Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving or just bringing dishes to someone else's house, cooking doesn't have to be kitchen chaos.
Get a jump on Turkey Day with these make-ahead dishes you can get done in advance! In addition to keeping well, these recipes are extremely simple. Trust me, you'll feel better knowing that at least you've got some of these in the fridge or freezer once the big day comes.
1. Cranberry Sauce
This tangy condiment is so easy to make, it's a wonder we don't have it more frequently. Simply simmer 1 bag (12 ounces) of fresh cranberries with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water until the berries pop (approximately 20 minutes). You can also add a touch of lemon or orange zest for additional flavor. Store in a glass container; this will definitely stain anything plastic.
Courtesy of Pexels
2. Twice-Baked Potatoes
Bake some scrubbed russet potatoes in a 425-degree oven for 45 minutes. Cool and slice in half, then scoop them out carefully, keeping the outer shell intact. Mash the flesh with butter and milk (start with 1 tbsp each per potato), seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon back into the shells and freeze in an airtight container. When you're ready to serve them, thaw, then bake in the oven at 350 degrees. Garnish with shredded cheese and/or chopped scallions.
Courtesy of Betty Crocker
3. Macaroni and Cheese
I have several recipes for mac and cheese that I use, depending on who I'm feeding. The Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Divas Can Cook is a classic version that uses smoked cheddar. If you can't find it, smoked Gouda will do. Ina Garten's Grownup Mac and Cheese is expensive but unbelievably rich and luxurious. Whichever recipe you use, wrap a baked macaroni and cheese twice in plastic wrap and freeze it. Warm in a 350-degree oven until heated up.
Courtesy of Southern Dishes
4. Corn Salad
This is a great, colorful salad that everyone will love. Combine 2 drained cans of Niblets with a 1/2 cup of chopped sweet onion. Marinate with 3 tbsp. each balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Refrigerate for up to two days; this will keep! When ready to serve, give it a good shake and place it on a bed of baby arugula. Shake on some feta cheese crumbles or dollops of fresh goat cheese.
5. Sweet Potato Casserole
We're talking about a basic, marshmallow-topped version here. Drain as many cans of yams as you think you'll need. Mash with a fork, dot with pats of butter, and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the butter is melted. Mix well, cover with a double layer of plastic wrap when cool, and refrigerate for up to four days. Reheat in a 350-degree oven after sprinkling on some mini marshmallows. When the marshmallows are golden brown, remove from the oven and serve.
Courtesy of Chowhound
Martha Stewart's Oyster Brioche Stuffing is my all-time favorite. That said, you should also have a backup "plain" stuffing for people who don't like seafood. I like to make a batch of Stove Top per the box instructions and add in some crumbled sausage and a little bit of chopped onion. Refrigerate the whole batch as is, then mold into stuffing balls before reheating in a 350-degree oven. They look really nice placed around the roast turkey with some garnish, and a tennis ball-sized stuffing ball is just the right portion.
Courtesy of CD Kitchen
Do you have a favorite make-ahead Thanksgiving recipe? Share the link in the comments below!