for dinner? Hmm...

    Anyway, I had friends in college who would cook up a storm during the weekend and reheat during the week. I should do this but...well..I'm lazy on the weekends. And illustrations? A MUST in a cookbook.

    So, maybe not for me. But I do love your kitchen!! Reminds me of my old house (sob) but we had yellow walls.

  22. Trish,

    Thanks, I love my new cabinets, too. :) Actually -- my new "doors", I should say. We're keeping the cabinets because they're solid wood and actual from-a-tree wood can't be beat.

    My husband and I (pre-marriage, although we did marry while we were still students) used to cook together on the weekends in one of the dorm kitchens (we were in adjoining dorms) and then hack away at whatever . . . I remember turkey pizza made from the leftovers his mother sent with us after Thanksgiving.

    Yep, I don't like a cookbook without pictures, myself. We'll probably figure out which recipes we like and then pass the book on. I only keep the pretty ones.

    Yellow walls? Yikes! I take it you miss your old house?

  23. I wanted pictures too!

    While I thought the premise was good, I have so many of my own good recipes that I know I won't use many from this particular book. But, I think it would be a good book for a cook who is looking for some good recipes and ideas.

  24. Holly,

    I think the reason we all want pictures is that it not only helps us decide what to cook (based on what looks good) but to visualize the end result. Make sense? So, yeah . . . not sure it's one I'll use a lot, but we're going to try a few more recipes that interest us and anything terrific will go into the recipe box (after we're done fixing up the kitchen!).

    I agree, there are plenty of good recipes and ideas. Just not a keeper because of the lack of photos.

  25. LOL--a nice sunny yellow. Not blaring bright yellow. :)

    More than you want to know, but I haven't been able to blog hop in a week and I'm feeling particularly chatty: Right before we got married we looked for houses and couldn't find anything couldn't find anything (in a small town where not many houses went up for sale--we were living 2 hours away in Lubbock going to school). The week of our wedding, I was in Dallas getting ready and Scott called me to say he bought a house. Awesome! I had never seen it. When I finally did see it, I sat on the fireplace bricks and cried my eyes out. It was wretched. :) We gutted the ENTIRE house and re-did it to our liking, and I loved it. Too bad we only lasted for 7 months in the town. We've been renting for the past 2 years in Dallas, so I don't really feel like our house is ours. Hopefully soon, though...

    Anyway, thanks for letting me hijack your comments. :)

  26. Trish,

    I think I could handle sunny yellow. It's that 1970's harvest gold that I hate. We have a harvest gold sink and tub in the master bathroom. We're going to replace the sink, but we're stuck with the tub. Fortunately, our tile in the bathroom is mostly white with little bits of gold. We painted the walls a chocolate brown and it looks pretty terrific, now.

    I can understand how you must have felt about that house your husband bought because my husband went ahead and bumped up his offer on this house beyond what I said I considered the ceiling. I didn't like the house then and I don't care for it, now. After 18 years, we've finally got the money to make some improvements, but it's still just not a great house and I'm afraid we're going to end up moving on and having a house payment, again. Bummer.

    You didn't hijack my comments, silly! I love it when you leave chatty replies. :)

  27. I pretty much avoid all cookbooks that don't photos for at least 50% of the recipes. Sure that makes for a more expensive cookbook, but I really need to see what the final result is going to look like. This quiche sounds yummy, but why not go ahead and eat it the same night you prepare it?? Then nuke the leftovers for breakfast or lunch the following day(s). I can see how this cookbook wasn't what your husband expected. I, too, would've thought it would have the sort of recipes you could makeup ahead of time and throw in the oven and serve (fresh) rather than microwaved. I'll let you know if I try the recipe. Might be good with some sliced fresh (I do not like canned mushrooms! Blech.) mushrooms.

  28. Les,

    Me, too -- I want to see pictures of prepared dishes and I don't mind paying more, although I do like some cookbooks that are heavy on text (but still have plenty of photos) -- like Jamie in Italy and the Greek cookbook I just mentioned earlier in the week. David is crazy about the new Greek book, btw. I agree about eating the night you prepare. That struck me as weird. How does it save time to prepare something and then zap it the next day? What are you eating the night you fix it? I don't get that. Also, she does go a little heavy on the canned items. After I posted that recipe, I remembered that David substituted fresh imitation crab for the canned and I know he went through the book and said if he made this or this or that he'd use fresh ingredients. So, not a David favorite!!!

  29. I took a peek at that Greek cookbook you mentioned the other day and found a yummy salad that I plan to try. Just need to remember to write it down some time this week.

    As far as fresh ingredients, I use canned crab meat for my crab cakes since it's pretty much impossible to find fresh crab here in Nebraska. They've always tasted wonderful and I think I'd prefer them over "fresh imitation crab." Somehow, "fresh" and "imitation" don't seem to sound quite right. ;)

  30. Les,

    That's funny. I like canned mushrooms but canned crab meat does not thrill me. LOL You'll have to tell me what you think of the salad. I'm a slap-dash cook so there won't be anything delightful from the Greek cookbook happening in this household for a week.

    "Fresh imitation" does sound weird, but I think it's just a kind of fish that tastes similar to crab. We all love that stuff. Kiddo snacks on it.


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