It’s only mid-October, but certainly not to early for holiday food prep! From pie to mashed potatoes, make room in your freezer and stash away your holiday feast!
Consider your pre-prepped food an early Christmas present to yourself. Yes, you can buy pre-made things, but it makes an extra special holiday to offer time tested family recipes, or new ones sure to be passed down. I want my kids remembering mom’s famous pumpkin pie, not Costco’s. Not to say it’s bad to take some help from stores, especially when guests are staying with you, but in my house from scratch holiday meals are a must for the main event.
This fall is bigger than ever for me. I just opened an Etsy shop, and have five days of craft shows. I’ll be totally transparent in admitting I don’t know how much inventory I should make, so I’m working non-stop. A lot of my time is spent on design ideas, and trying different techniques. Throw my daughter’s birthday, and holiday company in the mix, and it’s a crazy time. Stocking the freezer has always been a big help for me.
A couple of years ago, I started a little series called “Make Ahead Holidays.” I wanted to put them together in one blog so you can easily access the posts.
One of my favorite make ahead helpers is frozen cookie dough. This recipe is for chocolate chip cookie dough, but you can do this with any recipe. I like freezing them in logs, as it makes for tidy storage. Homemade frozen cookie dough also makes a great gift!
Another handy item to freeze, is the all time-consuming pie. When fruit goes on sale, I make pies and freeze. You don’t pre-bake them, and the secret to a non-soggy crust is to freeze the crust first. Here are my instructions. You can also do this with pumpkin pie, which I’m a little famous for, along with my baked beans, using my home canned pork and beans. It’s good to be known for something, I suppose.
Besides sweets, prepping sides is also smart. Here is a post on freezing potatoes, and towards the end, there are instructions for mashed. Prepare mashed potatoes, scoop into a vacuum sealer bag, flatten, seal and freeze. To re-heat, thaw, and plop in a big pot of boiling water. This doesn’t cook the potatoes further, it heats them up. When heated through, turn off water and allow bag of potatoes to stay in the water until ready to serve, then simply cut open the bag, put potatoes in a serving bowl, and throw bag away. There you go – – homemade, piping hot mashed potatoes with no dishes. Yea!!! (Sorry, I get so excited about these things.)
Speaking of potatoes, go ahead and make my sweet potato casserole ahead of time too. This article also has other ideas for how to employ all those on-sale sweet potatoes.
No American feast would be complete without rolls. Why do we need rolls when we have a big bowl of stuffing? I’m not sure, but it’s expected, so I offer it. You simply cannot compare homemade bread to store bought, so treat your guests to these rolls, which you make ahead of time and store in the fridge, or freeze. Is’t that fun?
Now to my personal favorite – – cranberry sauce. You can make this the year before even, when cranberries go on sale after the holidays. (That’s obviously a tip for next year.) Canning cranberry sauce is easy, and a good time. It’s also a great starter canning project. Even if you don’t have time to can it this year, make this cranberry sauce for the holidays. Whip it up a few days before, and store in the fridge.
Try your own family recipes with this do-ahead tricks, or try mine. What ever you do, prepare and have more time to enjoy your company without last minute fuss.