Thursday, November 28, 2013

Freezer cooking for the Holidays

Last year was the first time I intentionally made something ahead of time for all our holiday parties. I had gotten a great deal on frozen hash browns and cheese so I made up 8 pans of cheesy potatoes. I brought them to various parties as my "dish to pass" and also served them for Christmas dinner at our house which helped with dinner prep immensely! This year I made three different recipes including a brand new one. I had to make the cheesy potatoes again who doesn't love those? I also made a baked bean dish with lots of different hearty beans, and an apples and cheddar dish that the recipe promised could be served along side the meal or as a dessert. I figure I have all my bases covered depending on what I am asked to bring to a gathering. The main goal being simplifying and enjoying the holidays more!
If you are new to the idea of freezer cooking and wondering "why"....
1) Being able to pull something out of the freezer for a weeknight dinner when you have been going all day means you don't have to pick up a pizza or eat cereal for dinner!
2) Doing all the prep work at once means fewer messes to clean up. If you have to chop two onions whats the difference in chopping six?
3) Simplifying the Holidays by spending time with family and not in the kitchen is *priceless*.
Above: Cheesy Hashbrown mixture into gallon bags and flattened for easy storage in the freezer. Cheese topping is separate since you will pour your potatoes into your dish and top with the cheese. If you like you can put the topping into a larger bag with the mix. I personally keep all the "toppings" for various dishes in one spot in my freezer.
These Baked Beans are delicious and a hearty addition to any Holiday meal. I have never added the soy crumbles the recipe calls for, they don't seem to be missing it either!  Put theses into freezer bags or containers for the serving size you like. 
Apples and Cheddar recipe comes from my most used cookbook, "Fix Freeze Feast" So go buy it you won't regret it!
Again this recipe had a topping so I put that all into a separate bag. Can be used for a side dish or as a dessert.

I admit I was skeptical about these Butterhorn Rolls Crystal from "Money Saving Mom" (if you aren't already a subscriber to her emails please do!) promised you could freeze these uncooked then thaw and bake them later.... Let me tell you it worked! They taste ah.mazing! You can pull out just what you need instead of making an entire tube of crescent rolls which don't taste near as great as these! So again no slaving in the kitchen kneading bread the day of the party you can have fresh baked rolls with 2 mins of active prep time!

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