December 18, 2019

Make Ahead Christmas Meals

6 days!! Wow, does anyone else feel like this December flew by extra fast? Our kiddos last day of school is tomorrow and we have family coming into town on Friday, so my goal is to have everything mostly done (wrapping, grocery shopping, etc) before they arrive. I’m sure there will be last minute trips to the store, but I know the more I get done ahead of time, the more I’ll be able to enjoy the time with my family! Make ahead meals are my life saver during this time so I wanted to share a few things I like to have prepped ahead of time.

BREAKFAST CASSEROLES: Breakfast casseroles are my favorite way to make breakfast feel festive and fun, feed a group, and do it without feeling stressed out!! There are SO many breakfast casserole recipes out there (search Pinterest!), but I have two recipes that I continually make…an egg casserole and a french toast casserole. I make these ahead, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and tinfoil and put it in the freezer. The night before serving I thaw them out in the refrigerator, and then bake according to directions. LIFE. SAVER.

Here is the recipe for my french toast casserole, and the recipe for my egg casserole can be found below!

SCONES: Another popular breakfast treat over the holidays for my family are cranberry orange scones. They also make a yummy afternoon snack!! I use this recipe, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and put the bunch in a ziploc to freeze. To serve simply microwave unwrapped scones for 30 seconds and you’ll have a warm, “fresh-baked” treat!

COOKIE DOUGH: What’s more fun than making Christmas cookies?? Rolling out sugar cookies to decorate is always high on our holiday bucket list. But you know what I’ve found? My kiddos like to make one batch of dough together, but after that they just want to get to the decorating and “fun stuff” and the reality is we always use more than one batch of dough! Sugar cookie dough is quick, easy, and the perfect thing to make ahead of time. I double my recipe (listed below), separate into two discs, and wrap tightly in plastic to freeze. Again, just pull it out the night before and let it defrost in the fridge!

BEEF or VEGETABLE STEW: We can’t just eat breakfast and cookies right?? I guess I need to serve everyone dinner too! I love to serve a hearty stew for a group, and it’s especially good for a day that you might be out enjoying holiday festivities and then get home and just need to EAT! I’ll make this in the morning, keep it in a dutch oven, and refrigerate for the day. Then when we get home, rewarm it on the stove and serve with bread and salad. I use this recipe and often omit the beef for a vegetarian friendly option. Oh, and I add mushrooms!

I hope those ideas help you to feed your family during this busy holiday season! Most of them (plus more) are also saved on my Pinterest boards. If you try one, let me know! I’d love to hear how they turn out 🙂

EGG CASSEROLE

The great thing about this recipe is it’s versatility. Below is a basic recipe, but you can add/remove ingredients to suit your family! Veggie lovers would enjoy mushrooms and zucchini, and meat lovers might love some bacon thrown in!

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces breakfast sausage, chopped (I use the precooked version)
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 large bell peppers, diced
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (any flavor)

Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Heat a large skillet and add in a few swirls of olive oil. Brown your sausage (if using) and then spoon it into your prepared casserole dish. In saute pan add onion, garlic, peppers and saute 4-5 minutes. Add in spinach and saute until wilted. Add vegetables into prepared casserole dish and stir to combine with sausage.

In a medium size bowl, whisk eggs, milk and cheese. Pour egg mixture evenly over your sausage and vegetable mix. Cover casserole dish with plastic wrap. Your casserole can either be refrigerated up to a day and then baked at 375 for 45 minutes.

to freeze: wrap tightly in plastic wrap and tinfoil. Casserole can be frozen for up to 2 months. The night before serving thaw casserole in the refrigerator and then bake in the morning at 375 for 45 minutes.


SUGAR COOKIE DOUGH

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • confectioners sugar for rolling

Cream butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add in egg and cream cheese and mix until well combined. Then add in vanilla, almond and lemon and mix until just combined.

In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet mixture in small increments and mix until dough is just formed. It will be wet and tacky. Sprinkle confectioners sugar on your counter to prevent dough from sticking. Flatten and form dough into a round disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours of freeze! Thaw in refrigerator, and then roll out as desired. Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes.

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