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Savor the Season with Effortless Holiday Meal Prep


The holidays are a time to warm our souls and our bodies. Sitting down with the people we love and sharing a delicious meal together keeps us connected to each other and to our family traditions. The smell of turkey roasting in the oven or the taste of grandma’s sweet potato pie can transport us back in time to those special shared moments.

This holiday season, we want to help you create more memories and less stress by simplifying your holiday meal prep. Pacific Foods has the products and recipes to help you strategize, organize and prepare ahead of time. That way, when it’s time to celebrate, you can trade your apron for that beloved ugly sweater and a glass of bubbly. 

The benefits of doing holiday meal prep

According to the USDA, Americans spend an average of 37 minutes per day preparing food and cleaning up. When the holidays hit, that time can increase dramatically—and our anxiety along with it. 

The time it takes to chop, measure and mix adds up, and you soon realize that the prep work is the most exhausting part of cooking. With some careful planning, you can turn your food preparation marathon into a few short jogs.

Save yourself time

Before you’re knee-deep in mistletoe and eggnog, set yourself up for success by reducing the amount of prep work you need to do. By following simple steps and strategies, you can create easy but satisfying meal plans that crowds of any size will savor. 

Instead of making time-consuming stock for dishes like soups and stews, use a variety of Pacific Foods stocks and broths from your pantry shelf. Find everything you need, from nutrient-rich bone broths to organic chicken stock. Our vacuum-sealed packs give you the great taste of homemade stock with the convenience of a long shelf life.

Reduce holiday stress

Holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about preparing regular meals. For those days when you’re not cooking a big meal for guests, going into your menu with a clear plan and timeline can reduce unneeded mental overhead. 

When you just don’t have time to cook a meal from scratch, Pacific Foods soups and chilis can be a lifesaver. After a frosty expedition to the sledding hill, everyone will appreciate a warm, nourishing bowl of goodness. From traditional Chicken and Wild Rice to hearty Plant-Based Chili, we have a soup to warm everyone at your table. 

Avoid chaos

Don’t tempt Murphy’s law. With your meals prepped ahead of time, you minimize the potential for chaos and maximize the potential for fun.

Stocking up on the ingredients that make meal prep easy and accommodate a variety of diets takes the uncertainty out of hosting. Pacific Foods plant-based milks and Organic Unsalted Chicken Stock save the day when your guests have unexpected food restrictions. 

Planning your holiday menu

It’s not easy to please everyone, but a mix of traditional favorites and new and unique recipes should ensure that everyone walks away with a clean plate. Inquiring about people’s food allergies, dietary restrictions and meal preferences ahead of time allows you to compile a menu that checks all the right boxes. 

The Fresh Ideas blog is a great springboard to get your meal planning wheels turning. We’ve assembled lists of some of our favorite recipes by meal type, course, and occasion. Here are a few to get you started:

To keep yourself in celebration mode, consider balancing out more involved dinners like baked pumpkin goat cheese risotto with quick seasonal favorites like squash soup. You’ll save time and sanity while delivering wholesome dishes that everyone will love.

When dealing with dietary restrictions, Pacific Foods has plenty of creative options to sate every type of diner. For vegetarians, consider a crowd-pleasing spin on an old favorite, such as coconut cauliflower tacos

For those who can’t tolerate dairy, we have blog posts covering some of our favorite simple dairy free recipes, dairy free dinners, and dairy free baking recipes. Oat milk, hemp milk and soy milk make great substitutes for conventional dairy products. 

Creating a holiday meal prep schedule

Don’t wait until the last minute. Put your prep schedule together as soon as you know which meals you’re responsible for. Follow these three steps to create a holiday meal prep schedule that keeps you ahead of the game:

  • Set a timeline
  • Divide tasks into days or weeks leading up to the event
  • Create a checklist of essential tasks

Efficient grocery shopping

We all know the grocery gridlock the holidays can create. To beat the rush, do your shopping well in advance and go at times when there is less traffic. You’ll ensure that you have everything you need well in advance and save valuable time that can be used for food preparation.

Preparing ingredients in advance 

Get a jump on your holiday food preparation one task at a time. You can prep items like vegetables, herbs and other ingredients in short shifts and be ready to throw it all together at a moment’s notice. Be sure to follow USDA Guidelines for Storing Food. These include:

  • Refrigerating perishables within two hours
  • Storing chopped fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator in covered containers or in the freezer in plastic freezer containers
  • Keeping your refrigerator at 40°F or below and the freezer at 0°F or below
  • Cooking or freezing beef, veal, lamb or pork within three to five days
  • Cooking or freezing fresh poultry, fish, ground meat and other meat within two days

Cooking and freezing ahead

There are few better feelings than having an entire dinner prepped, cooked and safely stored in the freezer. According to the USDA Food Storage Chart, leftovers, soups and stews will keep for one to three months in your freezer. So, you can prepare well in advance without worrying if your meals will still be good.

The USDA recommends thawing out food in the refrigerator to minimize the growth of bacteria as it warms. Just be sure to plan ahead; take your frozen masterpiece out the day before you plan to serve it and place it in the fridge.

Dealing with leftovers creatively 

Leftovers are the holiday gift that keeps giving. Whether you pass them on or repurpose them, don’t let the good food that you worked so hard on go to waste.

The most classic method of using up leftovers is the sandwich. Turkey, ham and chicken all make for great options. Mix things up by making a chicken salad sandwich or a hot turkey and dressing sandwich. Use the leftover cheese from the cheese tray to make grilled cheese and ham and serve with Pacific Foods Creamy Tomato Soup. 

Leftovers can live again as ingredients in new dishes. Saute vegetables with garlic and herbs as a side or in pasta. Repurpose mashed potatoes into potato pancakes and top them with applesauce. Mix that unused cranberry sauce into a lovely vinaigrette or bake it into a bread. There’s no limit to the creative ways your leftovers can be used.

Make your holidays brighter (and less stressful) this season

Happy holidays from the team at Pacific Foods! We hope our many products can be instrumental in reducing the burden of your holiday meal preparation. By planning ahead, using the right ingredients and pacing yourself, you can deliver delicious food that friends and family will talk about for years to come.