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Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

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Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Summer rosé sangria

    • anya_sf on October 12, 2017

      I used an inexpensive dry rose from Provence; I don't think it's necessary to spend too much when making sangria. I made it a day ahead. I wasn't sure why ice is added when made ahead (it just melts), but I added it. The sangria was refreshing and not too sweet. Great on a warm day.

  • Jalapeño margaritas

    • anya_sf on November 02, 2017

      I made a smaller batch and used 1/2 small jalapeno. Infused the tequila for 24 hrs. The resulting drink was way too spicy for me. Maybe I got an extra spicy jalapeno? Made with regular tequila, I think this would be a great margarita recipe. My husband liked his drink OK, but I could not drink mine, as it burned my esophagus.

  • Parmesan kale chips

    • anya_sf on October 30, 2017

      Quick to prepare. Crispy and salty, with some bitterness from the kale. Strangely addictive. Good with drinks.

    • Breadcrumbs on July 20, 2015

      p. 28 - I picked up some beautiful Cavolo Nero at the farmer’s market and needed a quick and easy recipe to make use of it. This recipe fit the bill and complimented the Italian inspired menu I’d planned. We especially liked the use of Parmesan in this version of kale chips. I left the leaves whole, which made for a nice presentation. Photo here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1019558?commentId=9648409#9648409

  • Roasted red pepper hummus

    • anya_sf on September 11, 2017

      I made 1/2 recipe as part of the mezze platter, and 3 people nearly finished it (for dinner). Made 1 day ahead; the flavor mellowed over time. The red pepper isn't strong, and isn't spicy, despite the sriracha, but is a nice variation. It was good with cucumbers, carrots, and toasted pita triangles.

  • Greek mezze platter with thyme roasted red peppers

    • anya_sf on September 11, 2017

      I made 1/2 platter, which served 3 people for dinner. Omitted the tzatziki but added Greek marinated eggplant and some sliced carrots and cucumbers. I marinated the roasted peppers overnight. The peppers were quite good. The "platter" (well, mine were served in separate, individual dishes) is a great do-ahead entertaining idea, which can be expanded upon or varied, as desired.

  • Marinated herbed feta

    • anya_sf on September 11, 2017

      Marinated the feta overnight. My olives were pitted, but I can't imagine that matters. Served as part of a mezze platter. The cheese was fantastic. I think the quality and type of feta is important here; I specifically bought Greek feta, as that's what the recipe calls for. The cheese is rich and strongly flavored, so it's nice alongside complementary dishes, such as roasted red peppers, pita chips, etc., to balance out the flavors.

  • Caesar salad with blue cheese and bacon

    • Breadcrumbs on January 01, 2015

      P. 43 – Ina’s dressing is delicious with a wonderful tang due to the 1/2cup of lemon juice. I just wasn’t sold on the Roquefort with a Caesar…not sure we need to mess with a good thing. For the very first time, Ina and I will have to agree to disagree!! Love that the dressing will “last for days” in the refrigerator. It does make quite a bit so it’s particularly handy to have on hand over the holidays. A hearty salad is just a few moments away if unexpected guests arrive. Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1000517?commentId=9363146#9363146

  • Spanish tapas peppers

    • anya_sf on September 04, 2017

      I made 1/2 recipe, which was enough for 4 people. I prepped the peppers a few hours ahead. I used fresh bread crumbs from regular sandwich bread, not a baguette, but it worked fine. I feared the peppers would be too salty, but the seasoning was just right. Very good.

  • Wild mushroom and farro soup

    • kayanelson on November 15, 2014

      A nice hearty soup. It's good but not spectacular. But I would make it again.

    • Laraaline on January 03, 2015

      I made this with 1/2 the creme fraiche that was called for and it was still delicious! I would like to make with homemade beef broth next time.

  • Cauliflower and celery root soup

    • MelissaM0223 on February 03, 2016

      Delicious! I did half celery root / half turnip, and added a little bit more cream than suggested.

    • swegener on December 30, 2014

      Really good, and simple. Though celery root might as well be made of gold for how expensive it is around here.

