Preparing for the Holidays: 7 Dishes to Make Now and Freeze

Chances are, if you've reached this site, you are planning on cooking at least part of your holiday meals from scratch. Many of you may even be going the whole shebang and cooking the entire meal, from the biscuits to cranberry sauce, on your own. But who says you can't fib a little on the timing? Read on for seven foods you can make now and freeze to save a few hours when you're cooking up a storm in a few weeks.

1. Bread/rolls: Freezing bread and rolls makes for a very quick shortcut to straight from the oven (for the second time) hot, crusty goodness. Crusty bread works best for this, and put the loaves or rolls straight into the oven from the freezer for 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

2. Stuffing: I love having stuffing leftovers in the freezer and heating them up in the oven into January and beyond. Choose a recipe with freezing in mind (keep away from non-freezer friendly ingredients like apples that tend to get mushy).

3. Pie dough: Pie dough needs to chill a bit after it's made anyway, so why not skip ahead and have some ready in the freezer? Don't forget to transfer the dough to the refrigerator the night before you plan on rolling it out so it's chilled but not frozen when you need it. If you have spare pie plates or you use pie tins, go one step further and freeze after you've rolled it out and pressed it into the pans.

4. Gravy: Cut out the stress of making the gravy (and making sure you make enough) on turkey day and make it beforehand. Use bone-in turkey pieces (there's no need to cook up an entire bird) and make as usual, minus the last minute headache!

5. Casseroles: It never hurts to have a casserole in the freezer, and in the spirit of the more guests the merrier, you might want to freeze two in preparation for holiday entertaining! Check out our tips on freezing these one-dish meals so you can always count on one ready to go.

6. Cookies: Sure, homemade cookies come together pretty quickly, but when it's holiday crunch time and you've forgotten the school needs 50 cookies tomorrow morning, having a few ready in the freezer saves precious time. Whether you're freezing the dough or the already baked variety, we've got you covered.

7. Breakfast: We tend to forget about breakfast during these evening-focused months, and having a casserole or scones ready to bake can really help with holiday guests as well.

Related: Five Thanksgiving Prep Tips from Melissa Clark

(Images: My Recipes)