Start your Thanksgiving prep now with these unique, easy-to-freeze recipes from Louisiana cooks

No one needs more stress on Thanksgiving, or any extra cooking to do this time of year. Tired of making food from scratch every time you need to bring a dish to a holiday party, or sick to death of all the whisking and baking?

We’ve got some favorite easy fall recipes from local chefs and food bloggers. Here are their go-to easy-to-freeze dishes that you can make early, and then reheat for any Thanksgiving crises or surprise holiday guests.  

Lentil Loaf by The Dish

This new food stall in White Star Market is already know for its vegan-focused concept of flavorful wraps and soups.

Servings: 8

1 cup dry lentils (use green/brown)
2 1/2 cups water or veggie broth
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, grated
1 celery stalk, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cups oats
1/2 cup oat flour

For the glaze

Rinse the lentils and heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot add the water with the lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and set aside to cool for 15 minutes without draining.

In a small bowl combine the flaxseed meal and 1/3 cup of water. Set aside in the fridge for at least 10 minutes. In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrot and celery for about 5 minutes. Add the spices and mix well to incorporate. Set aside to cool.

Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend 3/4 of the lentil mixture. Combine the sautéed vegetables with the lentils, oats, oat flour and the flaxseed meal mixture, mix well. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Place the mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, leaving the paper overlapping the pan for easy removal later.

Prepare your glaze by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl until incorporated. Spread over the top of the loaf and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. 

Acadiana Table food blog’s Curried Meatballs Skillet

This recipe is great because it freezes well, feeds a lot of people, retains the flavor and texture of the dish and is really easy to reheat. Also, who doesn’t love meatballs?

Servings: 10

For the meatballs

2 pounds ground beef
½ cup grated yellow onion
1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
2 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 (13.5-ounce) cans coconut milk
2 bay leaves
4 star anise
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup chopped cilantro

In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef, onion, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, ginger, oregano, salt and pepper. Combine until thoroughly mixed. Form into bite-size balls approximately 1 inch in diameter. In a skillet with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the oil. Once sizzling, add the meatballs and sear on all sides until browned, about 10 minutes. Add two tablespoons of water to the pan and cover. Let the meatballs cook in the steam until the water evaporates, and the meat is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

To make the sauce, add the oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, white pepper, salt, Cajun seasoning and cinnamon, and sauté 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the bay leaves, star anise, honey, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.

Sample the sauce and adjust the seasonings to taste by adding more salt and spice. Combine the meatballs with the sauce and add back to the skillet. Add a garnish of more chopped cilantro and lime wedges, and serve directly from the skillet.

Hungry for Louisiana’s Sour Cream Pound Cake

This recipe from 225 contributor Maggie Heyn Richardson is perfect—pound cake is a versatile option for any occasion and lasts for months in the freezer. With this light-tasting dessert, you’ll be welcomed at any holiday party, and all you have to do is defrost it and go.

Servings: 16

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 8-ounce container sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until soft and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating at medium speed 5 to 7 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears.

Combine the flour and baking soda. Add this to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in the extracts.

Spoon the batter into a 10-inch tube pan greased and floured, or prepared with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes; remove from the pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

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