  • Garlic toasts

    • anya_sf on September 09, 2017

      The instructions seem off. I used 1/2 baguette, sliced 1/4" thick, and got 18 toasts. I used the toaster oven (didn't want to heat up the house). They were browned and crisp after 9 minutes. Had I followed the instructions to bake for 15-20 minutes, they would have burned. So the toast thickness and/or baking time seems off. But really, as long as you watch the toasts carefully and take them out when golden, this recipe will turn out fine. They are a nice accompaniment to the tomatoes and burrata, or other salads or soups.

  • Tomatoes and burrata

    • anya_sf on September 09, 2017

      I made this family style. Used 2" diameter Early Girl tomatoes cut into quarters (per the photo), not halves. (I've not seen that size heirloom tomatoes.) Really, as long as you use the best peak-season tomatoes, it doesn't matter exactly what type or size they are. The "recipe" (really just a general method) calls for both Kosher salt and fleur de sel sprinkled on top. That seemed unnecessary, so I just used fleur de sel. Simple and delicious. Good with the garlic toasts, but also fine without, or with fresh bread.

  • Crunchy iceberg salad with creamy blue cheese

    • anya_sf on October 09, 2017

      Half the dressing was enough for us. It was easy to mix with a whisk - food processor not necessary. The dressing was yummy, even made with lite mayo and lowfat yogurt. I let people add their own toppings, since not everyone liked all of them. Personally, I liked lettuce, celery, dressing, and blue cheese. I would have preferred chives to green onions. The radishes were OK, but not my favorite. Tomatoes would be good.

  • Ham and leek empanadas

    • anya_sf on September 14, 2017

      I scaled down the recipe to 1 box puff pastry, or 8 empanadas, which served 4 for dinner. I used Trader Joe's puff pastry sheets, which are 10x12", so I rolled them out into 12" squares. I had to stretch the pastry to fit the filling, and they looked pretty ugly before baking, but they puffed up beautifully and only leaked a tiny bit. I froze the empanadas for a few days before baking, then baked straight from frozen; they only needed a couple of extra minutes in the oven. My family thought they were very good.

    • MVitek on January 28, 2015

      Used Oscar's Smokehouse pork loin.

  • Summer paella salad

    • anya_sf on October 12, 2017

      I made 1/2 recipe, one day ahead. I used canned low-salt chicken broth, so I reduced the salt a bit. My kielbasa was just Hillshire Farm, so I browned the slices to add some flavor. Omitted the mussels. The paella was very flavorful, and I did not need to adjust the seasoning. The rice was a bit mushy, but not too bad. It was better at room temperature than cold from the fridge. Two of us ate it all for dinner. Very tasty.

  • Herbed pork tenderloins with apple chutney

    • gastronom on March 05, 2015

      Very good. Recommend you make her apple chutney, too--good combo

  • Apple chutney

    • gastronom on March 05, 2015

      Excellent. Crowd enjoyed it with her pork tenderloin.

  • Grilled New York strip steaks

    • anya_sf on June 25, 2017

      My steaks must have been smaller because 3 steaks served 3-4 people, not 6, so choose your steaks accordingly. Although I asked the butcher for 1.5" thick, only 1 steak was that thick, another was 1.25", the third closer to 1". I have a gas grill, so grilled them on high for 2 minutes each side, then on low for 8 minutes. The temperature of the thickest steak was 125 degrees. After resting 10 minutes, they were perfectly medium-rare. I think Ina's temperatures are a bit off. My husband and I thought these were fantastic. Our son found the spices to be too spicy. You could probably reduce the chile powder and red pepper flakes a bit and it would still be great. You could also use thinner steaks, but in that case I'd use less spice mixture, as the flavor is quite strong, and of course adjust the grilling time.

  • Rosemary rack of lamb with easy tzatziki

    • anya_sf on September 04, 2017

      I marinated the lamb about 7 hours. Used the mini-processor to make the herb paste, but I think you could mix it by hand. Roasted the lamb 25 minutes, but at that point it was already medium, not medium-rare. Still, it was tender and juicy. Nice flavor, everyone loved it. Good with the tzatziki. In my house, it served 4, not 6.

