Cooking up a storm for Christmas…
“Did you just say, only 4 weeks until Christmas”? Oh my goodness, its time to panic.
All that cooking and preparation and I have just 4 weeks to get organized!
So I am trying my best not to panic, we all want Christmas to be perfect, to go without a glitch.
This year Christmas is going to be that little bit more extra special, and I will tell you why.
I have not spent a single Christmas with my parents for the last 16 years.
Yes, that’s right 16 years (my parents have always been on vacation somewhere around the world) but this year their vacation is going to be coming out to stay with my family in Illinois for 2 weeks over the holidays!
Also I have not actually seen my parents in over 18 months, so I am so excited for their arrival.
I want everything to be perfect. I would like us to have a wonderful array of food to eat, I want my parents to go back to England and tell family and friends just how good the food was but then on the other hand I want to spend as much
time with my parents as I can without being chained to the kitchen.
So I came up with a plan, I was going to “Cook up a storm for Christmas”.
For the next 4 weeks I plan on cooking more than ever. I took myself off to Sam’s Club and brought a chest freezer.
Plan 1 was put into operation. Plan 2 is to fill it!!!
So the cooking has begun. I hope to fill the freezer with enough meals and desserts to get me through the holidays, not forgetting of course the cookies and candy!!!
I brought myself lots of pretty paper bakery wrappers from Sur la Table, so that I could bake my cakes and loaves direct in those.
A mountain of glass storage containers. Freezer bags and my latest love Reynolds freezer wrap and tape.
Freezing Cookies. I am simply freezing the dough (I have done this many times in the past always with great success).
I follow the cookie recipe exactly, but then shape the dough into balls and place of a cookie sheet.
I then put the cookie sheet in the freezer for approx 1 hour.
Once the dough is frozen I then transfer the balls into a zip lock bag for easy storage.
Baking the cookies could not be any easier, no need to defrost.
I place the dough balls straight from the freezer onto a cookie sheet and bake in a warm 300 degree oven for approx 25-30 minutes.
They really do come out perfect every time!
So far in the freezer I have batches of:
Beth’s Spicy Oatmeal Raison Cookies
Pumpkin Spiced and Iced Cookies
Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies
Freezing Homemade fudge ~ you simply can’t beat homemade fudge at Christmas and this year I plan on making a huge variety of flavors.
One of the other cooks on AR (Roxanne J.R) had a great idea and made her fudge in small mini muffin liners in a muffin pan.
The perfect bite size piece of fudge, so I have done the same.
I made my fudge following the recipe, but filled the muffin liners.
Once the fudge was cooled I removed the fudge from the paper cases and stored in a glass freezer container with wax paper in between the layers.
Fudge can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months (as a rule denser freezes better than lighter fudge recipes). Defrosting could not be similar ~ just defrost the fudge in the refrigerator with their wrappings in place.
The moisture that forms during defrosting will then form on the wrapper and not the fudge.
Once thawed, allow to stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.
So far in the freezer I have batches of:
Candy Cane Fudge
Anyone who knows me, know desserts are my thing. I just love, love, love desserts.
Of course I am going to need two weeks worth of desserts but so far I have baked the following and added them to the freezer…
Spiced Plum Crumble (Personal Recipe)
Pumpkin Swirl Bread
Orange Raisin Cake
Momma’s Wine Cake
Apple Streusel Crumb Pie (Personal Recipe)
Not forgetting Breakfasts…
Some days I plan on just having a light breakfast, but I did want a few breakfast items to fall back on , here are a few items already made it to the freezer:
Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
Oatmeal and Raisin pancakes
Broccoli and Mozerella Quiche x 2
Sausage and Onion Quiche x 3
As I have been making dinner, where possible I have been making two of everything and popping an extra one in the freezer.
Momma’s Chicken Pot Pie
4 Cheese Vegetable Lasagna
Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos
Yes, I still have a long way to go ~ But I feel I have made an excellent start in just over a week!
I would be so interested to hear how you will be spending your Christmas and what preparations you have already made?