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Looking for good recipes that I can freeze and then feed to guests

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I'm having a lot of family over during the week after Christmas and I don't want to spend the entire time in the kitchen. We'll have eight adults (there may be a day or two with eleven adults) and then my four kids eating. I'd like to prepare nice meals, but I really want to limit my kitchen time. I thought I could do some cooking now and then freeze things so that dinner is easy and well planned once they get here.


So far I've thought of doing:


Lasagna - I can freeze this ahead of time and then make caesar salad and garlic cheese toast on the night we eat it.


Chili - Paired with a green salad and multi-grain rolls and possibly wild rice.


Pies - we'll need desserts as well so I thought pies would be easy to freeze.


Muffins - does freezing the batter in the muffin cups and then baking them from a frozen state really work? If so, I'll make a few dozen muffins so we can have them fresh in the mornings.


I need more ideas! I'll take breakfast, dinner, and lunch ideas - dessert, too. Anything I can make ahead and freeze or prepare easily on the day we eat would be great.



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I've never tried freezing one, but I would think a chicken pot pie would freeze well. I have a lovely recipe I can link you to. My kids and husband love it. It's a good recipe because you can substitute whatever vegetables you like. We have used cooked, diced potatoes and diced carrots. We've also used carrots and green beans. You could use whatever canned, frozen, or fresh veggies you like. I usually make one big pie for our family. For that many people, I would make extra crust and filling and make it in one of those really large, rectangular foil pans or a few 9x13 casseroles dishes. http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/food/recipes/articles/2009/01/21/20090121potpie0121rec1.html


Pumpkin roll is a great dessert to make ahead and freeze. I make one for Thanksgiving and Christmas for family dinners and my relatives love it. It freezes very well. Here's the recipe I use. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Roll-I/Detail.aspx

You can leave out the pecans if you don't like them.


Good luck!

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On a recent family reunion at our home I browned ground beef/turkey and froze it. We used it for spaghetti and a taco bar. I also shredded cooked chicken, (cooked in crockpt) and we used that in some Mexican dishes, soup and chicken chili.


I also made and froze some baked goods which were a big hit: pumpkin pancakes, muffins, corn bread and brownie bites.


Lastly, pizza roll-ups were great for snack time. I baked them before freezing though you could probably freeze and then bake while your company is there. The recipe that I use is similar to this one only I use pizza crust rather than crescent rolls:



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Pot roast? If you're cooking it ahead anyway, make 2; one to go w/the potatoes and carrots you roast along with it and one to shred for sandwiches. You can put the roast and vegetables right into a cooking dish (or one of those paper/cardboard oven containers) and warm it right from frozen.


Soups are good, too; vegetable, chicken, pea, etc...

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Frozen Meals... yum:-) I like Chicken Divan. We do ours with less chicken and plenty of broccoli. I like the chicken in "large shreds" My mom loves the chicken pineapple meatballs with rice. That seems like it'd lend itself to being cooked crockpot style with a pineapple-ish sauce... over rice:-) Crockpot roast/chicken (shredded) with barbeque sauce served over rolls.... Hamburger Pot Pie... It's the best! Although I'm not into hamburger anymore... Memories of this are delicious. My mom's was a beautiful flaky crust with a tomato sauce.... and green beans... all cooked... Yum!!


Desserts.... You can make a "crumb topping" and then put it over any fruit like apples, pears...etc.... Fruit crisp.. Yum:-) Easy...peasy:-)


For breakfast... Baked French Toast:-)



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Lasagna is always a hit, but consider doing a white lasagna ( chicken and white sauce) instead of the usual red one if you are going for a wow factor.


Stuffed shells is also a nice alternative to Lasagna. You can stuff your own, or buy them already stuffed and just add red sauce and cheese when you bake it. No need to bake ahead, just buy the frozen shells and have sauce on hand.


Turkey tetrazzine is a favorite of mine for freeze ahead meals, especially this time of year if you have turkey leftovers on hand. I just use the Betty Crocker cookbook recipe. Easy to throw together and freezes very well.


Many soups freeze well. I made Byerly's Wild rice soup yesterday for a family gathering of 16, and froze the leftovers. Delicious with whole grain bread and a side salad or some fruit.


White chili freezes well.


I would also have some pulled pork or shredded beef cooked and frozen. you can do hot sandwiches with banana peppers or BBQ..whichever you prefer. Nothing wrong with a nice bun meal.


when I am getting ready for company, I usually have an assortment of bar recipes that I make ahead and freeze. IE: blonde brownies, regular brownies, oatmeal something.........you get the idea.

Right after Christmas there is usually a lot of sweets around and sometimes we crave things like fruit and veggies instead.

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Thanks, everyone. Between the suggestions here and my house rule that each guest gets a turn making dinner I think we're going to be Ok.


Now I just need to prepare myself for having dh's divorced parents, his mom's new boyfriend, his step-mom and my divorced parents all around the dinner table.

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Think of which recipes you can prep part way and freeze. For example, brown ground beef with onions, which can then become easy stroganoff or taco salad. Cooked chopped chicken can become chicken and dumplings or chicken gravy and biscuits or topping for a salad or part of a casserole. I have a couple pasta and meat dishes that I do this with. Only takes about 15 minutes to cook the pasta and tuck the whole thing into the oven. But it is far easier to thaw a couple pounds of cooked meat than to plan ahead to have a casserole thawed.

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