10 Things You Can Cook In Advance and Store In The Freezer
Cooking the Christmas dinner is a stressful occasion for most families, as almost, if not everything is down to one person to prepare and cook. I'm all for making life easier at this time of year, and anyway, why should you not be one of those putting their feet up during the morning too?
Below are 10 items that might appear on your dining table that can be prepared way ahead of time, kept in the freezer until Christmas Eve, and then either finished off, heated back up or just served on the big day.
1. For Starters - Soup
Soup is a great way of using up gluts of vegetables, either that's grown in the garden, or because you've bought too much, and what could be easier than heating up some soup straight from the freezer, and adding some croutons (which can be stored in an air tight container), and warmed rolls (which can also come out of the freezer). Whilst each soup is slightly different, those that are not cream based or great for freezing, so take your favourite recipe and make it during November, when there's plenty of time, and the shops still have plenty of the ingredients in before the mad panic of buying!
2. For Starters - Pate
Pate is a faffy one to make, but works really well as a starter preceding a big dinner like we have at Christmas. Serve with toasted sourdough (which can also be frozen), and use fresh parsley to garnish. Most pate freezes, and can also be stored in an airtight container. Pick up the livers from a butcher, it'll be much easier than trying to find them in a supermarket.
3. The Main Course - Roast Potatoes
Roast potatoes can be prepared and par-boiled in advance and stored in the freezer until ready. Great for when hob top space is in short demand when cooking a big dinner with so many components. Boil for 15-20 minutes, then fluff them in a colander, and store them in the freezer when cold. When you pull them out, they can go straight in from frozen into a hot oil pan in the oven but just give them an extra 10 minutes or so. Saves on all the peeling that a mountain of potatoes takes during the morning!
4. The Main Course - Stuffing
Making stuffing yourself beats anything that comes out of a packet, but it's a faff that really can 'get stuffed' on Christmas day! However, making it in advance and cooking, ready for re-heating, works a treat if you like crispy stuffing on the side. If you like to cook your bird with stuffing, freeze the breadcrumbs and mix in a bowl once thawed, and then you just need to chop an onion and some sage leaves to stuff your turkey.
5. The Main Course - Bread Sauce
If you have turkey, it's highly likely you have bread sauce, and this is also one of those things that taste so much better when you cook it. However, stirring a saucepan of this at the last minute when everything else needs to be dealt with, is not my idea of breezing through Christmas dinner cooking! Cook in advance (up to 6 weeks), bring out to defrost when needed, and serve cold (or warm if you prefer).
6. The Main Course - Sausages Wrapped In Bacon (or Pigs In Blankets)
These can be fully prepped and cooked, or just got ready, and can be done way in advance. Cocktail sausages are definitely one of those things that get stripped from the supermarket close to Christmas, so save yourself the headache and get them from your butcher early. Wrap the bacon and store them in the freezer ready to cook, or you could even cook them and store them in the freezer just to be heated up. It's up to you. If you use a glaze on them at all, this would need to be done outside of the freezer to get all of those yummy juices.
7. The Main Course - Yorkshire Puddings
This is a contentious item for the Christmas Dinner contenders, but for me, I feel a roast dinner isn't one unless there's a Yorkshire pudding on the plate. My husband disagrees. But cooking these, for some reason, scares me. And so, I choose to cook them in advance, Aunt Bessie-style, and pull however many out that I need at the time. The oven is already nice and hot ready for them to go in, just make sure you heat up the oil first!
8. The Dessert - Christmas Pudding
Now, whether Christmas pudding needs to go in the freezer or not is questionable, but the fact of the matter is that it can, and I have myself had Christmas pudding in the freezer from one year to the next. This can be useful to know if you've got leftovers that you really can't bear to eat at Christmas - it does freeze very well, and can be pulled out in January on a night for a yummy treat after dinner. On a side note, handmade and fresh custard can also be frozen (and is usually much nicer than the packet mix or tinned).
9. The Dessert - Brandy Butter
Brandy butter is a great one for keeping in the freezer, as it can also be brought out and eaten with warmed mince pies straight from the freezer. It also is so easy to make, and you can put as much, or as little, brandy and sugar in as you like. In fact, flavoured butters are a great addition for the freezer, as they can jazz up a plain piece of meat, or vegetables very easily.
10. After Dinner - Coffee Nibbles
Whilst we don't really need these, there's something very luxurious about having a treat with your coffee after a special meal, and I just think there's nothing that says Christmas quite like a mince pie. Snack size ones can be quite faffy to make, and expensive to buy, so make them when you've got plenty of time, especially for the occasion (or any other diner parties you may throw during this season). Also make some standard size ones for snacking on when visitors come round for coffee. 20 minutes in the oven straight from the freezer, and they're ready.
There's also loads of other foods that can be stored in the freezer and pulled out for the meal, and I particularly find that recipe books created for the season (Mary Berry, Nigella or Delia Smith) and the Good Food website will have loads of suggestions about specific recipes that can go in the freezer in advance. Over time, by creating a list of your favourites and getting them completed early, will give you much less tress on the day, and will allow for a much calmer morning that you can actually enjoy.
Related articles to 10 Things You Can Cook in Advance and Store in the Freezer for Christmas Dinner:
- Annabelle Summerfield