Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot Are Soon: Try Cooking Ahead!
The chagim are coming up and by my calculations, there will be 18 meals this year, during which we will entertain guests. That means I need approximately 36 loaves of challah, plus all the other trappings of meals. I know that if I wait until the last minute I’ll be in big trouble, so I want to make everything I can ahead of time, leaving only last-minute or fresh salads to make during the holidays.
The best thing to do is just to cook ahead. The general rule of thumb is that if it has some form of fat in it, it should freeze up pretty well. Here are some ideas of what I’ve got on the menu:
I’ve got a few soups frozen already. We eat hot soup year round, although you could do a cold soup (like gazpacho or vichyssoise) if you will be in a hot climate. Most soups freeze well, although chunks of potatoes don’t do so well & Mark Bittman advises to leave out any dairy ingredients (or faux dairy ingredients) until you thaw it. Right now I have a minestrone, broccoli/cauliflower, potato spinach, and some tomato basil soup in the freezer… parsnip soup on the stove to be frozen tonight. And by the way, French onion soup freezes beautifully.
I also freeze things like casseroles and kugels. I have creamy tuna pasta bake in the freezer right now, as well as potato kugel. Planning to freeze carrot kugel as well. But other kugels, like broccoli kugel or spinach kugel, will freeze up nicely. So will quiches, frittatas, or Spanish style omelets. We usually have some of those in the freezer at all times just as backup for a hungry visitor (or husband!).
You can also freeze desserts. I have cheesecake, chocolate cake, and banana cake in the freezer. I’m planning on doing some apple cake as well… I’ll probably leave the honeycake my hubby requested until the very end. You can also do cold fruit compote for desserts and freeze them ahead – I have pear compote & apple compote frozen & ready to go, and I might make more apple compote soon, too. I’ve got too many apples!
I hope this little guide will give you a good idea of some things to start cooking. Work on it now and hopefully the holidays will be no problem at all!
PS – There are other things that freeze well that you wouldn’t necessarily think of. Roasted capsicum (red bell pepper), for instance. Rice also freezes well.