7 MAKE-AHEAD THANKSGIVING RECIPES

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Thanksgiving is approaching and good organization is key. Don’t leave everything for the last day, because there are a lot of recipes you can make ahead. You can make some food even a few months earlier and freeze it, but there are also recipes you can make few days before Thanksgiving. Just put it in the freezer and reheat before serving. This way, you can save a lot of time and really focus on making that delicious turkey.

Check out these 7 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes:

1 – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

You can make this soup even one month earlier. (photo source)

This smooth and creamy soup can be frozen for a month. Just take it out of the freezer and reheat on the stove before serving. It’s a perfect dish for Thanksgiving, and when you see how easy it’s made, you’ll want to make it more often.

What you need:

  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper plus more for garnish (optional)
  • a bit of salt
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • Sour cream, for serving

How to make it:

  1. Take a large saucepan and heat the butter over medium. In the pan add the onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season all the ingredients with salt.
  2. Cook everything for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will be done when the onion is softened.
  3. Add squash, broth, half-and-half, and 3 cups water. Leave it to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 20 more minutes, until the squash is tender.
  5. Blend everything until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt.
  6. You can now freeze it and when serving, put some sour cream on it.

2 – Cranberry and Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

This sauce is a must-have for Thanksgiving dinner. Make it a few days ahead. (photo source)

You can make this sauce 4 days in advance. Just make sure it stays in the refrigerator. It’s really easy to make. Add cilantro just before serving and enjoy this sweet sauce. 

What you need:

  • tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
  • cup of orange juice
  • 16 ounces of cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of orange marmalade
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • tablespoons of minced fresh cilantro

How to make it:

  1. Take a saucepan and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the ginger and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, orange juice, and cranberries.
  2. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens
  3. Stir in the marmalade, depending on how sweet you like the sauce.
  4. Put in the freezer and heat before dinner. Add the pepper and cilantro just before serving.

3 – Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread

Pumpkin bread recipe is perfect for fall. (photo source)

Nothing says Thanksgiving better than the delicious pumpkin bread. It’s easy to make and has a wonderful texture and taste. You don’t have to put it in the freezer, it can stay in room temperature for about a day. Just wrap it in plastic so it doesn’t get dry.

What you need:

  • cup of pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of molasses
  • teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

How to make it:

  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Take a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and put a bit of oil on it.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin pie filling, oil, sugar, molasses, and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
  5. Stir the flour mixture slowly into the pumpkin mixture.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes.
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and leave it for 10 minutes.
  8. Wrap in plastic and leave it for Thanksgiving Day.

4 – Spinach and Gruyère Gratin

Spinach and Gruyère Gratin

This side dish is delicious and goes well with the turkey. (photo source)

If you like spinach and cheese together, this is a perfect Thanksgiving recipe for you, and it’s the best if you use fresh spinach. But if you don’t have any, frozen works too. You can make this tasty dish one day ahead and just reheat in the oven before serving.

What you need:

  • tablespoon of olive oil
  • shallots, thinly sliced
  • a bit of kosher salt and black pepper
  • cup of dry white wine
  • large eggs
  • cup of heavy cream
  • cup of  milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, squeezed to remove excess moisture
  • ounces of grated Gruyère
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan

How to make it:

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Take a shallow 2 ½- to 3-quart baking dish and put a bit of oil on it.
  2. Heat the rest of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated, 4 to 6 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the spinach, shallot mixture, Gruyère, and Parmesan. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes, until the spinach mixture is bubbling and the top is golden brown.

5 – Sautéed Brussels Sprouts With Bacon and Golden Raisins

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts With Bacon and Golden Raisins

Reheat this dish and it will still taste wonderful. (photo source)

Once you make this dish, you’ll want to make it all the time. It’s quick and yummy. If you’re a vegetarian, just leave out the bacon, and it will still be tasty. You can make it in the morning and reheat before serving.

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup of cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of golden raisins
  • pounds of small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • tablespoons of olive oil
  • a bit of kosher salt and black pepper
  • slices of bacon
  • small red onion, finely chopped

How to make it:

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a small saucepan warm the vinegar over medium heat. Remove from heat, add the raisins, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Drain it.
  3. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the Brussels sprouts, oil, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once, until it becomes tender and slightly golden.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet for about 6 to 8 minutes over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and crumble. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings.
  5. Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it becomes tender.
  6. Add the Brussels sprouts, raisins, and bacon and toss to combine.

6 – Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

The perfect Thanksgiving dessert. (photo source)

Let’s move to desserts. This recipe is great for having company, and we’re guessing you’ll have a few people over for dinner. You can make it 2 days ahead, and it’ll still be delicious. You’ll need to to keep it refrigerated and covered with plastic. 

What you need:

For the crust:

  • cups of graham cracker crumbs 
  • tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter

For the filling:

  • 1 0.25-ounce of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 18-ounce bar of cream cheese
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • cup sour cream
  • 3/4cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

How to make it:

  1. Make the crust: Heat oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan. Press the mixture into the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes and let it cool.
  2. Make the filling: Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup boiling water. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it dissolves. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until it becomes smooth. Mix in the pumpkin, sour cream, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Mix in the gelatin mixture until incorporated.
  3. Pour the mixture into the crust, refrigerate up to 2 days.

7 – Chocolate Pie

Chocolate pie

This classic dessert is really easy to make. (photo source)

Not everyone likes pumpkins. If you want to go with a dessert that’s really likable and easy to make, check out this chocolate pie recipe. You can make it in 15 minutes up to 2 days ahead. That’s what we call efficient.

What you need:

  • 1 can (12 oz ) of evaporated milk
  • 1 pack (5.9 oz) of chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup of mini semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 can (6.5 oz) of whipped topping
  • 1 9-inch pie crust

How to make it:

  1. Pour the milk into a medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix and beat with wire whisk until it’s well blended and the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  2. Add contents of the whipped topping can and stir gently but quickly, until well blended.
  3. Pour it into the crust and cover with plastic.
  4. Refrigerate 6 hours or until you need it.
  5. If you wish, you can garnish it with the additional whipped topping.

With these 7 make-ahead recipes, you’ll have more time to focus on decorating and preparing the turkey. Thanksgiving day won’t get crazy busy, so you can enjoy every single minute of it. When your guests finally arrive, be relaxed and enjoy delicious food and good company.

 

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