Freezing Ahead For A Peaceful Holiday Season
Here in the west, the mornings and evenings are cooling down and some leaves are even starting to turn red. Autumn really is on it’s way, and with it the holiday season is ushered in. This might bring some folks to a state of hyperventilation because of all the business the season can bring. Decorating, family gatherings, school parties, work pot lucks, not to mention buying or making gifts for family, friends, teachers, co-workers. And just how can we eat real food when everywhere we turn seems to be all sugar cookies and refined flour casseroles? Besides, who has time to put in the effort it takes to prepare nourishing foods our bodies need most of all this time of year to ward off colds and the flu? My friends, all it takes is a little bit of good old-fashioned planning ahead.
Every household has a different rhythm which means planning ahead is as varied as the people doing it. Some enjoy taking a whole day focusing on cooking ahead and filling their freezer with the day’s work. Others will cook a double batch of freezable meals and serve one for dinner that night and tuck one away in the freezer for another busier day. It might seem early to prepare for the busy holiday season, but if we freeze one main dish a week until December, we will have two week’s worth of meals in the freezer, ready to use whenever we need them. Having a variety of different meals (breakfasts, lunches, and dinners) brings flexibility for any time of the day. Knowing there is a healthy meal to pull out and bake during a long, busy day brings such peace to the home, not to mention the money it saves instead of caving in to the temptation of the drive-thru. Here are fourteen healthy, simple dishes ideas that freeze well:
- Chicken Enchiladas When frozen, stick a batch of these, covered, into the unheated oven. Now set it to 350 degrees and bake for one hour.
- Simple Soaked-Bean Chili Freeze a batch of this in a bake-safe dish, stick in a cool oven, then turn it on to 350 degrees and bake, covered, for 45 minutes to one hour.
- Slow Cooker Chuck Roast Supreme. A frozen recipe of this can be dumped into the crock pot in the morning. Cook on low all day and then either wrap it up in tortillas, enjoy it over a bed of lettuce, or eat it in a bowl wish some cheese sprinkled over it for a hearty, easy dinner.
- Nourishing Potato Cheddar Soup. Stocking the freezer with soups is a great way to ensure your family gets some good bone stock into their diets and helps keep everyone healthy.
- Creamy Tomato Bisque. Now is a great time of year to use up the last of the garden’s fresh tomatoes and freeze some of this delicious soup to enjoy on a crisp autumn night.
- Beef & Root Stew. Thaw this (and any soup or stew) a day or two ahead of time in the fridge and heat it up in a pot when you’re ready for a bowl of comfort.
- Stuffed Shells. A gluten-free dish that can be thawed the same way as frozen enchiladas (mentioned above).
- Green Curry. Ensure your family is getting some immune-boosting garlic and ginger with this yummy dish.
Here’s to some simple planning ahead for a peaceful, enjoyable holiday season!
What are some dishes you like to stock your freezer with for the busy holiday season?
**This post has been entered into Simple Lives Thursday #113, Fill Those Jars Friday, Monday Mania, Homestead Barn Hop #79, and Pennywise Platter.**
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