Inevitably, the holidays are a busy and often hectic time. While many occasions center around food, there are times when your days are busy with Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, cookie baking, or preparing the big holiday meal that you need quick and easy options for meal time. Or maybe you’re simply trying to savor the season and be able to relax a bit!
Could you order in a pizza for those busy nights? Sure you can! But the expense is great, nutritional value minimal, and while takeout may be a tasty treat occasionally, I think we all admit that it gets old very quickly!
You can put your money to better use and keep your family happy and healthy by preparing a few dishes now to eat later.
image by uberculture
Recently, we have been blessed to acquire not one, but two extra freezers at our home. One was a necessity to hold our meat (we get whole chickens as well as a portion of a grass-fed cow quarterly) and the other was just an added bonus. Now that I have all of this freezer space, I am thinking of the possibilities of what I can make and freeze in advance for busy seasons in our life. Here are some of the ways I stock the freezer on an ongoing basis.
How To Stock The Freezer
- Batch Cooking – This is my favorite way to stock the freezer, but it does require a lot of advanced planning, shopping, and prepping. Typically, I will pick out 3-5 dishes and double or triple the recipe. Once I choose the recipes, I make my ingredient list and shop for what I need (this takes extra advance planning if you use a co-op!). Then I make a list of things that I can prep in advance of cooking day, such as chopping vegetables, shredding cheese, browning hamburger, defrosting meats, etc. I post this list on my refrigerator on the days leading up to cooking day and tackle tasks as time allow. Then, cooking day is just a matter of assembling dishes, placing in freeze-safe containers with proper labeling, and loading up the freezer. I find this goes exceptionally fast if you have a helper or two (be sure to make a list of tasks to be completed and dole them out accordingly).
- Double the Recipe – Making chicken noodle soup for dinner tomorrow night? Go ahead and double that recipe and throw half in the freezer for a chilly night in December. It will defrost easily, heat up on the stove top or crock pot, and leave you plenty of time to get to the Christmas pageant in time to get a good seat!
- Shop Sales – Throughout September and October, I am conscious of sales for items that I can freeze now and grab later for a quick snack or to throw together a simple meal. Abundant produce, nuts, meats, and even milk are just a few of the items that I have stocked my freezer with this fall.
Favorite Freezer Recipes
Many recipes can easily be frozen, although beware that some ingredients just don’t freeze well (eggs for instance). Here are some of my favorite real food freezer meals to enjoy during the holidays, or any time of year.
- Cheesy Beef and Rice from Heavenly Homemakers
- Harvest Enchilada from My Healthy Beginning
- Jambalaya from Modern Alternative Mama
- White Chicken Chili from Natural Fertility and Wellness
- Italian Cream Cheese Chicken Casserole from Natural Fertility and Wellness
- Coconut Flour Banana Muffins from Heavenly Homemakers
- Carrot Cake Waffles from Modern Alternative Mama
- Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread from Riddlelove
- Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from Heavenly Homemakers
- Grain-Free Chocolate Red Velvet Cake with Buttermilk Frosting from Riddlelove
- Butter Cookies from Modern Alternative Mama
How do you keep food on the table during busy seasons of life?