A Christmas Holiday Guide To Pre-preparing Christmas Food

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I considered using the title: Taking Advantage of the Quiet Before the Storm

Your company expects at least one thing – food.  Holiday company expects something more – lots of food.

This may leave the host family in a quandary.  Either you spend all your time cooking and preparing, which means it will be hard to find time to enjoy your company, or you go out and purchase store made meals and pay an exorbitant about of money to feed your guests.

There is, however, a better way – think ahead, plan ahead, cook ahead.

This post is a joint effort between myself and two stay at home moms – Loopie and Diane.  Loopie is the mother of four boys and one girl.  Diane has four daughters.  

To read our first post on the holidays, check out An Essential Guide to Surviving the Hectic Holidays.

How to Pre-prepare Meals

Do what you can as soon as you can.  There are some things you can do ahead of time for certain meals that really make life easier.  Even if you cannot eek out a day to plan some cooking, just double 2-3 recipes a week and put it in the deep freeze.

If I’m making chicken spaghetti, it’s not THAT much more trouble to make a double recipe and then freeze half of it for a rainy day. That’s really my preferred way to do things these days. (I always make two cakes, for example, never just one. One to serve, one for the freezer.)

We love pizza and probably eat it once a week.  Pizza making is so much easier if you one afternoon precook your sausage, pre-cut your veggies, grate your cheese and pre-mix your pizza sauce for a month of pizzas.  You can measure things out and put in zip-lock bags and place in the freezer.  I find that the crust is better if you do it fresh but if you use your bread maker on the dough cycle and everything else is already done, it makes the meal so easy and quick.

When freezing meals, it works best if you take 3 days to do the work.

Day #1: Plan your menu.

Try to choose 5 to 6 meals that you know will freeze well and then triple the recipe.  This will give you 15 to 18 evenings of suppers.  Make your grocery list, multiplying everything by three.  Then make your purchases that day.

Day #2: Do all the prep work for the meals.

Work on things like chopping onions, green peppers, and grating cheese.  Take time to boil or bake, then debone chicken.  Brown your hamburger meat and make necessary sauces.

Day #3: Cooking day

This is an assembly day where you put your recipes together and then place in freezer bags or containers.  It is invaluable to have a kitchen scale so you can fill your containers uniformly.

Tip: To make the job more fun, do your prep work and assembly work together with a friend.  If your schedules do not allow for you to work together, it’s still fun to share your meals.

Tip: Arrange with three friends to each make one recipe three times.  Exchange the meals so that you each get one of the three dishes.  This way you each have more variety.   As a bonus, you can type out instructions and also add ideas for side dishes.  Post the meals on the fridge door and it almost feels like you’re in a restaurant – just choose the meal and heat it up.

I try to cook some things for the three days of Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day) a few weeks before Christmas, and do all my baking for others then too.

Remember: It takes some serious planning because you need to know how much for everything, and need to know how many pans you’ve got going at once and how much you have in the oven at the same time, etc. But it is great once it’s done. A food processor helps.

Great Foods to Freeze

  • Pie crust – the pie crust that freezes best is the one with eggs.  Later, all you have to do is roll it out and put the pie stuff in.
  • Mashed potatoes freeze well, mashed sweet potatoes too.
  • Christmas rolls and cinnamon rolls.
  • Perogies – a perogie maker allows you to make two dozen progies at one time so get these ready beforehand and put them in the freezer.
  • Mexican food is another favorite, but remember, tortillas do not freeze well.  However, if you make them into chimichangas and then freeze, they do amazingly well.

Photo by Yabby.

What foods to you like to freeze?  Anyone have a recipe?  How soon do you start your holiday cooking?


  1. says

    Impeccable timing on this post!

    That stress thing is what takes so much of the fun out of the holidays, especially when the kids are small–you have to prepare for the holiday and take care of them. Now that our kids are teens, we handle that by dividing up responsibilities in advance, that way the burden of the day doesn’t fall on one or two of us.

    We bake several apple and pumkin pies just before Thanksgiving and have them ready when ever we need them, that way at least dessert is covered. The night before the holiday, we’ll set the dining room table, and make sure both the kitchen sink and dishwasher are cleared out and ready for use. As many of the entees as possible are cooked in advance or at least prepared up to the point of being oven ready. Finally, we’re over any hesitancy about asking guests to bring a hot side dish. No one ever refuses!

    We intentionally set out to make the day as stress free as possible so we can really enjoy it. I think we forget to do that in our efforts to make the day perfect. And what is it that JD Roth at GetRichSlowly always says?–”the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Amen.
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last blog ..Finding Work by Working for Free =-.

  2. Santinia says

    Our fast paced life….

    To the writer of this blog – just saying…. there is no such word as pre-prepare; only prepare! The word prepare is to do in advance/before; so you cannot add the prefix ‘pre’ – meaning ‘before’ you prepare. You might as well say before before!

    A little grammar for you….

    The following words are also not necessary: – Pre-book, Pre-owned (lazy speech for previously owned), Pre-let (what happened to Property To-let), Pre-existing Conditions (illness) and more…

    Misuse of the prefix in modern language

    I have noticed several misuses of pre when signwriters and copyeditors coin new words.

    Medical insurance companies ask if you have have any pre-existing conditions. Surely they are asking what conditions you currently have that could affect the insurance policy?

    Pre-exist is not in my dictionary. What is meant by pre-existing? Is it something that existed before but doesn’t exist now?

    When you are confronted by the pre-existing word, please ask the speaker if they meant existing.

    Back to the awful pre-order. Retail advertising implores me to “pre-order my copy NOW!” (one cannot order before one orders – order Now, Order today, tomorrow will all give the same result – you will receive it tomorrow, a few days or when it is available to be sent out to you or after release). Why can’t I just order the product? Pre-ordering implies I place the order previous to the release of a product. Surely the phrase “order your copy NOW” carries the same meaning without the unnecessary burden of a prefix?

    Best wishes and not any bad feelings to you.

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