13 Savvy Make Ahead Recipes To Simplify Holiday Cooking

With the countdown to Thanksgiving, it’s crunch time in the kitchen! To help make cooking less stressful, I’m sharing 13 savvy make ahead meals to cook now~serve later this week (or next month for Christmas dining). All are easy, family friendly, Tarence approved favorites! 

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 12.56.42 PM By now, most of us have our Thanksgiving meal planned and ready to execute. But what about the other meals surrounding the holidays? After the grand Thanksgiving feast, real life continues. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Life in the kitchen rolls on and on…..

The savvyiest solution to feeding our families well without stressing all day in the kitchen is to have a go to stash of make ahead recipes.  These can make the holidays~or any days~full of good food for all~but minus the stress for mama (or whomever holds the title of family chef).

Here are 13 favorites that I have made time and again. They are all super easy, delicious, and easy to freeze (or refrigerate) days or weeks ahead of time.

I hope one or more of these works for you. I always love hearing back from readers. Thanks so much for visiting my site. As always, be blessed, and stay savvy!


chicken tetrazzini



My favorite Chicken Tetrazzini: Make Ahead & Freezer Friendly is the perfect freezer meal to have on hand for the holidays. Serve with a favorite green salad and rolls, and dinner is on the table!







Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is another chicken casserole that most folks will love. Serve with a salad or green beans, and you are good to go!




Mississippi Green Beans



And speaking of green beans, these Mississippi Green Beans are beyond fab! An all day or overnight marination gives them wonderful flavor. The day of serving, simply place into a dish and bake for an hour. Easy peasy!




Baked Ziti for A Crowd



Have a house full of guests? Best Ever Baked Ziti For A Crowd can save the day! It will feed a small army, and who doesn’t love pasta, tangy sauce, and tons of cheese?






If a slow cooker make ahead meal is your preference, try My Favorite Spaghetti Sauce with Meat. Keep a batch of this yummy sauce in the freezer to have on hand when company comes. Simmer all day in the slow cooker, add pasta, bread & salad, and you’ll have a feast for family or guests.




Mitt Romney's Mini Meat Loaves


Mitt Romney’s Favorite Meat Loaf is our favorite meat loaf, too. These spicy, miniature loaves are delicious served with green beans and 4 Cheese Potato Casserole with Chives.  Simply mix and assemble the loaves, freeze, and thaw later to cook and glaze. Home cooking at its best!




Gourmet Gruyere Grits


Every year, I make these Gourmet Gruyere Cheese Grits the day after Thanksgiving to go with the filet mignon meal that is our tradition at the lake gathering. There is no better cheese grits casserole (or if there is, I haven’t found it).



fallen chocolate soufflé



Fallen Chocolate Souffle Cake is likely the most deeply chocolatey and decadent dessert you’ll ever make. It is gluten free and fabulous. I keep one in the freezer before holidays, fully cooked, and simply thaw several hours before serving.



spinach, bacon & Swiss buttermilk quiche



This Spinach, Bacon & Swiss Buttermilk Quiche can be made ahead and kept in the fridge a few days ahead or the freezer up to a month ahead. It is truly delicious, and even kids will devour it.




sausage & Gruyere grits casserole (make ahead)



Another make ahead breakfast favorite is Sausage & Gruyere Grits Casserole. This recipe can be easily adapted and toned down according to one’s tastes, but this version is a kickin’ & flavorful Tarence favorite!





glazed triple chocolate bundt cake


Glazed Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake is my go to chocolate cake. Everyone loves it. This cake does well frozen up to four weeks ahead. Simply bake, cool, and freeze (wrapped well). To serve, thaw several hours ahead, and glaze at least two hours before serving (time needed for glaze to set).





Funfetti Bundt Cake With Almond Glaze



While we’re talking sprinkles, this Funfetti Bundt Cake with Almond Glaze is another make ahead option to serve at holiday gatherings. The cake can be baked, cooled and frozen. Before serving, simply thaw to room temp, glaze, and add sprinkles. Fun and festive!


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