A creamy cannelloni on a golden Christmas table

The holiday season is a joyful yet often chaotic time, filled with decorating, parties, and lots of gift shopping. With your packed schedule, finding the time to prepare a traditional Christmas feast may seem like an impossible feat. 

This is where the magic of make-ahead holiday meals comes into play. With make-ahead Christmas dinner recipes, you can prepare even the most elaborate meals in advance, reducing your kitchen time on the big day, so you can better savor the merry moments with your loved ones. 


Make-Ahead Gourmet Dinners: 3 Easy Holiday Recipe Ideas

Say goodbye to the stress of last-minute cooking and embrace a more relaxed and enjoyable holiday season. Here are some delicious and easy make-ahead Christmas recipes to help you stay on top of your holiday game.


1. Chicken Gratin

Chicken Gratin


Impress your guests this Christmas with a delicious and comforting Chicken Gratin. This hearty yet simple make-ahead Christmas dinner item can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for up to a month, making it a convenient option for the busy holiday season.


  • 18 oz Buddig Fix Quix Grilled Chicken Breast Strips, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 17 fl oz milk
  • 5 oz frozen peas
  • 2 oz plain flour
  • 3 oz butter
  • 2 medium floury potatoes
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard


  • Preheat the oven to 356°F. 
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and chicken and cook for 10 minutes until the onion is softened. Remove from heat, then drain the mixture.
  • Stir in the peas and transfer the mixture to a sieve set over a bowl to drain excess moisture.
  • Set aside 1 teaspoon of butter. In the same pan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from heat and gradually mix in the milk until smooth.
  • Return the pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and smooth, for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the thyme and mustard, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce into a large ovenproof dish and stir in the chicken mixture.
  • Arrange the thinly sliced potatoes in a single layer, slightly overlapping, on top of the chicken mixture. Brush the melted butter lightly over the potatoes and season with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly golden and tender.
  • Leave it to cool before popping it in the freezer.


2. Ham and Cheese Cannelloni

Ham and Cheese Cannelloni

Source: Envato

A Christmas favorite, cannelloni isn’t just delicious but also incredibly convenient to prepare ahead of time. You can freeze it before or after cooking for up to three months, giving you plenty of flexibility. (If you don't want to freeze it, you can assemble the cannelloni up to a day ahead and just refrigerate until ready to bake.)


  • 8 oz Buddig Premium Deli Smoked Ham
  • 8 fresh lasagna sheets
  • 25 oz ricotta
  • 1 ½ oz Arugula, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella, grated
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • ¾ cup bottled tomato pasta sauce


  • Preheat the oven to 360°F. Lightly grease the base of a large ovenproof baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, ham, Arugula, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  • Cut the lasagna sheets into 14cm x 16cm pieces.
  • Place approximately 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture along the center of each sheet.
  • Roll up the sheet to form a tube.
  • Continue the process with the remaining ricotta mixture and lasagna sheets, creating a total of 8 tubes.
  • Spoon the tomato pasta sauce into the base of the greased baking dish.
  • Arrange the tubes side-by-side in the baking dish.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil over the tubes, then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden.


3. Cottage Cheese and Honey Ham Muffins

Cottage Cheese and Honey Ham Muffins

These delectable muffins are make-ahead Christmas side dishes you can keep on the counter or in the fridge for up to one week. You can also store them indefinitely in the freezer, but it's best to consume them within three months. They’ll make great additions to a make-ahead Christmas buffet!


  • 1 ½ oz Buddig Original Honey Ham
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin pan with non-stick spray or line it with paper cupcake liners.
  • In a medium bowl, combine room-temperature butter and sugar. Use a hand mixer to cream them together until smooth.
  • Add the egg and milk to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix everything together, and then stir in the cottage cheese and ham.
  • In a separate large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix them together well.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the greased muffin pan cups.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Create a Delicious Make-Ahead Christmas Dinner with Buddig

Whether you're hosting a holiday dinner party or just having friends over for a casual get-together, these make-ahead Christmas dinner recipes from Buddig can save you time and stress. And with a variety of delicious flavors and convenient packaging, Buddig lets you focus on assembling holiday meals at your own pace.

To start your stress-free holiday cooking experience with Buddig, find the closest store near you and grab your favorite flavors today.

Find Buddig Products and Be Ready for Lunchtime Anytime

Buddig offers a variety of affordable and packed-to-go lunchmeat, sliced just right for any meal. Find a store near you that carries all our delicious flavors. With no gluten or MSG, you can enjoy lunchmeat that tastes good, and really IS good.

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