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A Fresh Approach to Eating

The family is over and the gifts are ready to be opened. But everybody is also getting very hungry so do you miss out on the fun and go to the kitchen and cook? Absolutely not! Because you have thought ahead of time to prepare your meal ahead of time, it can be cooked while the festivities are going on and will be ready when it’s time to eat! Check out my three Festive Holiday Brunch Menus and Recipes so you can prepare now and put them in the freezer until it’s time to get cooking!

Holiday Brunch Menu Idea

1st Make-Ahead Holiday Menu

Butternut Squash, Poblano Pepper & Coconut Chilaquiles

Orange and Cherry Fruit Salad

Coffee, Hot Tea or Hot Chocolate

Butternut Squash, Poblano Pepper & Coconut Chilaquiles

This recipe just feels warm and cozy! It is gluten free because it uses corn tortillas and arrowroot starch for the thickening. I made the sauce out of coconut milk which gives it a rich flavor to make the cheese sauce but feel free to use vegan cheese or no cheese to make this menu totally plant based!

4-6 servings

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces

1 poblano, stemmed, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can coconut milk

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup white cheddar cheese (use vegan cheese if desired to make vegan)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 cup kale or arugula

1 tablespoon Earth Balance margarine

2 teaspoon arrowroot starch

2 tablespoon of water

6 corn tortillas

Optional toppings


Sliced avocados & sliced grape tomatoes

Light sour cream or yogurt

Chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half and roast until just begins to get soft. Turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Allow to cool and peel and cut into bite-sized pieces. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute butternut squash and poblano until begins to soften  Take skillet off heat and cool. Add drained beans and greens. In a small bowl, whisk arrowroot starch into water.  In a medium sauce pan, melt Earth Balance and chili powder and cumin. Add coconut milk. Slowly whisk arrowroot slurry into the coconut milk and allow it to thicken. Take off heat and allow to cool. After cooled but still warm, stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and allow to melt. Cut corn tortillas into pieces that will fit into an 8 by 8 pan.  Grease an 8 by 8 baking pan and grease with Earth Balance. To layer the casserole, add a small amount of coconut cream sauce and then add 1/3 of the corn tortillas. Add 1/2 cup vegetable mixture and then add 1/3 of the coconut cream sauce. Add the next 1/3 of the corn tortillas and vegetable mixture. Finally top off the casserole with coconut cream sauce. You can allow the casserole at this point to sit in your refrigerator for a day and when its time to bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbly and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and baked an additional 5 minutes.


Orange and Cherry Fruit Salad

Makes 4 servings

2 oranges, sliced in horizontally into rounds

1/4 cup dried cherries

Toasted coconut or pecans

Slice the rounds in half and put in small bowls ahead of time. Mix with dried cherries and top with either coconut or pecans.


Make-ahead breakfast ideas

Open your holiday gifts while breakfast is cooking on it’s own! When you are done unwrapping, it’s time to eat!

2nd Make-Ahead Holiday Menu

Lightened-Up Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Holiday Fruit Compote

Apple Cider Punch

Here are the recipes:

Let’s Get Cookin’: Lightened-Up Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Holiday Fruit Compote

Apple Cider Punch

3rd Make-Ahead Holiday Menu

Cheese Breakfast Strata

Mini Sweet Potato Casseroles

Wild Blueberry Non-alcoholic Sangria

Here are the recipes:

New Year’s Brunch. Fix It & Forget It Recipe.

Mini Sweet Potato Casseroles

Go Wild This Holiday Season! Festive Wild Blueberry Sangria!

I love serving foods that my friends and family love and as a registered dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I want the festivities to be as healthy as they can while keeping on the flavor! I hope that these make ahead meal planning ideas will help you find extra time to celebrate with those that you love! If you have been checking out my healthy meal ideas, Thank you! If you are new to the blog, I hope that you get a chance to come back! I try to use seasonal ingredients when possible. Here are a few ways that I can help eating healthy!


Setting the Table for Good Health


Breakfast is served!




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