I absolutely love make-ahead dishes, especially at holiday time! Recipes that can be made ahead of time and either stored in the freezer or the refrigerator until the day of serving are a life-saver for me.
This is true especially at Christmas-time. We were so very blessed to have our whole family home for Christmas ... twenty-six precious family members around our table(s)! It is essential that I can prepare some dishes ahead of time so that I am not completely worn out on our special day. I want to be able to be fully present that day with those I love the most.
Here are a few of the dishes that I was able to make ahead of time.
Clockwise from the top left photo:
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes (first two photos) ...
For years I've been making a Mashed Potato dish that can be made up to two or three days in advance, stored in the refrigerator, and then baked the day of serving. I've used this recipe - click here. But this year I combined several recipes and ideas I found online, and made Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes that could be made even a week or more ahead of time, and then stored in the freezer until the day of baking it to serve. It was amazing! Click here for the original recipe where I got the idea, and check back here on my blog in a week or so to see my recipe that I came up with (combining several recipes/ideas). I really loved being able to do all the work of this dish a week and a half before our Christmas! And by the way, it makes a great mashed potato dish - we loved it.
Cinnamon Rolls ...
It's a tradition to have this cinnamon roll recipe on Christmas morning. You can see the recipe by clicking here. These cinnamon rolls freeze well after baking, and just need to be thawed and warmed up in the microwave (or oven) before serving.
Christmas Goodies ...
Pictured are three of the goodies that I made this year:
Date Pinwheels, a favorite recipe passed down from my mother. They take a bit of time, as there are several steps to making them. I'm so grateful they freeze well, as I was able to make them in early December. Click here for recipe.
Wheaty Thumbprints, another favorite, also takes a bit of time. They freeze very well, too, which is great. Click here for the recipe.
Brownies topped with white frosting and Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips, a new idea that I used this year. It's so very easy, using a favorite brownie mix (I actually use two boxes of brownie mix - fudge and chocolate chunk together, baked in a jelly roll pan, then spread with a can of white frosting, and topped with the peppermint chips). It works well to make ahead of time, cut into squares, and freeze. (These baking chips were a bit hard to find, but I eventually found them at Target.)
Bacon Green Bean Casserole ...
You can imagine how happy I was to find this recipe a few weeks before Christmas! A fresh green bean dish that can be prepared up to two days in advance of serving. I prepared the dish two days before our Christmas, and then stored it in the refrigerator. On our Family Christmas Day, I allowed the dish to come to room temperature, reheated the sauce and poured it over the baking dish of green beans/bacon, and cooked as directed. It is easy, can be made ahead of time, and very delicious! You can find the recipe by clicking here.
Creamy Meatballs ...
This is a favorite recipe of mine, that I have made for two Christmases in a row now. I like serving it alongside the main dish of ham that we always have for Christmas. And, of course, the only way that I can serve it for Christmas, is that I can make it ahead of time, and freeze it! I made it several weeks ahead of time, froze it, and then heated it up in a slow cooker, which left the oven for other dishes. I usually add another can or two of cream of mushroom soup, and also more evaporated milk before heating up in the slow cooker when I have frozen it. You can read the details by clicking here.
I must also add that so much of the fun of the holiday meals is also involving the whole family with getting our feast on the table. Our daughters help with bringing sides, and our kitchen is filled with family as we prepare, and also as we clean up ... daughters, sons, sons-in-law, a son's girlfriend this year, and also grandkids. I absolutely love it all!
It's been fun for me to share these make-ahead recipes with you! And now, for another year of cooking, baking, and trying out new ideas "In the Kitchen"!