Freezer Cooking: A Make Ahead Holiday Dinner

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When I was a child, I loved the big dinners that my mom was able to pull off for friends and family. My kids are no different. Over the years our family has had the opportunity to welcome large groups into our home for holiday dinners. With six children and four siblings, sometimes “just family” produces quite a crowd. Our kids love to cook and love to eat. But, it’s sometimes hard to let them help when I feel “under the gun.”

As I think back, I realize that the feasts that were the least stressful and the most enjoyable were those when I have prepared either all or part of the meal ahead of time. Not only is much of the work already accomplished, but I also find that I’m more able to visit and enjoy time with family and friends, one of the main reasons for gathering together in the first place.

The upcoming Easter holiday practically begs for a make ahead meal. After spending the morning at church, most people want to eat right away. Waiting — either in line at a restaurant or at home while the cooks bustle about — isn’t how we want to spend the day.

Try a make ahead meal!

Think through your holiday dinner plan. What can be prepped either in part or in whole and stowed in the fridge or freezer until the weekend? Casseroles, egg dishes, breads, and rolls, even cinnamon rolls can be made ahead of time and frozen for later use. Meats can be marinated and stashed in the freezer. You can even precook your turkey or brisket, wrap it well and freeze. There is no end of possibilities if you think it through. (And the kids will love to help, especially when you feel less stressed!)

You can do this with your favorite recipes or you can try our family’s favorite special dinner menu:

Old Fashioned Lemonade

Garlic Foccacia

Green Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette

Cheesy Potatoes

Grilled Tri-tip with Soy Ginger Marinade OR if you live where Brisket is a better deal and more easily attainable, try Peppery Brisket

Chocolate Cheesecake

Doing prep work ahead of time can make your special occasion meals come together in a snap!

Free PDF Download

If you’re interested in trying out our menu, I’ve put together a mini-ebook, free download, thingy, aptly titled, A Make Ahead Holiday Meal. It contains recipes, shopping list, and freezer directions as well as a holiday dinner timeline.

Check it out and see if maybe you’ll be inspired to cook your next special occasion meal ahead of time!

How do YOU make holiday meals easier?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. Oh I love this form! I’m thinking we’ll follow this plan and add in a steamed veggie such as asparagus. Yummy! I’ve never hosted Easter. This is great!

    I had printed out the Holiday timeline for breakfast. I’m serving Amy’s caramel cinnamon rolls with a fruit salad and an overnight egg casserole. The timeline, for me, includes a shopping list for the fruit salad with price match listings for wal-mart. Such a wonderful tool!!!

    Thanks for helping make my life easier. One form at a time lol 🙂

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Asparagus was originally on my list. I bake it in foil packets, but I wasn’t sure how “in advance” I could wrap them and wasn’t sure what the foil would do to it. You know how some things react? So, yes, good call.

      I’m preparing a brunch/tea menu for Mother’s Day. 😉

  2. Laura says

    Thanks for the free download. This sounds delicious! I’ll have to whip out these recipes the next time I host a family gathering.

  3. Good ideas! After reflecting on this after Christmas, I think the make-ahead policy is the way to go. (Now if I would just stick to it, instead of procrastinating!) 😉

    Around Christmas, I emailed Marybeth Whalen of Cheaper by the Half Dozen for her advice about making holiday cooking less stressful. I shared her advice here:

    Happy Easter!

  4. Everything sounds so delicious. Gonna have to try some of these. Thanks for the ebook.

    My big holiday meals always go better when I plan ahead and get some of the make ahead things out of the way.

    Thanks for sharing.

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