  • Easy tzatziki

    • anya_sf on September 04, 2017

      I made 1/2 recipe to accompany rosemary rack of lamb, but there was still a lot left over. I made it several hours ahead, which I think is important to let the flavors meld. I used Trader Joe's 2% Greek yogurt and light sour cream, and it worked fine. It was quite good.

  • Roasted vegetable lasagna

    • anya_sf on July 06, 2017

      I prepped the lasagna 6 hrs ahead. Doubled the zucchini, as 3/4 lb didn't seem like enough - glad I did. "Only" used 1/2 cup olive oil for vegetables. Soaked the noodles in the lasagna pan using very hot tap water + instant hot water (didn't take water temperature), then lay on waxed paper for assembly. Mixed ricotta filling by hand - no need to dirty mixer. Lasagna looked watery before baking, but definitely wasn't watery when done. My pan was extra big, so I didn't place it on a sheet pan, as there was no danger of overflow. It was super cheesy and delicious. In our house, this only served 6 people.

  • Provençal fish stew with Sriracha rouille

    • anya_sf on August 30, 2017

      I made 1/2 recipe, which served 3 generously, even without the mussels, which I omitted. I used cod and swordfish, cutting them into smaller 1" chunks to make them easier to eat with a spoon. I used chicken stock instead of seafood stock, which I didn't have time to make. The flavor was just so-so, perhaps due to my changes. I thought it was too tomatoey/citrusy. It was better with the addition of the rouille. I needed to add a bit more liquid for all the fish. This recipe is similar to Ina's Seafood Stew (in her Paris book), but I liked that one much better (it doesn't call for orange juice).

  • Sriracha rouille

    • anya_sf on August 30, 2017

      I made 1/2 recipe, using a whole egg yolk, and couldn't get it to emulsify, even though I drizzled the oil very slowly. I tried salvaging with another yolk, but that still didn't work. If I ever try this again, I'll use a blender. I think maybe the volume was too small for the food processor, but I really did not want the whole amount of mayo for 2 people. Anyway, the flavor was good, and it really perked up the fish stew - we ended up drizzling it on top.

  • Spinach and ricotta noodle pudding

    • MVitek on December 05, 2014

      Tasty. Used a thicker, homestyle noodle.

  • Roasted baby bok choy

    • Delys77 on February 11, 2016

      Interesting approach. Avoids having to stir fry when you are working on several other dishes.

  • Crusty baked potatoes with whipped feta

    • anya_sf on June 24, 2017

      It isn't necessary to mix the herbs in a mini processor - just as easy to do it by hand. I baked 3 potatoes but made all the herb mixture because I thought a lot would fall off. A surprising amount actually stuck, so the outsides were quite salty, although it was easy to brush some off. But with the bland potato, the salt level was OK. The herbs complemented the whipped feta quite well. I also served sauteed spinach, which really went well with the potato. The only thing about the herbs is that they do get a bit overly brown with the long baking time, although at least they did not burn.

  • Whipped feta

    • anya_sf on June 25, 2017

      I used Buglarian feta,which was probably a mistake, as it was fairly dry and salty. The mixture ended up grainy. I did not like the flavor on its own. However, it was pretty good with the herbed baked potatoes, and also with spinach that I served on the side. Definitely follow Ina's instruction to use Greek feta on this.

  • Gingered basmati rice

    • anya_sf on August 06, 2017

      I used tarragon instead of thyme because I had some on hand. I couldn't really taste the tarragon, though, when the rice was done. I only had 2 c chicken stock (canned), so used water for the rest. I used Texmati brown rice (expensive!), as Ina suggests. The rice was just cooked after 45 min, so I let the pot sit, covered, for an extra 10 min to allow the liquid to fully absorb. The texture was perfect after that. It was fairly flavorful for rice. The ginger flavor wasn't super strong. It made a nice accompaniment for Eli's Asian Salmon.

  • Baked farro and butternut squash

    • ksg518 on December 19, 2016

      This is very good and, as Ina notes, substantial enough to be a main course. I used some kabocha squash I already had in addition to some butternut squash. If I had one tweak it would be to add the squash about 10 minutes after the farro has been in the oven so it stays a little firmer.

  • Baked polenta with mushrooms and blue cheese

    • anya_sf on November 11, 2017

      I roasted the mushrooms (4 xlarge) one day ahead. This was very easy and quick to assemble. We had it as a meatless main dish, but it's so rich and creamy that it's probably better as a side. I think you could substitute whole milk for the half-and-half, and I'd do that next time. With all the gorgonzola on top, it did not need extra salt. My family really liked the mushrooms, so I'd use all 6 next time, or 12 baby bellas.

  • Stuffed zucchini

    • anya_sf on August 20, 2017

      My zucchini were larger, so there were only 3 for 1.5 lbs. It still only took 10 min to simmer them. I wasn't sure how much stuffing to make, but made the full amount and it fit (mounded high). I only sprinkled the zucchini with 1 tsp salt, not 1.5 tsp, and also only added 1 tsp salt to the stuffing, not 1.5 tsp To me, that was just the right amount; the full amount would have been too salty. I used less Gruyere - maybe 1 cup. I think you could use however much you'd like, since it's just sprinkled on top. Overall, these were delicious. They are a bit futzy, but nothing is difficult, and they can be assembled ahead (although I just boiled the zucchini ahead, but stuffed them and baked them at the last minute).

  • Parmesan chive smashed potatoes

    • ksg518 on October 02, 2017

      This is a good basic smashed potato recipe although the directions are somewhat lacking. First you boil the potatoes and then place them on a sheet pan to smash them and bake them further. While Ina notes it will be messy, this doesn't take into account that it's very easy to break them into little pieces, especially when they stick to the masher. Luckily a family member knew the trick of spraying the potato masher with cooking oil so the potatoes don't stick and to just gently smash them. Even then you're not going to be able to turn them over half way through the baking time as the recipe requires. But they were still very good.

  • Leek and artichoke bread pudding

    • MVitek on December 05, 2014

      Good. Doubled the artichokes.

  • Twiced-baked sweet potatoes

    • anya_sf on October 12, 2017

      I used 2 large sweet potatoes (1 lb each) and less butter (4 Tbsp total). Prepped them a few hours ahead. The sweet potatoes were rich and delicious. I think you could substitute any flavorful melting cheese for the taleggio.

  • Skillet brownies

    • anya_sf on July 06, 2017

      My skillets were smaller, 3.5" across top. Made 1/2 recipe, fit 3 skillets perfectly. Used TJ's chips. Melted chocolate and butter in microwave (to me, that's faster and easier), stirring every 20-30 sec. Assembled 2 hrs ahead. Ina doesn't say whether to grease the pans, but I did, and I think that was helpful. I wasn't sure how long to bake the smaller skillets - after 17 min, they seemed like the right doneness (edges dry but center still soft). They were fabulous with vanilla ice cream! IMO, these were the perfect individual serving size - think the larger skillets would have been too much of a good thing. The only con to this recipe is that there's more crusty brownie edge relative to gooey center (I prefer the center). However, the big pro is being able to eat them warm straight from the oven. Anyway, the ice cream softens up the edges, so honestly, I really have no complaints. And they are so cute.

  • Coffee granita

    • anya_sf on July 02, 2017

      Very easy. For coffee lovers. Maybe I didn't rake the mixture often enough, because I had to stab the larger crystals to break them up to get the right texture, which took some extra time. It took about 3 hours total to freeze. We ate it 2 hours later. Also had some the next day and it was still great, so I think it can be made well ahead. The whipped cream is not optional, as it balances the very intense coffee flavor, like the best frappucino. Really delicious.

  • Fresh apple spice cake

    • gastronom on March 05, 2015

      Nice moist cake; unless you love orange flavor, I would skip the orange rind. Found it distracted from the apple flavor.

  • Make-ahead whipped cream

    • anya_sf on July 02, 2017

      Very quick and easy to make. I served it 6 hours later and it was fine (recipe says up to 4 hours). Even the next day, I just quickly rewhipped it a bit and it was fine.

  • Fresh blueberry pie

    • alex9179 on May 26, 2016

      My youngest son requested it for his birthday, although the texture of the blueberries weren't to his liking. The rest of the family loved it and the cassis addition is wonderful.

  • Tres leches cake with berries

    • alex9179 on May 26, 2016

      Rich and delicious. A great dessert to bring to a pot-luck gathering and small pieces will satisfy most.

  • Lemon ginger molasses cake

    • anya_sf on October 22, 2017

      The cake was quick and easy to make. I thought I took it out of the oven at the right time (after 38 min), but the center sank upon cooling. However, the cake was perfectly done. It was good, with a strong spice flavor. The whipped cream on top covered up the sunken center. I served my whipped cream on the side on individual slices. Definitely don't skip the whipped cream! We all enjoyed this cake.

  • Ginger shortbread

    • anya_sf on June 24, 2017

      I just made 1/3 recipe because I don't usually care for crystallized ginger, but I'm on a quest to make every BC recipe, so I had to try these. My cookies were smaller (2") and I guess I rolled them a bit thinner because I got 18 cookies. I baked them for 18 minutes and some were a bit more brown than desired, but still OK. I should have rotated the pan halfway through. They were actually pretty good - just not my favorite type of shortbread. If you like crystallized ginger, I recommend trying them.

  • English chocolate crisps

    • pistachiopeas on March 23, 2015

      Recipe online: http://barefootcontessa.com/recipes.aspx?RecipeID=1045&S=0

  • Breakfast ricotta with berries and maple syrup

    • anya_sf on October 09, 2017

      I used Ina's homemade ricotta (made a day ahead), which is very rich, so there was leftover ricotta (there are 3 of us). In a tiny attempt to reduce calories, I only used 1 Tbsp butter to saute the almonds, which was enough. The combination of flavors was fantastic. I served it with toasted saffron challah. Definitely a treat.

  • Homemade ricotta

    • anya_sf on October 09, 2017

      Ina fails to mention that a full rolling boil may cause the milk to boil over. I thought my Le Creuset pot was large enough, but next time I will use a taller pot. At least 1 cup milk boiled over, so I wasn't sure if I should adjust the vinegar, but I used the full 3 Tbsp, and it was fine. Distilled white vinegar worked fine. The ricotta was fresh and delicious tasting, although quite rich. I would like a lower fat version. I chilled it overnight and we had some for breakfast.

    • alex9179 on May 26, 2016

      My go-to ricotta recipe because my only other option is the average Frigo-type. I use it for traditional Italian-American lasagna and it takes it over the top.

  • Overnight Belgian waffles

    • anya_sf on September 29, 2017

      I have made these twice now, and they are fabulous. The first time, I followed the recipe exactly and didn't try to make them healthier, except I used lowfat milk. I also used instant yeast instead of active. The waffles were perfect and cooked up nice and crispy, although they did soften as they cooled (but are easily crisped up again in the oven or toaster). They are light and airy, despite all the butter, with a mild sourdough aroma. I served them as recommended, with toasted coconut, bananas, and maple syrup. What a treat! The second time, I used half all-purpose flour, half white whole wheat flour, lowfat milk, and "only" 6 Tbsp butter. They also turned out great. I freeze the leftovers and reheat them in the toaster oven, which works well.

  • Make-ahead salt and pepper biscuits

    • anya_sf on May 27, 2017

      I didn't make them ahead; they are very quick to make. Followed mixing directions, but butter was no longer visible in the dough. Dough was quite dry, just barely came together. Nevertheless, it worked, and biscuits were tender. Got 11 biscuits (my cutter was closer to 2"). Took 15 min to bake. Tasty - salt and pepper on top is nice. Still, I wanted extra butter on mine. They'd be great with eggs.

  • Toasted pita triangles

    • anya_sf on September 11, 2017

      Quick and easy to make. Watch the baking time; mine needed a couple of extra minutes. The recipe (really just a side note) doesn't say how to check for doneness, but I thought they should be crunchy on top, but still slightly soft on the bottom (i.e., not completely hard). Great accompaniment to hummus. It may be faster to brush the pitas with olive oil before cutting them into triangles; of course I didn't think of that until after I cut them.

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  • ISBN 10 0307464881
  • ISBN 13 9780307464880
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Oct 28 2014
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 272
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Random House USA Inc
  • Imprint Clarkson Potter

Publishers Text

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.



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