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One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the food. Homemade food, to be exact. I revel in the food traditions of our families and savor every bite of homemade goodies dropped on our front doorstep. That said, as much as I love preparing holiday food for my loved ones, I like hanging out with them during the holidays even more. As a result, I try really hard to make food ahead of time so I’m not slaving away in the kitchen when I’d rather be sitting in front of the fire.
As a result, I have three side dish recipes that are my favorites during the holiday season, both because I only make them for the holidays, making them extra special and nostalgic, and because I can make them ahead of time and freeze for later! It is such a dream on the actual holiday to just open the freezer, pull out a casserole dish and have a beautiful, homemade side to serve either for Thanksgiving or Christmas that tastes as fresh as if I just made it. So what are these magical recipes?
- Broccoli Casserole: My mom always made this for Thanksgiving and the flavor just instantly transports me to her table.
- Sweet Potato Souffle: I’m pretty sure this is a holiday staple for at least half of the United States if not more! I love the vanilla in this particular recipe. This is a recipe that I introduced to our family and I only ever make it for the holidays. I can’t imagine the holiday season without them now!
- Corn Souffle: This recipe came from my friend Jen Carroll, who got it from her mother-in-law who always served it for the holidays. I lovingly think of their family every time we make this for the holidays. And not only have I adopted this food tradition from my friend Jen and her family, but my friend Robyn also adopted it and makes it every Thanksgiving herself!
For all three recipes, I simply prepare the base of the recipe (not the topping) and place that in a casserole dish. Once the casserole dish is prepped, I wrap it well with Glad plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer! All done! The day I want to bake the casseroles, I remove them from the freezer in the morning so the dishes can warm up on the counter, then follow the directions for the toppings and throw the casserole in the oven. No one would ever guess I made the casserole 1 to 2 months ahead of time!
As much as I love the three recipes I shared, I always love hearing from you, too! What holiday foods do you prepare and freeze ahead of time to make the holidays less stressful? Please tell us and share links and/or recipes if you have them!