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  1. #1
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    Default Stress free, make ahead "sides" for Thanksgiving

    Hi: I am a brand new "newbie"!! My husband invited my son's possible, future in-laws who will be visiting their daughter and are from the UK for Thanksgiving dinner. Coupled with my family the number for dinner will be close to 20. My daughter will be coming home for the first time since May so I would like to spend some time with her as opposed to standing over the hot stove. Any suggestions as to dishes that can be made ahead, and possibly frozen, but elegant enough to serve guests who will be in my home for the first time. I am feeling slightly stressed, not to mention what it will do to my budget. Thanks for any help provided.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stress free, make ahead "sides" for Thanksgiving

    Welcome to Budget 101, LaxMom! You have came to the right place. Relax! Take a deep breath! This is doable. A few questions--Did you want traditional sides (Like Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn Casserole, Rolls) Or did you want something different? Do any of your guests to be, have any special dietary requirements (Gluten and/or dairy intolerant, allergic to certain food) and are any of them Vegetarian or Vegan? What are your favorite foods? Most dishes can be made ahead. I have lots of recipes, and others on this site do also, so I am sure we will get this all figured out. Thanks; Virginia

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    Default Re: Stress free, make ahead "sides" for Thanksgiving

    I found a new recipe for cranberry salad that I intend to try. It can be made early and refrigerated. Calls for cranberries, jello, and pineapple. Does that sound like something you might like? How about candied apple slices made with cinnamon red hots? Glazed orange slices?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stress free, make ahead "sides" for Thanksgiving

    Thanks for the quick replies. I was hoping to do a traditional menu as opposed to trying to "go off the board". As far as I can tell, there are no dietary restrictions on their end of things. They are apparently "foodies" as their son is a chef, which only adds to my stress level. I just want to get as much done before and frozen so I have time to spend with my daughter. We are not fancy people and I know I should not even worry about trying to "put on airs", I just want it to be nice for them and have my son feel proud of his family. Any help would be appreciated.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stress free, make ahead "sides" for Thanksgiving

    Here you go! Sorry it took me so long to post these, most you will need to double.

    Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

    5 pounds Turkey Wings
    2 medium Onions, peeled and each cut into 8 pieces
    2 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons Salt (divided)
    3/4 teaspoon ground black Pepper (divided)
    2 Garlic Cloves, peeled
    2 quarts Turkey Stock, divided
    3 sprigs fresh Sage
    2 sprigs fresh Thyme
    2 sprigs fresh Rosemary
    3 Celery Stalks, each quartered
    2/3 cups Flour

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray roasting pan with cooking spray. Add turkey wings and onions. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 1 hour until turkey and onions are browned. Flip over turkey wings, add garlic cloves and bake another 15 minutes. Remove wings, onions, and garlic to stock pot. Add 1 cup turkey broth to baking pan and whisk to loosen browned bits. Add pan liquid to stockpot along with celery, herbs, and remaining turkey broth. Simmer for 1 hour. Remove solids from liquid stock. Pour stock through wire strainer to remove remaining bits. Remove grease from stock by using a grease separator or chilling in fridge so that hardened fat can be scraped off the top.
    For 5-1/2 cups of stock, make a slurry by shaking 1 cup stock with 2/3 cup of flour in a jar. Heat stock, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saucepan until steaming. Whisk constantly while gradually adding slurry to stock until desired consistency is reached. Cook on low for 10 min. Serve right away or store in fridge no more than 3 days. May be frozen for up to a month. Reheat in microwave or on stove top; add water or turkey broth to thin it, if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning.
    Makes 5 to 6 cups

    Note: To thicken gravy, for each one cup of turkey stock make a slurry of 1 tablespoon of flour to 1 1/2 tablespoons of water or broth to shake together in the jar.

    ================================================== ================================================== =====================

    Crescent Rolls

    1 1/4 cups warm Water (100 to 110F)
    2 packages Active Dry Yeast
    1/2 cup warm Milk (100 to 110F)
    1/3 cup Butter, softened
    1/2 cup Sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
    5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat and half all purpose flour)
    2 large eggs

    Place 1/2 cup warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add remaining warm water, warm milk, butter, sugar, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer. Add eggs and cup flour. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 20 minutes. Punch dough down. Roll each half to 14-inch circle. Cut each into 12 pie-shaped wedges. Roll up tightly from wide end. Curve ends slightly to form crescents. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place, until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheets; cool on wire racks.

