DIVAS ON A DIME: It’s time for make-ahead meals for the holidays

By Patti Diamond


Save time with these make-ahead meals (www.JasonCoblentz.com)

Have you ever wished the dinner fairy would appear with an effortless dinner for your family? I sure have, usually at 8 o’clock in the evening, dying of hunger, with 100 plates spinning and none of them dinner plates!

‘Tis the season for busyness beyond belief, but here’s a solution: Spend time prepping meals now in anticipation of the busy season ahead. Let’s cook pork and rice in quantity and stash them in the freezer with recipes to use them when you need a quick dinner fix.

To keep costs low, use boneless pork sirloin roasts. These small roasts are packaged in large vacuum-sealed bags and are (historically) very inexpensive. I find 6 pounds of pork yields four generous meals for a family of four. You’ll adjust the amounts to suit your family’s needs.


Yield: 12 cups/16 servings

Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

6 pounds pork roast

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place pork in large baking pan, season and cover with foil. Roast for one hour, then lower the temperature to 275 F for an additional hour. Check for a temperature above 165 F.

Let cool completely. When cool, cut your pork into cubes and divide into portions of about 3 cups each. Place the portions into zippered freezer bags. Divide any pan juices between the bags. Label and freeze.


Yield: 12 cups/16 servings

Total Time: 47 minutes

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups white or brown rice

Heat 8 cups of water to boiling. Add salt, butter, oil and rice. Return to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes for white rice, or 45 minutes for brown rice. Next, remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Let cool completely and divide into 3-cup portions. Freeze in zippered bags.

For each recipe, defrost one bag each pork and rice, overnight in refrigerator or defrost in microwave.


Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total Time: 15 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

3 cups cooked pork, cubed

1 (28 ounce) can green chili enchilada sauce

1 (15.5 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth

3 cups cooked rice

In a large skillet, saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add pork, green chili enchilada sauce, beans, broth and rice. Bring to a simmer and serve (pictured).


Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total Time: 15 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

3 cups cooked pork, cubed

3 cups cooked rice

1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup milk

1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup frozen peas

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute onion, celery and mushrooms. Add pork and rice, stirring to combine. In a bowl, stir together cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, milk and soy sauce. (If you don’t use cream soups, increase sour cream to 1 cup and add salt to taste.) Add the soup mixture to the skillet, add peas and stir. Heat through and serve.

Other recipe ideas would be BBQ pork sandwiches, stir fry, burritos or burrito bowls.

With these easy recipes you can be your own dinner fairy! Now we need a dish-washing fairy.


Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com


© 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.

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