Make Ahead Holiday Freezer Meal

I have hosted our family Christmas for the last 15 years. My guests have ranged anywhere from 10 to 30 people.  One thing I learned over the years is that I absolutely hate being stuck in the kitchen cooking and cleaning instead of visiting with my family. I wanted to enjoy the day just as much as my guests did.  Once I began a freezer meal lifestyle I thought ‘Why can I not incorporate this into the holidays?’  One Thanksgiving I decided to make a risky move. I prepared double what I needed and froze it for the Christmas season. When Christmas arrived all the prep was done!!!  All I had to do was thaw and either warm up or put together dishes that already had 90% of the work  done. Do you want to know the best part? Because I had stored it in disposable containers, I had virtually NO CLEAN UP!!! It was the first Christmas in years that I actually had time to enjoy visiting with my houseguests outside of the kitchen. I also found the meals to be more flavourful. I think it was the fact the the spices and ingredients had time to marinate together creating a wonderful flavour. My hope is that these 3 freezer meal holiday make ahead recipes will be a huge blessing to you during a time that can be very stressful for many. I want to get you out of the kitchen an enjoy quality time with your loved ones this holiday season.

GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

10 lb. bag Yukon Gold Potatoes

1/4 Cup Sour cream

1/4 Cup Butter

1/4 Cup Cream cheese

1 tsp herb De Provence paste

Milk (as little as needed as you start mashing the potatoes to make them smooth and cream)

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Peel and dice potatoes.

Add potatoes to boiling water.

Boil for approx. 30 min until they are cooked through and a fork pierces them with no effort.

Once the potatoes are cooked drain the water from the potatoes.

Add all of the remaining ingredients except the milk.

Begin to mash.

Add as little milk as needed. A little at a time as you mash until you reach the desired consistence.

When all the lumps are mashed out whip with electric beater for some added smoothness.

To freeze ahead: Once cooled, put the mashed potatoes in a disposable 9×13 foil pain.

Seal it well with plastic wrap and foil to prevent air from getting inside and causing freezer burn. Freezes well for a month.

To serve: Thaw potatoes in the fridge overnight. Remove any plastic from the container. Bake 350 degrees for approx. 40 min or until warmed through.  Transfer to a serving dish and serve.

            

SAVOURY STUFFING

Ingredients:

2 pkgs maple flavoured breakfast sausage links

2 loaves bread. I like to mix multigrain and whole wheat for different textures

1/2 cup butter

3/4 Cup diced onion

3 stalks celery

1/2 tsp fresh parsley

1/2 tsp sage

1/2 tsp marjoram

1/2 tsp Thyme

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 Cups chicken broth (2 bouillon cubes with 2 Cups hot water)

Preparation Directions:

Cook up the 2 pkgs of sausages. Once cooled cut into ½ inch pieces.

In the same frying pan melt the butter and sauté the onion and celery. Once they are translucent add all the remaining spices and stir.

Mix the sausages into this butter mixture.

Once everything is cooled transfer the sausage mixture into a large freezer bag. Make sure you scrape all the butter and onions from the pan. Label the freezer bag, seal getting as much air out as possible and freeze.

Take each loaf of bread and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Put into an airtight freezer bag and freeze.

Cooking Directions:

Thaw sausage mixture and bread cubes.

In a large bowl mix the bread cubes and sausages together.  Make sure to scrape all of the butter and onions from the bag.

Make 2 cups chicken broth by gradually pouring and stirring into the bread and sausage mixture. Keep adding until all the bread is moistened.

Stuff your bird and cook according to Turkey cooking Directions.

TIP: Put any extra stuffing that won’t fit in your bird  in a baking dish to cook on the side. 350 degrees 30 min to warm. Cook covered to avoid drying out.  Uncover for the last 10 min of cooking if you find it too soggy.

GRAVY

Place the following ingredients in a medium size freezer bag or airtight container.

Store until the day you plan to make.

3 Heaping Tbsp Flour

2 heaping Tbsp Chicken Bisto

¼ tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp marjoram

1/8 tsp sage

1/8 tsp thyme

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

1 Tbsp dried Chives

Cooking Directions:

Place the dry ingredients into a shaker or blender cup

Add 2 Cups milk

Shake vigorously until everything is mixed well.

In a medium size saucepan add 2 cups broth from the turkey pan or made with chicken

bouillon (2 cubes/2 cups water)

Heat the broth until it starts to boil. Reduce to medium heat.

Slowly add the milk mixture whisking as you add.

Keep whisking until the gravy thickens.

Once it thickens it is ready to serve.

For a freezer meal butternut squash side dish CLICK HERE 

For a freezer meal pumpkin Pie filling recipe CLICK HERE

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