Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Make-Ahead Dishes for Thanksgiving


Recommended Posts

I haven't been with my family for YEARS during Thanksgiving, so this year is the year that I'm making it happen. My husband will be staying home to take care of our furry babies. And, he'll be going to his side of the family's Thanksgiving dinner. We need to supply a salad (not like a jello or fruity type) and a pie. He could handle a salad assembly, but definitely not a pie. Hell, I can't make pies, either. Crust is the enemy.

Any ideas of something I could make for both that would stay ok for three days before hand?

Pies that use graham cracker crust??? Cheesecake???


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does it have to be a pie-shaped pie?

I was planning on making Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares for the Chancellor of the school where work. No difficult pastry crust to deal with, and it's pretty much just like a pumpkin pie (except for the streusel topping, which I was planning on leaving off). The oatmeal crust makes it less pie-like, though, so people may complain about that.

For the salad, pretty much any dressing can be made up a few days ahead. Just put it in a leak-proof container, so he can transport it along with the rest of the fixings, and toss onsite. I'm partial to coleslaw (which could then be mixed with the dressing the morning of or day before) or any kind of green salad that has mandarin oranges and nuts. You could portion out the ingredients in containers, so all he would have to do is mix.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For salad, you could consider a marinated cooked vegetable salad that's supposed to sit in the fridge for a while. A marinated bean salad, too. Maybe Vegetables A La Grecque? Something like this. http://fooddownunder.com/cgi-bin/recipe.cgi?r=139770

For pie I suggest Georgeanne Brennan's Chocolate Walnut Tart. You can cook this in a graham cracker crust (and that might be better, given the 3-day storage). The filling is like soft fudge, very easy to make, very delicious. It should keep fine for 3 days. I can't say for sure, since I've never had any that's stayed around that long.

Chocolate Walnut Tart (last recipe on the page): http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...e&sn=049&sc=211

Link to comment
Share on other sites

how about:

Sophia's Layered Salad

Fresh Spinach broken into pieces

salt, pepper, sugar

1/2 # crumbled fried bacon (optional-not!)

4 to 6 chopped hard boiled eggs

chopped lettuce

Thawed uncooked peas

sliced sweet onion

mayonaisse-Hellman's of course

Coat top with mayonaisse like frosting.

Top with either cherry tomatoes or strips of cheese

Refrigerate for several hours

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not 100% sure about the 3 days in advance part, but I have made this Fudge-Pecan Pie 2 days in advance and it holds up fine.

Trust me when I say that this is easy. You can buy a frozen pie shell at the supermarket and use that. I've made this pie several times and nobody will be wondering why the crust was not made from scratch -- they will be too busy swooning over the chocolately goodness that is this pie!

This Apple \-Cranberry Crumb Pie is another one that is super-easy and delicious. The most annoying part is peeling and cutting up the apples, and even that's not really that bad. It is delicious.

I can't see why either of these pies can't be made a week or so in advance and frozen, to be defrosted the day before. Any thoughts on that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about Paula Deen's pumpkin gooey butter cake? Your husband could probably do it himself, even.


Have you ever made it? I'm just wondering what it tastes like--a 16 oz box of powdered sugar seems like an awful lot.

Well, Paula is a Southern girl who likes her sweets, that's for sure. I did make it before and from what I recall, the crust actually seemed sweeter than the filling did. It would be easy to reduce the sweetness of the recipe, however, by not using the entire box of powdered sugar and/or replacing some of the cake mix with AP flour.

Edited by sheetz (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure what your requirement is for not a fruit salad but we always make a cranberry orange salad (relish) that everybody loves. It's actually better if it's made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Here's the recipe I use:


1 lb Cranberries, raw

3 oranges, unpeeled, without seeds

granulated sugar to taste

Grande Marnier as desired


Coarsely grind the cranberries and oranges in meat grinder or food processor. Sweeten to taste with granulated sugar and then add Grande Marnier if desired.

I like the texture better when I use the grinder but it's much quicker using the food processor. I use Naval oranges.

I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Assemble an apple pie of your choice (I use RLB's Pie & Pastry Bible All American Apple Pie - a classic double-cruster). Stick it in the freezer unbaked. Bake directly from frozen it whenever you want to serve it - will take about 15-20 minutes longer and may need a foil collar to keep the rim of the pastry from getting too done. I bake all of my fruit pies for Thanksgiving this way - and am getting ready to make the apple pie tomorrow.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm lost on the dessert (mostly because I'm not a sweet person), but for the salad, think green. Get everything prepped and in ziplock bags, with a jar for the dressing. So much of what is on a holiday table is so mushy, think crunch!Stick the ziplocks and jar of dressing in the bowl in the fridge with tongs or spoons for tossing, and voila!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...