    To Freeze: After Shaping, Place on greased baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and foil, sealing well. Once frozen, rolls may be placed in plastic freezer bags. Freeze up to 1 week.

    To use: Remove from freezer; place on greased baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheets; cool on wire racks.

    Makes 2 dozen rolls

    ================================================== ================================================== =====================

    Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

    Casserole:

    3 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
    10 ounces white Mushrooms , sliced thin
    3/4 teaspoon Salt
    1/2 teaspoon Pepper
    6 Garlic Cloves , minced
    1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
    1/4 cup all-purpose Flour
    1 3/4 cups Chicken Broth
    1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
    2 pounds fresh Green Beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    1/4 cup Cornstarch

    Melt the butter in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, stirring, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.
    In a large bowl, toss the green beans with the cornstarch until the beans are evenly coated. Transfer the beans to a 9 X 13-inch baking dish. Pour the warm mushroom mixture evenly over the beans. Let the casserole cool completely on the counter. Once cooled, cover with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.

    Topping:
    2 slices hearty sandwich Bread, white or wheat, torn into pieces
    2 tablespoons unsalted Butter , melted
    1/4 teaspoon Salt
    2 cups Canned French Fried Onions or 2 cups Homemade

    Pulse bread, butter, and salt in food processor until coarsely ground. Combine bread mixture and canned fried onions in a bowl, transfer to a zipper-lock freezer bag, and freeze. (place the topping bag right on top of the casserole in the freezer so you can keep track of both.)

    When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the layer of plastic wrap from the baking dish and replace the foil. Bake, covered, until the sauce is bubbling and the beans are tender, about 80 minutes, stirring the beans thoroughly after 50 minutes. Remove the foil and spread the frozen topping mixture over the beans. Bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Serve.
    Serves 10

    ==========================
    (In case you want to make your own instead of using canned)

    Wantabe French's French Fried Onions

    3 large Onions
    2 cups Milk
    2 cups all purpose Flour
    Salt, to taste
    Oil for frying

    Slice onions into rings. Soak them in the milk for 5 minutes. Heat the oil in a large skillet or deep fryer. Coat the onions with flour. Fry the onions in the oil. Flip and stir as needed to ensure they brown evenly. Place on paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Salt to taste.
    Store in an air tight container.

    Makes about 6 cups. 36 Servings of 2 Tablespoons each

    ================================================== ================================================== ===================

    Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole

    10 Potatoes (about 3 1/2 lbs)
    1/2 pound Cream Cheese
    1/4 cup Butter
    1 cup chopped Green Onions
    1 cup Sour Cream
    1/2 cup minced fresh Parsley
    1 pinch dried Marjoram
    Salt and Pepper, to taste
    1/2 cup coarse fresh Breadcrumbs (optional)

    In a large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes for 20 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain and let cool slightly, peel. With a potato masher, mash until smooth (do not use an electric mixer), blend in cream cheese and butter until melted. Mix in onions, sour cream, parsley, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to 8 inch (2 L) baking dish, smooth top.
    Sprinkle with crumbs, (Casserole can be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 week. Let thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours. Add 10 minutes to baking time.) Bake in 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly golden.

    Serves 10

    ================================================== ================================================== =======================

    Make Ahead Orange Cranberry Sauce

    1 (12 oz) bag Cranberries
    1/2 cup fresh Orange Juice
    1 cup Sugar
    1 tsp grated Orange Peel

    Combine cranberries, orange juice, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, until the cranberries are popped and somewhat cooked down. Remove from heat, mash lightly with the back of a spoon, stir in orange peel, and transfer to a bowl. Let cool, then refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.

    May be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to one week.

    Serves: 12

    ================================================== ================================================== ======================

    Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

    2 1/2 pounds Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
    1/3 cup pure Maple Syrup
    2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
    1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
    1/2 teaspoon Salt
    Freshly ground Pepper, to taste

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
    Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss to coat.
    Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown (45 to 50 minutes more).

    Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Just before serving, reheat at 350 degrees F until hot, about 15 minutes.

    12 servings

    ================================================== ================================================== ======================

    Fried Cornbread Dressing

    Fried Corn Bread:

    (This is best done the day before making the dressing.)

