Make-Ahead’s For Thanksgiving

Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato Casserole

Sure, everyone does it differently. But a typical Thanksgiving is usually composed of 3+ dishes served simultaneously. In most households the oven is occupied by the turkey which can make cooking everything you need the day-of a challenge. The solution to this dilemma? Make as much as you can ahead of time.

Because they are cooked a day or two ahead of time, most of these dishes just need a quick reheating in the oven while your turkey is resting and being carved. After the turkey is ready, it’s go time.

Not only is making as much as you can ahead of time practical, it also means you’ll have more time to enjoy the day with your family and friends, a real win-win-win!


Bacon & Herb Encrusted Goat Cheese Bites

Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Bacon Pecan Cheese Balls

Putting this adorable appetizer together is simple and enjoying it is pure bite-sized flavor-filled fun. Bacon aside, this is a mostly non-cook recipe and all the ingredients can be made ahead of time. Just keep your bacon-raisin-pecan-herb crust in a container and the goat-cream cheese mix in the fridge and assemble the day of for a festive and tasty appetizer.

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Green Beans and Bacon

Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Bacon Green Beans

Butter and bacon are a surprisingly perfect compliment to green beans, and this dish is proof. Ready in under 30 minutes, you can use fresh or frozen green beans and prepare it a day ahead of time to be reheated on the stove or in the oven. You can add some color by using yellow wax beans and give it even more flavor by sautéing the beans with garlic and onions or shallots.

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Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Gravy

Gravy takes a few hours, making it one of the smarter Thanksgiving staples that can be made ahead of time. This recipe can be prepared a day or two in advance, or a week before and frozen until the big day. Made with chicken wings, carrots and onions simmered in chicken broth with bay leaf, sage and rosemary, there will be zero complaints about this thick and gooey flavorizer. Just leave time in your Day-Of Thanksgiving plan to whisk in your flour while reheating to thicken it up and you are in for a treat.

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Honey Cornbread Muffins

Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Cornbread Muffins

Dinner rolls are cool, but cornbread is the ideal bread pairing for all those Thanksgiving favorites. These quick and easy golden muffins are the perfect compliment to your feast, with the most important ingredient being honey that keeps them excellently moist. Simply make the night before and reheat in the oven while your turkey is resting.

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Mashed Potatoes With Crispety Cruncheties

Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Mashed Potatoes With Crunchies

Topped with a smoky breadcrumb-potato chip mixture, this recipe breathes new life into mashed potatoes. The trick to a super-silky finished product is time. Time for the potatoes to roast until very tender. Time to remove the potato skins after roasting. Time to mash or pass potatoes through a ricer or food mill. And time for your seasoned milk-butter mixture to come to temperature before adding to the potatoes. The base and crunchy topping can be made 2 days ahead then reheated over medium heat.

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Simple Roasted Carrots

Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Rainbow Carrots

#OnePanWin alert! Not only are these carrots super simple, they also add a beautiful variety of color to any Thanksgiving table. It only takes 30 minutes at 425º F for them to be done, and you can reheat in the oven or on the stovetop. Roasted with just olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper, just garnish with parsley before serving.

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Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

This is one Thanksgiving side no one will expect and no one will forget. Made with shredded brussels sprouts sautéed in bacon grease with a delicious shallot-hazelnut-sherry vinaigrette, you can do most of the cooking and preparation the night before. Simply reheat your shredded brussels sprouts on the stove top, transfer to a large bowl and combine with your bacon and dressing before serving.

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Roasted Delicata Squash With Cranberries and Feta

Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Delicata Squash With Cranberries Feta and Pecans

Mild and slightly sweet delicata squash tossed in olive oil and maple syrup with cranberries, feta, pecans and chives. Even those who aren’t familiar with squash will be tempted to try it, with such a combination of tastes and textures being just as visually appetizing as it is tasty. To make it ahead, roast the squash and cranberries the night before, cover with foil and reheat just before serving. Add the feta, nuts and chives right before serving.

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Sweet Potato Casserole

Make Ahead For Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato Casserole

Considered a sort-of “pregame” to dessert for its mega sweetness, this sweet Thanksgiving staple is more like a pie than a casserole! Made with sweet potatoes that are steamed until tender then mashed with brown sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, it is extremely similar to how pumpkin pie it made. This filling is then piled into a casserole dish, topped with pecans and mini marshmallows and baked until marshmallows are toasted. You can make this dish a couple days ahead, just save the marshmallow topping until you are ready to reheat.

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Thanksgiving Tips:

  • Leave enough time to thaw your turkey. Factor in 1 day in the fridge for every 4 pounds.
  • Slow Cookers are your friend. You can use these for so many dishes that are perfect for Thanksgiving, from mashed potatoes and stuffing to veggies and pastas.
  • To let juices settle for moist meat, let your turkey rest 30 to 40 minutes after taking it out of the oven and before carving.
  • Make as much as you can ahead of time so you can enjoy more time with your guests.

November 20, 2019