Today I am sharing some make-ahead thanksgiving dishes to make your holiday a breeze!
When I was just starting out preparing for holidays as a young wife, I had no idea how much WORK it took to pull off such a feast. I struggled with being resentful that I was slaving away in the kitchen while my family and guests got to enjoy the day, but I was wiped out by the time the meal was served!
Over the years I learned that certain dishes and desserts could be made in advance, some of them could even be frozen up to a month before the big day! This made my job a lot easier!
Don’t forget to Delegate
I also realized that I didn’t have to take this task solely upon myself and could ask for help. I now delegate some of the tasks to family members and let them share in the load.
I wish that I would have known things like this when I was just starting out. So, if you are a young wife and mom, this is your sign and I encourage you to let others help you! Husbands are great at peeling potatoes and helping to assemble casseroles.(Sometimes they decide they want to do some of the cooking too, bonus!) Older children can help set the table and chop vegetables and fruits for meals. Teenagers are great at manning the stove and stirring things.
My young daughters love to help me make baked goods and decorations for the table. When it is a whole family affair, everyone sits down to the meal with satisfaction and pride that they played a role in this wonderful feast. And don’t forget to ask your guests to bring a dish to pass!
The following make-ahead thanksgiving dishes will make your holiday a breeze!
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potato casserole can be prepped by peeling and cutting up the sweet potatoes and baking them until just tender. Then, add the brown sugar, spices, flour, and butter; stir to combine so that all the potatoes are coated. Then, wrap the dish and freeze it. Thaw out the dish before baking and top it with marshmallows during the last 10 minutes of baking. Here’s a great recipe to use over at Southern Living.
Green Bean Casserole
You can assemble a green bean casserole and freeze it. Thaw before baking. Add the onion topping during the last ten minutes of baking. This post shares all the details of how to freeze it ahead. Some people don’t like freezing dishes with dairy in them but I haven’t had trouble with this dish. I think the crispy onions help keep it from getting watery.
You can make mashed potatoes ahead and freeze them. Thaw them out before reheating. If they are a little watery, just whip in some sour cream or mayo after they’ve been reheated and they be just like freshly made! Find out how at Taste of Home!
Cheesy Potato Casserole
Cheesy potato casserole (Also known as Funeral Potatoes) can be assembled and frozen ahead of time. Just reserve the topping and add it at the last ten minutes of baking time. Here’s the classic recipe and instructions.
Mac and Cheese
Cook the noodles to al dente, assemble the dish, and freeze. Thaw before baking and add your toppings at the end! Williams Sonoma Recipe is divine!
Pre-bake your dinner rolls and freeze them, then simply reheat them in the oven! I like this recipe over at Live Like You Are Rich!
Make your favorite recipe and then freeze it. Thaw before serving. This one is a good one to try!
Make the gravy ahead and freeze it. Thaw and reheat before serving. Now, good gravy takes time, and if you want traditional turkey gravy, you’ll need some turkey pieces to make it ahead. Here’s a great recipe to make your gravy ahead.
Prep the pies like you normally would, but do not bake them. Cover and freeze them instead. Bake from frozen. I usually make cherry and apple pies ahead, but not pumpkin. Pumpkin pies tend to get grainy and watery when frozen and thawed. If you know of a way to freeze them ahead successfully, I would love to hear about it in the comments! Another favorite dessert that we make and freeze ahead that is a great alternative to pie is the classic Pumpkin Roll, which freezes beautifully.
Nut pies need to be baked ahead. Cool them completely on a rack. Then, wrap and freeze. Thaw and serve on the big day! Here’s how to do it!
Cinnamon rolls can be prepped and frozen. Thaw them completely and allow them to rise before baking. This is the Cinnamon Roll Recipe I always prepare during the holidays that my family likes best, but you can use any favorite recipe of yours. When I wrote the post, I hadn’t tried freezing them yet, but I have since tried it and it works great. The key is to use good yeast and be patient for the thawing and rising part. If you do that, they will turn out perfect every time!
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