    5 packets Corn Muffin Mix (each packet enough for 6 servings) made into cornbread batter
    ================================
    (In case you want to make your own)

    Wantabe Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

    2/3 cup all-purpose Flour
    1/2 cup yellow Cornmeal
    3 Tablespoons granulated Sugar
    1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
    1/4 teaspoon Salt
    2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

    Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl, mix well.
    Whisk in vegetable oil and mix until dry mixture is smooth and lumps are gone.

    Equal to one 8.5 ounce box which is equal to 1 1/2 cups of mix

    To make muffins:

    1 Egg
    1/3 cup Milk

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, grease muffin pans or use paper baking cups.
    Combine mix with egg and milk, mixing well. Batter will be slightly lumpy. (For maximum crown on muffins let batter rest for 3 or 4 minutes, restir before filling cups. Fill muffin cups 1/2 full and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

    Makes 6 servings

    To make Cornbread: Prepare as directed for Muffins except pour batter into greased 8-inch square pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
    =======================================
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter in bottom of large roasting pan and place in the oven to melt (This will allow the cornbread to"fry" while it's baking). Pour your cornbread batter into the roasting pan and fry/bake it until golden brown.
    When done, use a knife and score through the cornbread to make very small cubes.

    Dressing:

    1 pound mild ground Pork Sausage
    2 diced small Onions
    2 cups sliced Celery
    1 pound sliced fresh Mushrooms
    @ 58 ounces Chicken Broth (4 (14.5 ounces each) cans or 2 quart jars of homemade -- use what you need for this recipe and use the rest for something else. )
    2 1/2 teaspoons Sage
    Salt and Pepper, to taste
    1/2 cup Butter

    Brown sausage in dutch oven. Add onions, celery and mushrooms and 1/4 cup of butter. Saute til sausage is done and onion is translucent. Add sage and about 3 cups of cornbread. (if you need more oil add the other 1/4 cup of butter.) Let brown a bit. Add rest of cornbread and stir well. Take dressing from dutch oven and put into the roaster pan. Drizzle with chicken broth til nice and moist. Bake at 350 for about an hour or until golden brown.


    Notes:
    It does freeze well, so it can be prepared a week or 2 before the big day, placed in Ziploc bags, and stored in the freezer. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours or so before reheating. You might want to pour some chicken or turkey broth over the top of it when you get ready to reheat it in the oven just to make it plenty moist when it's heated through.

    This makes enough for 24 to 30 servings.

    ================================================== ================================================== =======================

    Baked Corn Pudding

    2 1/2 cups Corn, fresh or frozen (thawed) or canned (drained)
    1 Tablespoon Sugar
    1 teaspoon Salt
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper (or white pepper)
    1 1/2 Tablespoons Flour
    2 1/2 Tablespoons melted Butter
    3 Eggs, beaten
    1 cup whole Milk
    1 teaspoon Vanilla
    dash Cinnamon
    pinch Nutmeg

    Mix ingredients and pour into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 minutes.

    It can be made the day ahead and reheated.

    12 servings

    Hope this helps. Thanks; Virginia

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stress free, make ahead "sides" for Thanksgiving

    Oh my what an angel you are Virginia for sharing all those recipes. I had no idea you could make gravy ahead of time! All the recipes seem delicious. Any favorites that you truly must have at your table on Thanksgiving? I am definitely going to make the gravy and potatoes which will alleviate some stress the day of. You have been a great help. I truly appreciate you taking the time to respond. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stress free, make ahead "sides" for Thanksgiving

    There are also quite a few Thanksgiving Recipes here:

    Budget101.com - - Frugal Thanksgiving Recipe and Decoration Ideas

    The broccoli casserole recipe is always a Hit & is easy to make ahead.

    The Pumpkin Cream Dream is another super easy throw together appetizer/dessert style recipe. It keeps the kids out of your hair while you're getting things together

    GroceryBudget101.com- - Pumpkin Cream Dream | Fluffy Pumpkin Dip
    ~Liss~
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    **The happiest people are not those with the best or the most of everything, The happiest people know how to make the best of everything they have.**

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Stress free, make ahead "sides" for Thanksgiving

    Liss Oh, now I am also definitely making the pumpkin cream dream too ~~sounds so yummy. Thanks for all your help and advice. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 
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