Make Ahead Meals for the Busy Holiday Season

It’s two weeks before Christmas, and there’s still so much to do. Every free moment is spent baking cookies, wrapping presents, and decorating. There’s no time to spend hours every night making dinner. Instead, spend an hour or two over the weekend making all your meals for the whole week. These make ahead meals are quick and easy, and they’re perfect for the busy holiday season!

The busy holiday season is here. Use these make ahead meals to save time.

Make Ahead Meals for the Busy Holiday Season

Next weekend, I’m having a holiday tea party at my house. I’m going to have to spend my time after work cleaning and baking. That’s why I spent my Saturday morning grocery shopping and cooking. In under 2 hours, I have all of my meals for the week in the refrigerator, and my first batch of cookies is ready for my guests (if they last that long).

Monday – Dump-and-Bake Cool Ranch Chicken Casserole

Any recipe that includes Cool Ranch Doritos is sure to be a hit with my husband and children. Doritos are one of their favorite snacks. This Dump-and-Bake Cool Ranch Chicken Casserole from Blair at The Seasoned Mom was so easy to make. Like the recipe says, you just dump all the ingredients into your dish and mix them. At that point, I put it in the refrigerator, and I’ll bake it Monday night. I just need to remember to put the crushed chips and cheese on top.

dump and bake ranch chicken casserole for the busy holiday season

Tuesday – Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna Bake

The Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna Bake from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum is the second yummy meal we’ll be eating this week. Most of our meals this week contain chicken because I got a big pack of split chicken breasts for under $5.00. As soon as I got home from the store, I seasoned them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and popped them in the 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. That’s a trick I learned from the Barefoot Contessa. I had enough meat for three meals this way.

While I waited for the chicken to cook and cool, I prepared everything else for each meal. That way, I just had to shred the chicken and add it when it was ready. After the chicken was added, I covered the lasagna bake with foil and added it to the refrigerator. Now, I just need to add the breadcrumbs to the top when I’m baking it Tuesday night.

garlic parmesan chicken lasagna for the busy holiday season

Wednesday – Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Spinach

We got our first snow today. The colder weather always makes me crave soup, and the Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Spinach from Kristin at Yellow Bliss Road looked absolutely delicious! I picked up some frozen tortellini at the grocery store, and this soup came together in about 30 minutes. When it was ready, I sampled some for lunch, and it was perfect for a cold, snowy day. I can’t wait to have more on Wednesday!

tortellini soup with sausage and spinach for the busy holiday season

Thursday – Ranch Chicken Enchiladas

I love eating Mexican foods, however, I always have issues at Mexican restaurants. They tend to cook everything together – the peppers, onions, and chicken. I won’t eat onions, even if they’re teeny tiny. That’s why I tend to make my own Mexican food at home. When I found the recipe for Ranch Chicken Enchiladas from Alyssa at The Recipe Critic, I knew I had to try them. I used Rotel instead of salsa to avoid the onions. These may become a new Mexican favorite!

ranch chicken enchiladas for the busy holiday season

Friday – Personal Pizzas

Friday night is pizza night. I found adorable mini pizza crusts at the discount grocery store for only 50 cents. I made a batch of my favorite pizza sauce from Sara at Budget Savvy Diva today, and Friday we’ll assemble these little pizzas. Everyone can choose their favorite topping, and they’ll be ready in a few minutes. The kids love helping to assemble them!

Dessert

Tis the season for baking cookies, so I decided to get started today. I found the recipe for Christmas Cookie Sandwiches from Dana at This Silly Girl’s Kitchen. These are chocolate chip cookies taken to a whole new level with M&Ms and icing. After playing outside in the snow this afternoon, J and Miss M came in to fresh baked cookies and hot chocolate. They had so much fun adding the icing and sandwiching them together. What a fun way to spend a snowy day!

These would be the perfect cookie for a holiday cookie exchange, too. I don’t think this batch is going to last that long, though.

chocolate chip cookie sandwiches for the busy holiday season

Bring on the Week

This week is going to be busy with all the holiday preparations. I still have gifts to buy and wrap, more sweets to bake, and lots of cleaning to do. At least I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner. I can come home from school, pop a dish in the oven, and have food on the table in about 30 minutes. That will give me time to accomplish everything else on my to-do list this busy holiday season.

Which of these meals do you want to try first?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

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