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Make Ahead Sides for Thanksgiving

Focus on your guests instead of food prep on Thanksgiving Day

Adulthood: wearing a Punny Costume on Halloween but also hosting friends and family in the dining room of your Lee’s Summit apartment for a Thanksgiving feast. Between appetizers, side dishes and of course the turkey, there is a lot to crank out in one day. Why not make your life a little easier with these delicious make-ahead Thanksgiving side dishes?

Slow Roasted Onion Dip

There is something extra nostalgic about tearing open a packet of onion soup and mixing it with an entire container of sour cream and serving alongside sturdy potato chips. This recipe for a slow-roasted onion dip not only delivers all the flavor of “half homemade” onion dip but does so without a plethora of chemicals and sodium. You can prepare this appetizer a few days before Thanksgiving and serve cold.

Green Bean Casserole

This simple make-ahead recipe isn’t your traditional green bean casserole. Sure all the elements are there: green beans, mushrooms and onions suspended in a creamy sauce, but this recipe features healthy swaps for the nutrition-conscious guest. Enjoy fresh green beans instead of frozen, a homemade crispy onion topping to replace canned and fried onions and the elimination of canned soup for a homemade alfredo sauce. Make a few days ahead and pop into the fridge, all you need to do is bake before serving.

Smashed Potato Casserole

Amp up your potato game this Thanksgiving with this smashed potato casserole. “Smashed” versus “mashed” potatoes offer a more texture to this staple Thanksgiving tuber while cheddar and parmesan cheese add a pleasant sharpness to this easy but impressive dish. Prepare this dish the night before and bake right before serving. You can experiment with different cheese or adding a dash of cayenne pepper to liven things up.

Make-Ahead Gravy

While turkey is undoubtedly the star of Thanksgiving dinner, gravy plays an important supporting role. Not only does gravy deliver an unctuous mouth-feel to otherwise drier parts of the turkey, but it also adds a meaty flavor to meatless dishes. Use this recipe to make gravy up to 5 days ahead and avoid fussing with pan drippings and trying to assemble gravy right after the turkey is out of the oven. 


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