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Holiday Meals : Recipes and meal planning

Updated on September 17, 2014

Helpful cheats for the big meals

I have good news ! There are several ways to cheat on the big meal. One is to have your meat prepared for you ! Several grocery stores have this option for a little more you can have your special bird or ham prepared on your schedule and pick it up all ready for your feast. There are several things that you can prepare in the crock pot . One of the favorites are crock pot chicken and dumplings. Rachel Ray's recipe here. There are several ways to cut your time and troubles. Another way is to make your holiday meals a pot luck. For those that may not know the word, it simply means that everyone bring a dish or two and make the meal off of several cooks. The pot luck is a great idea and it takes the trouble off of a single cook and makes spreads the responsibility throughout the guest and no one is over worked .


The holidays are quickly approaching and we are all already thinking about the meals, family and friends . Holidays can be stressful but with the proper preparedness, it doesn't have to take a toll on your mental status and pocket book. I am going to help you all, maybe, with the process. Holidays are a time of year that we all have that look forward and dread all at the same time. Try and think of it on a different level. Holidays are about family and food, love and togetherness. Stress does not have to be a major part of it. For those that prepare the meal it can encounter days of shopping and cooking. Making certain that everything is to perfection. In this article I am going to try and help take the stress out of the holidays.

My favorite: Desserts

Someone once pointed out that desserts is stressed spelled backwards. Well this doesn't have to be the case at all there are several ways to cheat in this area. You can rely on your local grocer for premade pies, cakes and cookies. The grocer will usually bring in the most favorite holiday desserts a few weeks before the holidays and this can save loads of time. If you would rather not purchase pre made there are several different ideas that you can choose from.

  • Frozen pies
  • no bake boxed desserts
  • quick and easy peanut butter cookies
  • puddings and truffles are usually fairly quick and easy

Frozen pies these will be located in the freezer section, usually beside the ice cream. A few I have used include, Edwards, Marie Callenders and Sara lee. If you pay close attention in the weeks prior to the holidays you will find that most grocery stores will mark these down to BOGO or 50% off in the weeks prior, saving your money and making it easy for you. Jello makes a no bake cheesecake that is delicious and your guest will never know that it was prepared in less than 15 minutes. If cheesecake is not your cup of tea they have several others to choose from. Desserts does not have to mean stressed, it can be simple and make your guest savor the great flavor.

How to save on the big meals

Most everyone is looking for the best meals for the least amount of money there are several ways to save money. One of the ways that you can save is to watch the sales ads and see what is on sale. Around the holidays the grocery stores will start rolling in several crates of the holiday must haves. They will often time put them on a sale or maybe even BOGO. This is the best way to save money.If your menu can be altered look for sales on other dishes that maybe would work. Another great way to save money is by coupons if you know that you are going to be purchasing Edwards Pies then go to a coupon site and order the coupons that are beneficial to the dishes that you are going to prepare. If you do not know of any coupon sites I use . Here I have the ability to search for what I am looking for, say I know I am going to need chicken broth and cream of chicken soup for the dressing. Here I can search " campbells" and it will show me all the coupons that are available through the manufacture. There are several ways to pinch those pennies and stretch that dollar. Go for store brands often times they are the same product with a different label.. Search different sales ads to see which store may be beneficial for your needs. It may be useful to shop at more than one store.

What do you think?

Cast your vote for Hash Brown casserole

Side dishes

There are three main parts to the meals, meat, sides and desserts. I can taste it now the sweet potatoes and the green bean casserole. The sides can be the tricky part. What does everyone like? What are the traditions? These are very important questions, these can be answered by simply thinking back on the favorite foods that are not on the daily roster for the regular meals usually. These can consist of the special grand ma's dressing or Aunt Cindy's sweet potato casserole. All these seem to be must have's so where do you fit these traditional foods in with the sides that you seen on facebook and want to try this year. We all have those also, the best way to mix the new with the old again would be the pot luck. The new and improved recipes that you are wanting to try put them on your name and then ask around and see who knows how to make grand ma's dressing and Aunt Cindy's sweet potatoes. After you have done the research, make a list of the "must haves", also add the new and improved that you want to try and then make a list of the people that will be coming and assign out according to capabilities. If this is not an option for you then you may want to stick to quick and easy side dishes a few of my choice are:

  • Green bean casserole
  • corn
  • mashed potatoes ( can do instant for quick preparation add butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon bits for more taste)
  • canned yams add butter and brown sugar to your taste
  • rolls ( buy premade and look for the least cooking time)

side dishes don't have to be time heavy and can be made in advance and put in the oven on 250 degrees to keep warm but not over cook.

Hash Brown Casserole

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 10 servings

What to buy

  • bag of frozen hash browns
  • medium onion chopped
  • can of cream of chicken soup
  • bag of shredded cheddar

How you do it

  1. mix all ingredients in a 9x13 casserole dish
  2. cook in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven ( can top with more cheese) It is ready to be enjoyed

Easy Peanut Butter cookies

  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg

mix all ingredients in bowl, roll into 1 inch balls, place on cookie sheet, take a fork and press slightly, bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

makes approx. 15 cookies

5 Minute gravy

This gravy is absolutely wonderful and doesn't take a lot of time:

  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup

add to saucepan stir and heat. That's all it is so good I make this on a regular basis. you can add smashed boiled eggs if you would like.

Snow ball Cookies

Yummy !! These are a holiday favorite in my family and I have shared a video with you all to show you how they are made. Enjoy!!


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