December 6, 2016

5 Tips: Stocking Your Freezer for the Holidays

Stock the freezer with dough!

Stock the freezer with dough!

Now that we’ve all recovered from Thanksgiving it is time to think about the next holiday. No matter what you celebrate in December, it is a time for food and merriment with friends and family. For me it is also a time of my children running around at a fever pitch and bouncing off the walls with excitement. Much like Thanksgiving, my strategy is simple: plan, plan, plan. Then stock the freezer based on said plans. A little time in the war room now pays off in spades later!

The freezer is always my friend, especially during the holiday seasons and here is how I make it work for me:

Gingersnap Dough is ready to go!

Gingersnap Dough is ready to go!

Freeze Now, Bake Later: I am borderline fanatical about my Christmas cookie plate and baked treats. In order to produce the number of cookies I want and keep them fresh it means preparing dough early in the month and freezing it. This way I can bake cookies fresh when I want them instead of hoping they stay fresh all month long (it never happens; I’ve tried). Cookie doughs, pie doughs, and bread doughs mostly all freeze beautifully. Start making one dough a day now and all you’ll have to do is thaw and toward the end of the month.

 

Soup is so easy to freeze and reheat!

Soup’s On!: Soup is the secret weapon of parents everywhere and it is no different in my house. Our kids are out of school for almost two weeks and there are people in an out of our house like crazy during that time. My answer? Chili, tortellini soup, vegetable soup, and more. Soup is my favorite food to freezer because it retains flavor and texture so well when it is thawed. A batch in the freezer today means an easy vacation night meal later!

Frozen veggies for pot pies and more!

Frozen veggies for pot pies and more!

Vegetables at the Ready: I love a good salad, but shopping for fresh produce (which is mediocre in the Northeast this time of year), is a pain when the kids are at home. Instead, I have all of my favorite Cascadian Farms Organic vegetables in the freezer and at the ready. They are frozen fresh and taste amazing when they are thawed. Having them in the freezer gives me so many options for quick meals, sides dishes, or for adding to soups. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Green beans with toasted almonds and butter
  2. Multicolored Carrots in chicken broth the angel hair pasta and tomato paste
  3. Chopped spinach stirred into a simple stove-top risotto
  4. Wedge Fries topped with cheese, bacon, and chilies
  5. Sweet Potato quesadillas

Berries and more berries: We rely heavily on frozen berries in the winter because there are no good fresh ones to be found. A smoothie is always a good quick breakfast or lunch on-the-run between holiday events. I also use them to make delicious cocktails and even the occasional ice ring for the punch bowl!

Freeze pancakes and reheat later!

Freeze pancakes and reheat later!

Breakfast Every Day!: Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, especially for my children. Things don’t go well if they don’t get some protein and fruit in them by 9am. Since I like to sleep in a little during the holidays I stock the freezer with waffles and pancakes. These can easily be transferred to the toaster for a quick and easy breakfast. My daughter is even old enough to use the toaster so she’ll often make her own breakfast while I slowly make my morning tea. It is a nice break for all of us from the hectic school morning routine!

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cascadian Farm. The photographs and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Naptime Chef.)

  • J Kirk

    My mother and her sister were masterful bakers. For several years, they had a business baking Christmas cookies for others. They started the day after Thanksgiving and NEVER stored a cookie anywhere except in a can. Thousands of cookies! Huge cans. We were still eating delicious and fresh Christmas cookies into February. One year I put some type of cookie in the freezer and I thought my mother was going to have a stroke! LOL

    My sister, daughter, and I have taken over the baking and we do the same thing my mom did. We never store cookies in anything except cans. One year I had “hidden” cookies from my husband and found a can of them in April — the cookies were as wonderful as the day they were baked!

    Needless to say, no two types of cookies ever share a plate without each type being in its own little plastic wrapping because they may pick up other cookies’ taste.

    We all swear that we can hear my mom whispering in our ears as we bake, telling us what we are doing wrong! She always told us that butter needed to be creamed for 5 minutes and darned if I did not go to a class with a pastry chef once who said the same thing!