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Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

Posted in Main Blog
November 18, 2015 by Jenn R. Share on: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Bart Simpson filling dish with cranberry sauceFor the first time, I am hosting Thanksgiving for both my family and my husbands’ family. I’m excited but I’ll be honest, I’ve never even cooked a turkey before! We’ve had “friends-giving” in the past but we either deep-fried the turkey or wrapped it in bacon and smoked it for 8+ hours, and my husband was in charge of those ones. So yes, I am extremely nervous. Thankfully, I’ve assigned each family member a side dish or dessert to bring to limit the work I have to do. And (let’s keep this part a secret) I’ve found some pretty awesome make-ahead recipes to help me survive the day. Here are a few of my favorites that you may want to use for your turkey day!


I’ve tasked my brother-in-law with bringing an appetizer. I honestly have no idea what he is going to bring so figured I’d make one too, just incase. Rosemary Pecans can be prepared 1 week in advance and stored in an airtight container.

Essential Sauce

When I think Cranberry Sauce, I can’t help but think of “Cranberry Sauce a la Bart.” 

But if you want to step up you game a bit, a few days before the big feast, make this cranberry sauce and store it in the refrigerator until your turkey is done.

Side Dish

There’s something about my Mom’s mashed potatoes, they are simple, yet I can’t replicate them, so that’s what I’ve asked her to bring. But since I’ll be up early on Thanksgiving morning to get good old Tom the Turkey into the oven why not cut up some sweet potatoes too. These spiced sweet potato wedges can be seasoned 2 hours before cooking. Or you can even make them a day ahead of time and reheat them when you are ready.


My brother makes an awesome Pumpkin Pie and I know my mother-in-law will be bring at least one other pie, so we’ve got the main desserts covered. But after eating all that turkey, it might be nice to have something a little lighter. Spiced pumpkin bread can be made a day ahead of time, and still tastes just as fresh and airy.

What’s your favorite make-ahead recipe tip?

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