Why A Recipe That “Freezes Beautifully” Is A Southern Host’s Best Friend During The Holidays

You never know when a last-minute guest will show up at your door—and we wouldn’t dare be caught without something to serve!

If there’s one thing we Southerners know how to do right, it’s host. Being hospitable is right up there with the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule when it comes to house rules. After “yes ma’ams” and “no sirs”, the first thing we’re taught as children is how to be a gracious host. So, what makes a great host? Outside of making sure your guests feel comfortable and valued, hosting is all about the food. Because what else says, “I care,” like a homemade meal?

When the holidays roll around, Southern hosts’ already overdeveloped predilection for feeding folks kick into overdrive. Our favorite way to stock up for the season? A comforting casserole. Whether our guests are diving face-first into a classic poppy seed chicken or tucking into our famous baked ziti, they’re guaranteed to feel the love from the very first bite.

If there’s anything better than a homemade casserole, it’s one that—in the wise words of our favorite Steel Magnolia star Annelle—“freezes beautifully”. The benefits of freezer-friendly recipes, from casseroles and quiches to pastas and soups, are endless. Picture this: You come home after a long day of last-minute Christmas shopping only to find that your mother-in-law has arrived for the holidays a few days early. Not to worry—you’ve got a shrimp and grits casserole stowed in the deep freezer that’s as impressive to serve as it is simple to stick in the oven.

Other potential uses for recipes that “freeze beautifully” include feeding a troop of hungry pre-teens who have designated your basement home base for winter break; heating up for that church potluck you forgot to add to your calendar; and taking to a friend who’s going through a hard time.

There’s never a bad time for a home-cooked meal, and around the holidays, the opportunities to break bread with family and friends—both old and new—multiply. You never know when an unexpected guest will join the party, so it's wise to have some dishes on standby that you can easily heat and eat. A freezer-friendly recipe is truly a Southern host’s best friend during the holidays.

Ready to stock your freezer? Here are a few Annelle-approved recipes to get you started.

Chili Cheese Enchiladas

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Prepare this recipe as-is for vegetarian friends, or add ground beef or shredded chicken for something a little heartier.

Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup

<p>Photography and Styling: Caitlin Bensel</p>

Photography and Styling: Caitlin Bensel

There’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold night. Using rotisserie chicken significantly cuts down on the prep time, making this a huge weeknight win!

Sausage-Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Don’t forget breakfast! Nothing feels better than waking up to a hashbrown casserole complete with bubbling cheese and eggy goodness.

Pasta-Chicken-Broccoli Bake

Broccoli, chicken, and pre-made tortellini make for a filling meal. Topped with buttery Ritz crackers, this is a familiar casserole everyone will love.

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

We couldn't leave out the dish that started it all. No soaking of beans required. Annelle would be proud!

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