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ISO Freeze ahead macaroni and cheese and other make-ahead Christmas dishes

Hi all

I'm having surgery a week before Christmas and do not know what shape I will be in but expect I will be up to joining my family's meal. However it's impossible for me not to feel the need to contribute so I was hoping to make something(s) this weekend and potentially freeze them, but only so far as the quality is acceptable. I was thinking macaroni and cheese, maybe Martha Stewart's. I know my aunt is having a ham. Other than that, the menu is free range. Suggestions appreciated

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  1. I make and freeze Martha Stewart's mac and cheese regularly.

    Most desserts freeze well.

    7 Replies
    1. re: milklady

      +1 on Martha's mac and cheese. It freezes beautifully.

      1. re: HeyImBack

        Do you freeze it uncooked? Or cook then freeze?

        1. re: The Oracle

          I make the sauce and cook the pasta per directions, assemble completely, then wrap with foil and freeze. I let it defrost in the fridge and then bake.

            1. re: milklady

              This is a little off topic, but how long do you suppose the assembled/uncooked product would keep the fridge? I'd like to try this recipe for the first time and want to make it two days prior (make on Sunday to serve on Tuesday). Do you think it would keep ok in the fridge for two days until it's baked?

              1. re: The Oracle

                I think that would be fine. I wouldn't push it further than that.

                1. re: milklady

                  Just wanted to report back that Martha's mac and cheese was PHENOMENAL! And so easy to make ahead! I was concerned the pasta would soak up the moisture from the cheese sauce (since I wasn't freezing the dish), so I refrigerated the components separately. The cheese sauce was made and put in the fridge. I par boiled the pasta and drained/cooled and put it in a gallon zip lock. When it was time to assemble, I warmed the cheese sauce on the stove (to loosen it up) and then stirred in the pasta and added the additional cheese and bread and in the oven it went. It was PERFECT!

      2. Uncooked biscuits freeze well and can be baked straight from the frozen state (or in any state between there and thawed, really). Brush the tops and bottoms with butter before freezing, unwrapped, on a foil lined cookie sheet. Once they're frozen you can wrap them for storing or throw them in a freezer bag.

        1 Reply
        1. re: caganer

          +1 for biscuits, and for any dinner roll/bread for that matter. You can freeze shaped or baked rolls and reheat in the oven.

          And definitely go for Martha's mac and cheese!

          I was just reading through Martha's magazine from November and they suggested freezing a fully-baked pecan pie and just letting it thaw a few hours, then serving at room temp. I've never tried it but they said it works well.

        2. Any soup will freeze well- if it has dairy just add when reheating.
          Cornbread, rolls,and vegetable gratins freeze well.
          You could make salad vinegrette, croutons, and bring with fresh veggies for a salad you assemble on site.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ttrockwood

            Creamed soups freeze well too. My go-to is curried butternut squash with apple.

          2. if you wanted to do potatoes, you could pre-bake and stuff twice baked potatoes, wrap individually and freeze, then do the second bake on the day.

            or you do something similar with hasselbeck potatoes… prep em up to inserting the cheese/butter, then freeze and bake off on the day.

            mac'n'cheese is really freezer friendly, so if that sound good to you, it's a great choice!

            good luck with your surgery… speedy recovery!

            1. Lasagna freezes nicely. Pureed winter squash for a side dish. Also, if you are looking for breakfast items to make post-surgery easy in general--waffles and crepes do well in the freezer.

              Hope all goes well and you're up and about quickly!

              1 Reply
              1. re: gourmanda

                Agree about the lasagne. I've had good luck freezing it as well.

              2. I often make a double batch of Paula Deen's Creamy Mac and Cheese and freeze it, unbaked, in a few smaller containers so we have quick sides or dinners ready to go.

                It is just as good thawed and baked a week or even a month later. I will say that I don't use the egg that she does in her recipe but otherwise it is pretty much the same.