This is the most wonderful time of the year, right? Maybe, but in order to enjoy the holidays as much as I can, I make sure to PLAN AHEAD for everything. I shop for gifts throughout the year, I make a budget, and I plan my meals throughout the month of December. Having easy, delicious meals on hand (Family Size, please!) makes everything from on-the-run meals to impromptu post-caroling gatherings come together quickly.
One of our classic family favorites is Lasagna, which is SO labor intensive to make from scratch. In fact, when my grandma used to host special family dinners, she would serve the Stouffer’s lasagna. So even though it’s not homemade, it still feels like a family tradition. In the interests of planning ahead, I went shopping at Walmart for a few Family Size frozen meals to keep on hand for those busy holiday mealtimes.
I ended up purchasing the following meal starters:
- Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese Party Size
Stouffer’s Lasagna with Meat Sauce Party Size
DiGiorno Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza
That will cover us for a few quick meals, right? This way, I don’t have to be in the kitchen working while everyone is having fun! I can throw one of these meals in the oven, and enjoy my own gathering! Even better, I like to dress them up with some sides and extras to have that warm, home-cooked meal feeling.
One of my semi-homemade tricks? I crush up some buttery crackers – you can use almost any kind — and sprinkle the large crumbs (almost crouton-size) over the Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese 10 minutes before I take it out of the oven. Serve it with an easy green salad (yes, it can be from a bag) and a loaf of crusty bread, and you have a comforting meal with under 10 minutes of prep time!
If I want to be really fancy, I’ll mix together 2 cloves of garlic, 1 stick of butter, and some parsley, spread the mixture over the bread, and stick it in the oven for 15 minutes with the Lasagna or Macaroni Cheese (or even the DiGiorno Pizza!). Quick and easy Garlic Bread.
What a relief to have some special meals on hand for the busy holiday season. After a long day of sledding, playing, visits with Santa, and shopping, the last thing I want to do is cook a huge meal. The Nestle Frozen Food Meals are perfect because I have them in the freezer, and just pop them in the oven.
My favorite easy hack for impromptu guests? “Homemade” ice cream sandwiches! I happened to use homemade here, but combine store-bought cookies with Edy’s Limited Edition Slow Churned Ice Cream to make delicious ice cream sandwiches ( that look like a lot more work than they are!). Just take two same-size cookies, spread 2-3 tbsp of softened ice cream on the bottom cookie, then smoosh it all together. Store in the freezer on a cookie tray for best results.
I served ice cream sandwiches at a recent unplanned family gathering, and everyone LOVED the Edy’s Slow Churned Limited Edition Flavors: A Very Merry Eggnog and Peppermint Wonderland. A nice dessert doesn’t have to be a ton of work, and it really adds a nice touch of elegance to any meal.
Make sure to check out this gorgeous digital magazine for even more holiday entertaining ideas!