Make your favorite Thanksgiving dishes ahead of time with these make ahead recipes. You can make the creamy mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole two days before Thanksgiving. Make the spinach balls the day before Thanksgiving, and the seasoned green beans about a week before Thanksgiving. Take the make ahead side dishes out Thanksgiving morning. How easy is this?
Creamy mashed potatoes
- 5 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 3/4 cups butter (1 and one half sticks)
- 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 to 3/4 cups Half-and-Half
- Seasoned or regular salt to taste (about a teaspoon)
- Pepper to taste (about a teaspoon)
Peel and cut potatoes into pieces (each potato should yield six pieces). Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Test the potatoes by piercing with a fork; potatoes should be soft but not falling apart.
Drain potatoes in a large colander and transfer back to the rinsed out cooking pot. Using a hand masher or a hand mixer, mash the potatoes over a low heat.
Remove the pot from the heat and add butter, cream cheese and half-and-half. Mix well (use a hand mixer if you have one, if not, mash thoroughly. Add salt and pepper.
Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. This will keep up to two days in the refrigerator. Take the mashed potatoes out of the refrigerator about three hours before serving. Before baking, add a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes, place them in a 350-degree oven, and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.
Sweet potato casserole
- 4 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
- One cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup milk
- Two large eggs
- 1-teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1-tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
You can make this recipe two days before Thanksgiving. When making ahead of time, bake the casserole for recommended time but do not add the topping. Take out of the refrigerator about two hours before the meal. When ready, heat the oven to 350 degrees and reheat the casserole for about 10 minutes. Add toppings and follow recommended baking time in recipe.
Preheat oven to 400°. Bake sweet potatoes at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Let stand until cool to touch (about 20 minutes); peel and mash sweet potatoes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
Beat mashed sweet potatoes, granulated sugar, and next five ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into a greased 11- x 7-inch-baking dish.
Combine cornflakes cereal and next three ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over casserole in diagonal rows 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle marshmallows in alternate rows between cornflake mixture; bake 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Seasoned green beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 sweet bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
- One (20-ounce) package frozen green beans
- 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Combine all ingredients except cheese and place in freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
When ready to serve, heat skillet to medium-high and sauté with 2 tablespoons of water for about 8-10 min until beans are brightly colored and tender. Place in serving dish and sprinkle with cheese.
- 2 (10 ounce) boxes frozen spinach, drained well
- 3⁄4 cup melted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- Four eggs
- 1⁄2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
Roll into 2-inch walnut-sized balls.
Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.