Easy Make Ahead Meals for Summer Holidays

Planning ahead for your holiday weekend?  Check out these menu suggestions that you can make ahead or require very little hands on time to pull together.  Either way they will let you enjoy your holiday weekend with family or guests without being stuck in the kitchen!

Whether you are expecting a crowd at the cottage or are spending some summer leisure time at home you can make many of these dishes well ahead of time and freeze or hold.  Others take only a few ingredients and come together literally in minutes.


Spring Herbed Quiche

You can make this ahead and it will keep for 2-3 days tightly sealed without any loss of texture or flavour.  Reheat gently, covered loosely with foil, for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Quiche also freezes well so you could make one  (or some) well ahead of time and reheat gently from frozen.

Spring Herbed Quiche

Alternatively, to  assemble quickly you can use store bought deep dish pie crust and shredded cheese.  If you chop up the cooked ham and herbs you want ahead of time it will only take a few minutes to blend it all together.  Cook time is 45 minutes but you don’t need to be in the kitchen!


Easy Pulled Pork 

You can make this ahead in your slow cooker or pressure cooker.  Mix in a commercial BBQ sauce, reheat and serve on a bun.  The pulled pork also freezes well. You can reheat it in the slow cooker or just keep it warm in the slow cooker so if your crowd is coming and going at different times everyone can serve themselves.

Easy Pulled Pork

Curried Chicken Salad with Pickled Ginger

This salad is substantial enough to be a main dish. You can use a rotisserie chicken and packaged greens to make this simple to throw together at the last minute.  You might want to make the dressing and steep the ginger a day or 2 ahead to make it really quick at the last minute. Prep your ingredients and assemble just before serving.

Curried Chicken Salad with Pickled Ginger

Seafood Pasta Salad

This salad feeds a crowd so can serve it as a main dish or use it as a side dish for a couple of different meals.  Make the pasta salad ahead.  Defrost and add the seafood to the pasta salad just before you first serve it. It will keep 1-2 days in the fridge after you add the seafood.

Seafood Pasta Salad


Beach Bread

Nothing can be easier than this delicious Beach Bread. Buy store bought flat bread, shredded cheese, commercial Blue Cheese dressing and fresh tomatoes.  You can throw it together in a couple of minutes, broil for about 3 minutes and you have a tasty appetizer!

Beach Bread

Lemon Dill Shrimp Appetizer

These shrimp marinated in lemon and dill are perfect to make ahead. Cooked, peeled shrimp  marinate for about 8 hours so you can get your work out of the way early! If you don’t want to fuss with making them into skewers just serve them ion a platter with picks.

Lemon Dill Shrimp Appetizers


Ribs are perfect for making ahead and coating in your favourite sauce.  I often freeze cooked, sauced ribs and all you have to do is defrost and reheat on the BBQ or in the oven. You can cook the ribs in the pressure cooker, slow cooker or oven- your choice.

Take your pick of Bar-B-Barn Copy Cat Ribs, Tequila Ribs or Award Winning Cinnamon Whiskey Ribs.

Trio of BBQ Back Ribs

Strip Loin Steak Marinade  or Marinated Steak Flavour Bomb can both steep in their marinade for a couple of hours or a couple of days.  Then they cook up within minutes on the grill.

Marinated Flank and Strip Loin SteaksMuffin Tin Mashed Potatoes or Loaded Baked Potatoes

Both these recipes can be made ahead and hold well refrigerated for a couple of days.  Reheat gently uncovered so they don’t steam and get soggy.  I have frozen both as well.  Reheat from frozen uncovered.

Muffin Tin Mashed Potatoes and Loaded Baked Potatoes

Grilled Romaine Salad only takes a couple of minutes rinse to and halve the romaine heads.  A few minutes for the lettuce and tomatoes on the grill, a drizzle of dressing and you have a great BBQ side!  I love this salad with Blue Cheese dressing (which you can also use on the Beach Bread above) but a Caesar, garlic type dressing would be awesome too!  I crisp Prosciutto in the microwave for about 3 minutes- makes a tasty topping that is way easier than bacon bits.

Grilled RomaineFreezer Cole Slaw is a perfect make ahead salad.  Classic Cole Slaw– you can buy cabbage precut or cut your own ahead of time. Cabbage ingredients can be combined (without dressing) and held in a sealed bag for about 2 days with no loss of flavour or texture.  Mix the dressing and toss with the salad about 30 minutes before serving.

Classic Cole SlawDessert

Tequila Lime Squares  freeze and defrost well. Just be sure to use a bit of cream of tartar in the whipped topping or top with fresh cream from the nozzled can just before serving.

Tequila Lime Squares

This make ahead  Chocolate Salami will surprise you at A) how easy it is to make with chocolate bars and a microwave and B) how flavourful it is.  Unassuming in looks – people rave about it when they try it. It will easily keep for a week, sealed in the fridge but it probably won’t last that long. PS…the secret to the richness in the chocolate is coffee… the two flavours complement each other magnificently.  This one is very easy to make gluten free using gluten free cookies in the mix.

Chocolate Salami

If you organize ahead of time you can now enjoy  your hammock a lot longer and still serve up delicious meals!


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