It’s that time of the year again when busy just gets busier! As mentioned in the Holiday Countdown, I like to clean and stock my kitchen now before the line ups at the grocery and big box stores get unbearable (one can only flip through so many magazines at the checkout, right?). What I didn’t mention is that it’s also a good time to prepare large batches of meals, say on a Sunday afternoon, to freeze and pull out on those days when supper is the last thing you want to deal with after a long day. Healthy make ahead meals will also become your best kept secret when friends and family swing by or a snow storm rolls in and all you want to do is stay in your jammies.
Today I have Sheila from Sheila Zeller Interiors stopping by to share one of her favorite make ahead freezer meals, Christmas Borscht. Sounds yummy to me!
I also have four other bloggers stopping by to share their favorite make ahead meals you can pop in the freezer for later (you’ll see them below). Here goes…
Borscht is one of our favorites, but I find the secret to enjoyment is making it ahead! I’ll be honest, the prep time for this recipe is a little more than your average pot of soup, however, once made it freezes up like charm. And trust me, you’ll be so glad you did!
4 cups beets – precooked and sliced
1 or 2 medium potatoes – precooked and chopped
1 or 2 large carrots, sliced or finely diced
1 or 2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
1-1/2 (+) Tbsp dried dill weed
Salt and Ground Pepper, to taste
2 small cans V8 Juice, or 3 cups tomato juice
1-1/2 (+) Cups Creamo (half & half)
2 (+) Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 (+) clove garlic – sliced and sautéed
8 Cups water
1. Precook beets, slice and set aside
2. Precook potatoes, chop and set aside
3. Shred cabbage, toss with lemon juice or vinegar and set aside
4. Chop rest of the vegetables
5. Sautée each vegetable separately in olive oil until brown
6. Place sautéed vegetables in stock pot, add water and V8 Juice or Tomato Juice
7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, add creamo and simmer for 20 minutes or until all vegetables are tender
8. Add salt, pepper and dill weed, to taste
9. Serve hot; add a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt if you choose!
The magic to making this borscht is precooking the beets and potatoes, and sautéing each vegetable separately. It takes a little longer, but if you bypass this step the borscht never seems to taste quite as good!
1. I find borscht tends to thicken up more quickly once it’s been frozen – just add a little extra liquid when reheating;
2. Do not add the Creamo if you’re planning to freeze your borscht – add when you reheat it instead!
Food for thought:
Why did I choose to share this recipe? All summer long we’ve been getting our weekly bag of CSA produce, and in it has been an abundance of cabbage, onions and beets, some days carrots, too. We were having a hard time keeping up, so we decided to process ahead. We pre-shredded, sliced and chopped our fresh veggies into Ziploc bags, and froze them. Now when I’m ready to make up a pot of borscht, all I have to do is pull out a bag of each veggie and half the work is done!
Looking for more Make Ahead Freezer Meal Recipes?
Rosa shares a honey garlic crock pot chicken recipe you can double up and freeze.
Karen shows you how to make budget and freezer-friendly ground beef master mix you can use to make chili, lasagna, soup and more.
Jody shares a healthy southwestern squash soup that’s perfect for pulling out on chilly days.
Annalise’s white chicken chili freezes well and can be topped with fresh ingredients.
And, finally, my slow cooker chick pea curry is even better after it has been frozen. Just leave out the green onions and add when you reheat.
When freezing meals, make sure they’re cooled and then transfer to an air tight container or zip top bag. If freezing in a casserole dish or pan, top it with plastic wrap (remember to remove before heating!) and then aluminum foil. You can also wrap a plastic grocery bag around it with a twist tie for extra protection.
Now get in the kitchen and get busy!