Here's how to freeze foods for the holidays ahead

Your holiday meal can be special for you and a joy to serve if you take advantage of your own deep freezer. Make some dishes weeks ahead. Wrap well and store in the freezer.

Whatever your schedule allows, the main trick with proper use of your freezer is to plan ahead by checking your holiday menu to see what can be prepared ahead and frozen.

One freezer suggestion that bears repeating is to be generous with your freezer paper or foil. Double wrap if you like, but this is not really necessary. It is important, however, to keep the air from reaching the food.

Since roast turkey is a staple in many holiday dinners, the first decision is to stuff or not to stuff. This recipe for Holiday Rice can be used as a stuffing or in a casserole. Either way, it is well worth cooking ahead and then freezing. Holiday Rice 3 cups uncooked rice 1 pound country sausage 1 cup chopped celery 2 medium onions, chopped 1 green pepper, diced 1 egg, beaten Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare rice according to package directions. Drain and set aside in a colander.

In a large skillet, brown country sausage, breaking up into small pieces while it cooks. Add celery, onions, and green peppers. When they are lightly browned, add rice. Mix and cook 3 to 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl and mix in egg, salt, and pepper.

Divide and place in two 2-quart greased casseroles. Cool, seal with freezer paper or foil and freeze. To stuff a turkey, remove rice from freezer 24 hours ahead and allow to thaw in the refrigerator.

To serve as a vegetable in casserole, remove frozen rice several hours before needed. Heat at 350 degrees F. in the oven for 30 minutes or until piping hot. Norwegian Bread 5 tablespoons butter, melted 3 eggs 1 cup sugar 11/2 cups milk 1 cup raisins 1/2 cup chopped citron 5 cups flour 2 tablespoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

In a small pan, melt butter; set aside.

Mix eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, melted butter, raisins, and citron.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom. Add to liquid mixture , stirring well with a wooden spoon. When well mixed, divide and place in two well-greased loaf pans, 9 by 5 by 2 inches.

Bake l hour at 350 degrees F. Cool completely, then wrap and store in freezer until ready to serve. Thaw at room temperature for several hours before your holiday dinner.

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