A “Prepare Ahead” Meal For Family Gatherings

Cabbage salad recipeWith graduation season upon us and the first day of summer fast approaching, below is a simple, easy to make and prepare ahead meal for large gatherings, family reunions and special celebrations. Enjoy!

Recipes include: cabbage crunch salad, lasagne (meat and vegetarian), and chocolate sundae pie.

Cabbage Crunch Salad

Ingredients for salad:
1 medium sized head of cabbage
4 green onions
4 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 cup sliced almonds, slightly toasted
1 package chicken flavor Top Ramen noodles
1-2 cups broccoli florets – optional
1/2 cup or so shredded carrots – optional

Ingredients for dressing:
6 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 chicken flavor packet – optional
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine salad ingredients. Make dressing ahead of time to allow it to marinate. Pour dressing over salad and mix thoroughly about 30 min. before serving. Toss again before serving.

Note: To avoid a drenched salad, use about 3/4 of the dressing first (you can always add more).


One pound of ground beef
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 6 ounce can Tomato Paste
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp. Italian seasoning or the equivalent of oregano and basil
Salt and Pepper
8 ounces of lasagna noodles ( I cook 10 noodles)
3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 1/2 ounce container of good quality cottage cheese (not low-fat)
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Lasagna recipe

Brown beef and garlic in olive oil and butter. Add the liquid from the whole tomatoes and then the finely chopped tomatoes and then the paste and spices.  Season to taste with salt and pepper (I also add a shake of crushed red pepper flakes which makes it a little on the spicy side). Simmer on low for 20 min. or so.

Cook noodles in boiling water according to directions (I tend to cook slightly on the “al-dente” side). Drain noodles and rinse with cold water to cool. Layer in large glass baking dish 3 noodles lengthwise first, then spread 1/3 of the cottage cheese on top of noodles and then the Swiss cheese and then the sauce. Repeat this process two more times with the second layer going width wise and the third and last layer length wise again. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top and bake in 375 degree F oven for approx. 30 min. or until bubbly.

Spinach Lasagne (for vegetarians)

1 pound of fresh spinach, washed, drained, and coarsely chopped
1 pound ricotta cheese
2-3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Chopped Parsley, to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
9 lasagna noodles, cooked as directed and drained
1 quart of your favorite or good quality or homemade tomato sauce

Combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, pepper, garlic powder and parsley. Butter a 13×9″ glass baking dish. Layer 3 noodles, ricotta/spinach mixture, mozzarella cheese, thin smooth layer of sauce. Repeat two more times (ending with sauce on top). Cover tightly with foil and bake 40 min. at 350 degrees F. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 min.

Chocolate Sundae Pie

18 Oreos, crushed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 quart of ice cream

Desserts with oreos

Mix melted butter in finely crushed Oreos, press lightly in pie pan and put in freezer for 15-20 min. Remove from freezer and fill crust with one quart of your choice ice cream. We use either all Haagen-Dazs Vanilla or half vanilla and half coffee ice cream (we have a lot of coffee ice cream lovers).

Hint: Let the ice cream sit out to soften so that it is easier to spread evenly in crust.

Ingredients for the chocolate sauce:
Oreo ice cream pie ingredients1 square (1 ounce) of unsweetened chocolate (we used Baker’s)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Put all ingredients into saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Boil 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Cool at 30 minutes or so before spreading over ice cream. Serve with whipped cream and chopped Redskin Spanish peanuts.

Need more family meal ideas? See also, “A Family Meal for a Full House“.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *