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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.

  • Cranberry martinis

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      I bottle of vodka typically makes 12 drinks, not 6, so these are huge and strong. I made 1/4 recipe = 4 smaller drinks. Infused the vodka 3 days.The drinks were quite good. Definitely use tart cranberry juice for the right balance of sweetness.

    • Kimsuepa on December 30, 2018

      Packs a punch so be careful if you or your guests are light weights.

  • 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

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      I made the full recipe, but half the dressing and cheese, to serve 3 for dinner. My romaine hearts were large, so I cut them in half. Made the dressing and washed the lettuce a day ahead. I accidentally roasted the bacon and toasts at 400 degrees, so they were done sooner, but they turned out fine. The salad was quite good, but pretty salty. I can't imagine using all the cheese, and even with half the dressing, we still had some left.

    • 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

  • Caesar salad dressing

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      Very tasty. Makes a lot.

  • Zucchini basil soup

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      I didn't make it ahead, but did have leftovers, which still tasted great. I used an immersion blender because it's easier than a food mill. The texture was good - fairly thick, but not heavy tasting. I omitted the red pepper flakes because my son doesn't like spicy. Very tasty!

    • mharriman on May 09, 2018

      Luscious! I don’t own a food mill, so I just pureed the soup in batches and added two percent Fage brand plain yogurt and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at the end. I didn’t miss the recommended texture. The drizzle of olive oil and shaved cheese are a nice garnish. Delicious! My husband remarked: This is a keeper! Served with a fresh baguette/ butter. From start to finish (including chopping zucchini, onion, garlic) only took an hour to make, and I’ll bet it tastes even better the second day, as most soups do.

  • 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.

  • Warm fig and arugula salad

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      I used 9 oz arugula, but halved the other ingredients and made one large salad, which served 4. I only needed 1/4 of the dressing. I was out of sherry vinegar, so I substituted malt vinegar. The salad was really delicious. We liked having more greens.

  • Wild mushroom and farro soup

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      I used 1 oz dried porcinis (pricey!) and Trader Joe's "10-minute" farro. I didn't bother removing the cremini mushroom stems. Simmered the soup with a parmesan rind. Added 1 tsp salt initially since the broth was salted, and that was perfect - make sure to wait until the creme fraiche and Marsala are added before tasting for salt. The soup tasted great the day it was made and the next day.

    • 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.

    • southerncooker on December 09, 2018

      A perfect day for soup since we have almost 18 inches of snow here in the foothills of NC. I used dried shiitake mushrooms instead of morel or porcini since that's what I had. Also I used sour cream instead of creme fraiche. I thought I had Marsala wine but didn't. I looked up online a substitute and it said to add 2 teaspoons brandy to each 1/2 cup of dry white wine to sub so I did that. This soup was delicious.

    • kayanelson on November 15, 2014

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

  • 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.

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      I didn't make it ahead. I used an immersion blender to puree the soup; I didn't mind that it wasn't perfectly smooth. Served with croutons only. The soup was light, but creamy. I thought it was delicious, but my son didn't care for it.

  • Homemade croutons

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      I didn't have country bread, so I used sandwich bread. Still, the croutons were really yummy and easy to make too.

  • 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.

  • Bruschettas with sautéed chard

    • anya_sf on August 12, 2018

      Ina did not say to cut the chard leaves, but I did cut the large ones in half. The bruschettas were fine after sitting for 15-20 minutes before serving (I had worried that they'd get soggy or messy). Don't skip the fleur de sel at the end, as they need it. There is so much veg here that I actually served these as a side dish. They'd make a hearty starter. They were really delicious!

  • 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.

  • French green bean salad with warm goat cheese

    • anya_sf on February 07, 2019

      I made 3 salads using 8 oz cheese. The phyllo sheets were double the stated size, so I only needed 3. I adjusted the proportions to 12 oz green beans and 5 oz mesclun with 1/3 of the dressing, which was plenty. Assembled the phyllo a few hours ahead. Unfortunately, 2 of the pastries leaked, but they still turned out OK. The salad was nice, fairly rich - I wouldn't use more cheese.

  • Quinoa tabbouleh with feta

    • anya_sf on February 07, 2019

      I didn't make it ahead, just let it sit for 30 minutes before serving. The salad was flavorful, seasoning good. Quinoa was good in place of the usual bulgur. Next time I'd dice the feta smaller and maybe use less. I used Meyer lemon juice and Persian cucumber. You could add peppers, artichokes, chickpeas, olives, etc., to make it more interesting. I'd use less salt if adding salty ingredients like olives.

  • Winter slaw

    • anya_sf on February 07, 2019

      I washed and shredded the greens one day ahead, then mixed just before serving. Half the dressing was enough. I only used half the cranberries - could've used a bit more, but wouldn't use the full cup. 4 oz Parmesan cheese was enough. Good flavors. I liked it, but my son did not like the chewy texture of the kale, so I probably won't make it again.

  • 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.

  • Tomato mozzarella pan bagnat

    • anya_sf on July 08, 2018

      I used "half-baked" (brown & serve) ciabatta rolls, which worked perfectly (no need to bake before toasting). I skipped the anchovies and am glad I did, since the sandwiches were plenty salty. They were somewhat messy to assemble and leaked a lot of vinaigrette while being pressed (which was OK - there was A LOT). But the sandwiches were not too difficult to eat after toasting, and they tasted delicious.

  • Zucchini and goat cheese tart

    • anya_sf on February 07, 2019

      I made the crust (using cider vinegar) a day ahead, rolled it out and refrigerated it. Mixed the goat cheese a day ahead. Doubled the lemon zest. Sliced the zucchini with a mandoline (also a day ahead), which was easy. I still wish the whole thing could be assembled ahead. There was a lot of extra zucchini - maybe I didn't overlap the slices enough? The tart tasted absolutely fantastic.

    • mrsmadam on March 11, 2018

      This is really good. The thyme and the lemon zest make it. Be sure to use similarly sized zucchini. The first time I made it I placed the slices about halfway on top of each other. I think next time I will reduce it to one third and be more diligent about drying the slices well.

    • ksg518 on June 19, 2018

      This a great light tart. We made it as directed except we substituted dill for the thyme; if you like dill it is a great choice here. I think this would be hard to make without a mandolin since you need the zucchini sliced very thin and uniformly. I also think this would be fun to try rolled out as a square and cut into small squares as an hors d'oeuvre.

  • Roast chicken with bread and arugula salad

    • anya_sf on February 07, 2019

      I salted and refrigerated the chicken (3.5 lbs) 24 hours ahead. Half the vinaigrette was enough, although I used the full 2 Tbsp currants. Roasted the chicken in a 12" skillet. It took an extra 15 minutes to cook through, despite weighing less. The bread was a nice idea, but ended up way too burnt on the bottom. I even tried it a second time, but nope - it doesn't work. The chicken was super moist and tasty, although the skin didn't look beautiful since the chicken ends up cooking breast-side down. Use the Zuni Cafe recipe instead.

  • Arugula salad

    • anya_sf on February 07, 2019

      Salad is good with the chicken, although half the dressing was enough. I used the full amount of currants though. At Zuni, they also add pine nuts, which are a nice addition.

  • Herbed pork tenderloins with apple chutney

    • gastronom on March 05, 2015

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

  • Moroccan lamb tagine

    • anya_sf on April 01, 2018

      I used 4 lamb shanks but otherwise made the full recipe. The shanks weren't frenched, but still worked fine. This was easy and very delicious. The veggies were extremely soft ("melting") after 3 hours, but we didn't mind. I loved the convenience of leaving the tagine in the oven for 3 hours. I'm sure this would be good made ahead and reheated.

  • Steamed couscous

    • anya_sf on April 02, 2018

      Perfect side for lamb tagine. Also fairly flavorful on its own.

  • Apple chutney

    • gastronom on March 05, 2015

      Excellent. Crowd enjoyed it with her pork tenderloin.

  • Summer filet of beef with Béarnaise mayonnaise

    • mharriman on November 05, 2018

      I chose this recipe specifically because it was a make-ahead. The tenderloin was super easy to prep for roasting but I wish I had followed my butcher’s advice and used a remote thermometer reader. I wasn’t careful in reading the time and roasted for 90 minutes rather than 60-75 and the internal temp was at 150 at 90 minutes. I was a bit panicked but all was well. For some reason the roast was still very, very tender, juicy and red throughout...just at medium. The next day I sliced it at 1/4 inch intervals and set it out for 30 minutes before guests arrived. I nixed warming it up in the oven which was my original plan. It was good at room temp. The Bernaise was easy to make and has an interesting flavor. Half the guests made slider sandwiches with the Bernaise mayo while others ate it without the roll. A great addition to my brunch for a baptism reception. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for any future group gatherings.

  • 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.

  • Pastitsio

    • Cookie24 on April 29, 2018

      This dish is very tasty, however a bit time consuming and requires three pots plus the baking dish. Used all ground lamb since that's what I had and cut back slightly on the cinnamon to 3/4 tablespoon. Also, added chopped parsley to meat sauce for color. The béchamel calls for 1 tablespoon salt, which I cut by half since the parmesan cheese is added later, in the end, the sauce was just on the edge of too salty; glad I cut back on the salt. Used 8oz of pasta shells instead of 12oz. Rather than dirty another pan, I heated the milk and cream in the microwave. Family agreed that it was good and everyone had seconds. Served with a simple green salad. I can see how this would be a great make ahead dish.

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      I assembled it a day ahead. Somehow this only made 6 servings in our house, although it was very rich. Next time I would drain the fat after browning the meat. I would also try making the bechamel with just milk. Sauteed zucchini or eggplant would make nice additions. Delicious!

  • 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.

  • Herb-roasted fish

    • mharriman on May 09, 2018

      A good, satisfying weeknight main dish. This was easy to put together and bake. It wasn’t my husband’s or my favorite fish recipe we’d ever had, but it was quick and easy, as promised. The cod I bought was two 5 ounce fillets. I baked them for the same amount of time as the recipe directed, and they were fine (not dry or over cooked). I didn’t prepare this ahead of time, so can’t comment on how that works out. I served with steamed asparagus and a salad. A healthy meal.

  • 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.

  • Asparagus and prosciutto bundles

    • anya_sf on March 31, 2018

      I didn't prep ahead. I used 1.5 lbs of asparagus, relatively thin, so still got 6 bundles of 8 spears. It was delicious, but rich - would reduce the oil - and also quite salty - would just add a tiny sprinkling of fleur de sel next time.

  • 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.

  • Peas and pancetta

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      Quick and easy - no need to make ahead. I used 2 oz pancetta (why does Ina call for 2.5 oz??). Only needed 1/2 tsp salt.

  • 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.

  • Summer vegetable couscous

    • anya_sf on February 07, 2019

      I made it one day ahead. It was good both freshly made (I tasted it) and the next day. It's better at room temperature or slightly warm. Really delicious.

  • Carrot and cauliflower purée

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      I used 1 small cauliflower, 1.25 lb carrots, and 2 oz butter (seemed like enough), which served 4-5 people. I could not get the mixture through the food mill, so I gave up and used a masher. The vegetables were super soft, so that worked fine. I didn't need the full amount of salt. The puree had a sweet, buttery flavor, which I loved (but the kid not so much). The cauliflower did not stand out, but accented the carrots in a lovely way.

  • Roasted cauliflower snowflakes

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      I feared the cauliflower wouldn't cook evenly since the oil was just drizzled over, but it worked great. Loved it!

  • Baked farro and butternut squash

    • Cookie24 on December 27, 2017

      This is tasty and easy to make. The bacon is a must and I agree with another reviewer that perhaps adding the squash about 10 minutes after the farro has been in the oven will allow the squash to maintain a better texture. After baking uncovered there was still some liquid in the pot, but it was still very good with the additional moisture.

    • 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.

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      We ate this as a main course. I made it one day ahead up to the final baking step (uncovered). I used Trader Joe's "instant" farro and dried thyme. After the first 30 minutes, the broth wasn't all absorbed, but it absorbed overnight, so I added a bit more before roasting (initially started it on the stove) for about 25 minutes in the oven. I liked it a lot. The family mostly ate the bacon, so maybe it's better as a side dish.

  • 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

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      I used German butterball potatoes. This is a great method for just plain roasted potatoes even without the parmesan and chives. Delicious!

    • 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.

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      I assembled this one day ahead. Adjusted the ingredients: 8 oz sourdough bread with crusts on (did not toast, as the bread was already stale); 4 oz diced pancetta, sauteed; 2 Tbsp butter; 2 c half-and-half (not cream); 12 oz artichoke hearts; 5 c leeks; 1/2 tsp salt added to eggs. Mixed everything together instead of layering. Absolutely delicious!

    • stigard on November 23, 2018

      Great recipe - it would be 5 stars without the tarragon. I like tarragon but it competes too much with the artichoke flavor. I will omit it in the future. Next time I will cut the artichokes in smaller pieces as well.

  • 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.

  • Salty oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      I used large chocolate chips instead of chunks. I got 18 cookies from half the recipe. I chilled the dough before scooping and baking, realizing later that I was supposed to chill the balls of dough. The cookies still took about 12 minutes to bake to light brown. They were soft rather than crisp, even though they were thin. Maybe due to weather? Very tasty - don't skip the fleur de sel on top.

  • 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. It's a bit sweeter than I usually prefer.

  • Tri-berry crumbles

    • anya_sf on January 27, 2019

      I made 1/2 recipe with 6 oz blueberries, 6 oz raspberries, and 1.5 cups strawberries. In the crumble, I reduced the granulated sugar by 50%, which was enough for us. Ina's gratin dishes must be huge if the topping won't cover them entirely - I had plenty of topping. Don't skip the parchment because the crumbles are messy. I baked them a few hours ahead. Portions are generous.

  • Fresh blueberry pie

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      I used 24 oz blueberries and could have used 30 oz - 20 would make a very shallow pie. There was just enough filling. My berries were sweet, but overall the pie isn't that sweet, so it's perfect with ice cream. Lots of flour in the filling ensures clean slices, but possibly mutes the flavor - maybe decrease? The lemon wasn't noticeable - I'd add more zest next time. Despite these quibbles, we devoured it, and it's now my son's favorite. It's still great the next day.

    • 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.

  • Perfect pie crusts

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      I made the dough a day ahead and refrigerated it. It's very easy to work with, although I did have to add an extra tablespoon of water. The recipe makes enough for 9.5" deep pie crusts, so there was a lot left over from the blueberry pie recipe. The crust was very tender and flaky, even after a couple of days.

  • Decadent (gluten-free!) chocolate cake

    • anya_sf on February 17, 2018

      Disappointing. Perhaps my changes are to blame, but I'm not sure I'd risk making this again to find out. I made 1/2 recipe in a 6.5" springform pan, so my cake would have been a bit thinner. I used the same baking time, and maybe that was the problem, as the cake got a little dark on the edges. I also made the cake a day ahead and refrigerated it, although brought it to room temperature before serving. Since there's hardly any sugar, I used 60% bittersweet chocolate. Still, it turned out fairly bitter. It was also dry. It tasted OK served with vanilla ice cream. Half a recipe served 6 people, as it's quite rich. If you're looking for a flourless chocolate cake, I highly recommend Rose Levy Beranbaum's Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte instead.

  • Tres leches cake with berries

    • anya_sf on September 11, 2018

      This is the #1 most requested dessert by people at work. The cake is easy to make. Note that the milks really need to be absorbed overnight; 6 hours isn't quite enough. I spread stabilized whipped cream over the top and garnish with berries or serve them on the side. You can reduce the sugar a bit in the whipped cream and berries, if desired, although we did not think the cake was too sweet.

    • 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.

  • Vanilla semifreddo with raspberry sauce

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      When beating the yolk mixture over heat, it did not seem to double and stuck to the bowl a bit (maybe it was too hot?), but in the end, the semifreddo completely filled the pan and turned out fine. I didn't have the liqueur, so I doubled the vanilla extract. I made it a day ahead (you have to make it ahead) and we also enjoyed the leftovers over the next week. Very tasty with the raspberry sauce. Quite creamy and melts rapidly, so definitely serve it right away after plating, or keep the plated servings in the freezer.

  • Salted caramel nuts

    • anya_sf on September 25, 2018

      I made 1/4 recipe. Maybe I cooked the caramel too long before adding the nuts (although it looked right to me: medium amber), but it hardened before I could completely coat the nuts. At least the nuts all had some caramel on them. They definitely tasted good!, They remain slightly sticky to the touch, although not too messy.

  • 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.

    • mharriman on May 12, 2018

      I’m not thrilled with the results. I followed the baking instructions, set the temp at 350, and set the timer for the shortest amount of time suggested- 20 minutes. That was too hot and too long as more than half the cookies were over baked and too brown... and I wished I had checked at 12 minutes. My other shortbread recipes call for a cooler oven temp ( James Beard’s Theory and Practice calls for 300 degrees) or shorter bake time (Sally’s Cookie Addiction calls for 12-14 minutes). The crystallized ginger in this recipe adds a nice flavor (and a splurge at the grocery store) but the bake time and/or bake temperature definitely need tweaking on this recipe.

  • 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.

  • Maple vanilla cream of wheat

    • anya_sf on January 21, 2018

      I made half the recipe, which served 4. Even though my pot was large, the milk still boiled over the instant before it seemed ready. Ugh. I used 1% milk instead of whole (in addition to the half-and-half) and it was still plenty creamy. Next time i'd use just lowfat milk and water to make it healthier. It wasn't too sweet, and we couldn't really taste the maple in the porridge, but a drizzle of syrup on top really made it. We added sliced bananas. A sprinkle of cinnamon would be good too.

  • 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.

  • Mini Italian frittatas

    • anya_sf on January 22, 2018

      I sauteed the vegetables and grated the cheese the night before, then assembled the frittatas and added the egg mixture the next morning before baking. That worked well. The muffin cups get filled to the absolute brim, so it's important to grease the entire pan (I used cooking spray). I forgot the Parmesan on top, but they were plenty cheesy. They were super good. My son ate 3!

    • mharriman on November 05, 2018

      These are amazingly delicious! I agree with anya_sf that it’s important to grease the entire muffin pan including the top. I forgot to add the basil and ended up sticking some in each muffin with a fork mid bake. I made these one day ahead, cooled and refrigerated right in the pan, and reheated for 10 minutes the next day before a brunch party. They were all eaten up. Sooo good.

  • 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.

  • Blueberry bran muffins

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      I did not make the batter ahead, but froze the muffins and reheated them in the microwave, which worked well. The muffins were moist and tasty. They were the best blueberry bran muffins I've tried, although in general I prefer raisins in my bran muffins. I often substitute white whole wheat flour for all-purpose, but didn't do it here, and probably wouldn't for fear the muffins would turn out dry.

  • Raspberry baked French toast

    • anya_sf on March 02, 2019

      I made 1/2 recipe using leftover Broetchen (rolls), extra raspberries, a mixture of half-and-half and milk, and a bit less sugar. Refrigerated overnight. Started baking it covered with foil, then removed the foil at the end. Great!

    • mrsmadam on January 17, 2019

      This was a huge hit with my husband. Half a recipe was breakfast for two days.

  • Chocolate banana crumb cake

    • julesamomof2 on April 14, 2018

      Really delicious- not a crumb left. I've been baking a lot of simple treats like this to leave on the kitchen counter and this one is the favorite.

    • anya_sf on February 23, 2019

      I baked this the night before and it was great the next morning. In an effort to make it slightly healthier for breakfast, I used white whole wheat flour and substituted yogurt for sour cream. For the topping, I reduced the brown sugar to 1/2 c and the chocolate to 4 oz, which was plenty. Mixing the topping in the stand mixer worked well. This was still a very decadent breakfast. My husband kept asking me if I got this mixed up with dessert - and it definitely could be dessert.

  • 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 0770434495
  • ISBN 13 9780770434496
  • Published Oct 28 2014
  • Format eBook
  • Page Count 272
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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