Make-ahead meals ahead for the busy holiday season

Make-ahead meals ahead for the busy holiday season

Whip up these easy festive meals in advance and you’ll have more time to spend with the people you love.


When you have family and friends staying with you over the holiday season, you don’t want to be stuck at the stove away from all the fun. Check out our five make-ahead recipes that will get you out of the kitchen and into the festivities.

 

Guest-friendly breakfast 

On the menu: Breakfast buffet

This is your antidote to morning mayhem when feeding a group: an easy-to-prep dish that everyone will love.

How to make it:

  1. Cook chopped sausage and chorizo or smoked bacon lardons in a large frying pan, breaking them apart until they crumble.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 8 eggs, 2½ cups of milk, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and a little salt and butter. Stir in 1 cup of grated Cheddar cheese and add chopped green veg and other veg, such as mushrooms.
  3. Cut 500g of crusty French bread into 1-inch cubes and scatter over a large, buttered baking dish. Top with the sausage mixture and then egg mixture. Chill until ready to cook.
  4. Put the dish into a medium oven and cook for about 45 mins, or until the eggs are fully cooked.

 

Easy party food

On the menu: Shrimp rillettes

This buttery shrimp spread only requires five ingredients, and you can safely stash it in the freezer for up to three weeks. It’s heavenly on crunchy bread, crackers or toast as a delicious canapé or appetizer.

How to make it:

  1. In a large frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1Ib of shelled and de-veined raw shrimp and cook for two minutes or until the shrimp is cooked.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of brandy or dry sherry and allow to bubble for 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of butter and a little salt and pepper, then pulse again until evenly blended.
  5. Transfer your mixture into three clean jars and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on to the surface of the shrimp mixture. The rillettes will keep for up to three days in the fridge or you can store in the freezer.

 

Livened-up side dish

On the menu: Citrus cranberry sauce

Just a small dollop of this on the side of each plate will make your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner extra yummy, and it’s also perfect for those leftover turkey and ham sandwiches, as well as grilled cheese sandwiches. But why stop there? Try it on oatmeal or drizzled on cheesecake for even more ‘wows’. Best of all, this dish will keep for a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make a little extra and it’s also a great gift for a friend!

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How to make it:

  1. In a saucepan, combine 2 bags (750g total) of frozen cranberries with 1½ cups of sugar, the zest from an orange and a little cinnamon and ginger.
  2. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Reduce and simmer and cook until thickened, which should take about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of fresh orange juice before jarring and then storing in the fridge.

 

Stash-away starter

On the menu: Roasted pumpkin soup with shiitake mushrooms

You can use roasted pumpkin or butternut squash in this simple recipe, which is made extra-special with the addition of shiitake mushrooms. Keep in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze.

How to make it:

  1. Combine 3Ibs of chopped sweet pumpkin or butternut squash, with one quartered onion, 2 shiitake mushrooms and 1 garlic clove. Toss with a little oil and spread on to a baking tray and roast in a hot oven for about 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a saucepan and heat with 2 cups of stock. Purée with a blender until smooth. Gradually add 3 more cups of stock and purée again. Bring the soup to a simmer and then season.
  3. Serve, topped with roasted pumpkin seeds or bacon.

 

Super-easy entrée

On the menu: Crockpot ham

This slow-cooker recipe is a low-and-slow masterpiece that’s not only delicious but also hassle-free – exactly the way it should be! The washing up will be a breeze, too!

How to make it:

  1. Put a ham joint into your crockpot or slow cooker.
  2. Rub a pot of cranberry sauce over the top of the ham.
  3. Blend a can of pineapple chunks in juice and add this to the ham. Cook for eight hours.
  4. Once it’s cool, refrigerate until required. Keep in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze.

 

What’s your favorite holiday recipe or tip? Share your ideas with us below.

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