Make the holidays a little simpler by planning ahead. Reduce holiday stress by choosing holiday recipes that can be made ahead of time and placed into a fridge or freezer until the day of the party. On the day of the occasion, pull the food out of cold storage, do some last minute prep and relax.
Recommended Reading: Get started with baking by reading our Ultimate Guide to the Best Baking Equipment for Beginners!
Make Ahead Appetizers – Mini Quiche
Instead of spending hours in the kitchen before a big party, plan ahead. Prepare Christmas party appetizers days, even weeks in advance. There are several simple make ahead appetizers. These recipes can be prepared, stored in air tight containers or zip lock bags and placed in a refrigerator or freezer until the day of the party. Heat if necessary. When it is time to serve, simply arrange the appetizers on a pretty tray and head out the door.
- 1 pkg. refrigerated pie crust
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- (optional) diced shrimp, crabmeat, bacon, ham or spinach
Using a 2″ biscuit cutter, cut rounds of pie dough from pie crust sheets and place in mini muffin tins. In some muffin cups place some shrimp, diced ham, crab meat, etc., if desired. Fill the cups with quiche mixture and bake until puffed and golden. Cool and freeze on a sheet pan. Quiches can be stored in zip lock bag in the freezer for up to a month. Make sure the quiches are well frozen before stacking them in bags, to avoid sticking. On the day of the party, quiches can be heated in a warm oven for 5 minutes or they can be served at room temperature. This holiday recipe makes 24 mini quiches.
Make Ahead Christmas Cookies – Mexican Wedding Cookies
During the holidays, it is usually customary that a guest never arrives empty handed. For some, the easiest things to share are holiday cookies. Mexican wedding cookies can be baked and frozen weeks in advance. To reduce stress, plan ahead and bake a little at a time. Bake up a few dozen cookies on a cold rainy day in November. Place a dozen or two of each kind in a airtight container or ziplock bag and place them in the freezer. On the day, thaw the container of cookies a few hours at room temperature. Arrange the assortment on a pretty platter and let the party begin.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Cream together the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer. Add the vanilla extract. With a wooden spoon, slowing incorporate the flour. Refrigerate the dough for three hours.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Roll the chilled dough into 1″ balls. Placed on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove cookies from the oven. While they are still warm, roll them in powdered sugar. Let them cool and place them in air tight containers for storage in the refrigerator or freezer. These cookies will keep fresh in the freezer for up to two months. This recipe makes 30 cookies.
Stress Proof the Holidays
Help reduce holiday stress by planning and organizing well ahead of time. Cook and freeze appetizers, holiday desserts and cookies ahead of time. When grocery shopping, always try to plan ahead and anticipate upcoming events. Watch for sales on holiday baking items and stock up if possible. A well laid out strategy will almost always stress proof the holidays.
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