8 Holiday Recipes You Can Make Ahead of Time (Recipes Included)

I don’t say it often enough. Your key to kitchen success is making ahead whenever possible.

Especially when you entertain, and especially when it’s the holidays. You see, there is so much to do in the kitchen, that beginners often get caught off guard and run out of time. Then, mayhem.

Here are my best holiday recipes you can make ahead (start today!).

1. Healthy Green Soup. Soups are much better tasting the next day. So that’s a “make ahead” no-brainer.

2. Holiday Sausage, Cranberry, and Pistachio Stuffing. Mix the stuffing ahead of time, and cook later.

3. Green Bean Casserole. This recipe can be fully made, cooked, and then refrigerated until dinner. In fact, it will even taste better.

 4. Roasted Carrots with Cumin and Golden Raisins. This easy and delicious recipe can definitely be made ahead. Just save the cooking part for Thanksgiving Day.

5. Cranberry-Orange Relish. 
Make it today and chill it until ready to serve.

6. Ratatouille. That’s a French classic (not a movie rat!) with a delicious twist. Better yet, make it up to three days ahead. Serve it at room temperature to free up precious oven space.

 7. Stuffed Peppers. 
Don’t cook it just yet, but the recipe can be made ahead, and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

 8. Fired Eggplants. Conveniently, such a side dish can be prepared and plated in an ovenproof dish, chilled for a day or two, then popped in the oven the day of.

Some of these recipes are from my Holiday Guide mini-cookbook, which you can still get today.

RECIPES

Healthy Green Soup
Active time:
15 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Yield: 6 Servings

Edamame and pea soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon chile flakes
  • ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 5 tbsps miso paste
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 chicken sausages, casing removed and broken into pieces
  • 4 cups cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the sausage for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, chile flakes, greens, scallions, mushrooms, and the water. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Add miso paste, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off. Add herbs and lemon juice.

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Holiday Sausage, Cranberry and Pistachio Stuffing
Active time:
15 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Yield: 10 cups (1 medium turkey)

Thanksgiving Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 12 hot or mild organic turkey sausages, casings removed
  • 2 cups whole grain, unsweetened cereals (such as Ezekiel’s or Bob’s Red Mill’s), processed into crumbs
  • 3 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, unpeeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsps finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsps finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. In a food processor, process celery, onion and carrots (in batches if necessary) until they are the size of uncooked rice. Transfer to a large bowl.
  1. Add sausage and all other ingredients. Mix well.
  1. Stuff into turkey cavity; Bake turkey according to recipe.
  1. Place remaining stuffing in a baking dish and bake until golden on top, about 30 minutes.

Important note: Whether you decide to stuff a turkey or just bake the stuffing by itself, make sure you use a thermometer: the internal temperature of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees F.

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Green Bean Casserole
Active time:
30 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Yield: 6 servings

Fancy Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 3 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • ½ pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup Comte cheese, shredded (or other hard cheese)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup unsweetened, whole-grain cereals (Such as Ezekiel’s or Bob’s Red Mill’s), processed into crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add green beans. Boil for 3 minutes and drain.
  1. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add oil. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
  1. Add mushrooms and turn heat up slightly. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of pan, until mushrooms begin to sweat. Add salt to taste and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  1. Add cheese, sour cream and basil to green beans, mushrooms and shallots. Transfer to baking dish.
  1. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over top of casserole. Bake 30 minutes, until crumbs are golden brown and casserole is bubbling.
  1. Remove from heat, let sit until bubbles subside, and serve.

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Roasted Carrots with Cumin and Golden Raisins
Active time:
20 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Yield: 6 servings

Baked Baby Carrots with Thyme

Ingredients:

  • 10 medium carrots, unpeeled
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsps golden raisins
  • 2 tbsps chopped fresh tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the ends and cut the carrots in half lengthwise and crosswise. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, cumin seeds, Cayenne, salt and pepper, and thyme leaves.
  1. Place the carrots on a baking sheet in one layer. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring the carrots once, until slightly caramelized and tender.
  1. Remove the carrots from the oven when done. Sprinkle with tarragon, and raisins and serve immediately, or serve at room temperature.

Cranberry-Orange Relish
Active time:
15 minutes | Yield: 6 servings

Orange cranberry sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 
cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 
medium orange (unpeeled but ends removed)
  • ½ cup Truvia

Preparation:

  1. Slice unpeeled orange into eighths and remove any seeds.
  1. Place half of the cranberries and half of the orange in food processor. Pulse until evenly chopped.
  1. Tranfer to a bowl and repeat with the other half of orange and cranberries. Stir in Truvia to taste and store in refrigerator.

Ratatouille
Prep time:
25 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Yield: 8 servings (as a side dish)

Ratatouille in a terracotta bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, cut in medium dice
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 3 or 4 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Fresh basil leaves from several sprigs
  • Salt and black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Cut the onion, bell peppers, eggplant and zucchini in large dice. To make the tomato concassé, peel and seed the tomatoes; cut in small dice.
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, bell peppers, eggplant, and zucchini until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant.
  1. Stir in the tomato concassé, basil, and salt and black pepper to taste. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until heated through.
  1. Serve as a side dish or as a vegetarian main dish.

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour | Yield: 5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 10 large green peppers
  • 2.5 pounds 90% lean ground beef (chuck)
  • 2.5 pounds ground chicken
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1 cup pecorino Romano, grated
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 2 cups whole-grain, organic cereals (such as Ezekiel’s or Bob’s Red Mill’s), processed into crumbs in a food processor
  • 15 garlic cloves, processed
  • ½ cup olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Wash green peppers. Cut the tops off. Mix all other ingredients together (except olive oil). Stuff the green peppers.
  1. Put peppers in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with more fresh herbs (parsley, basil). Add 3 cups of water. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for an hour. Uncover for the last 20 minutes of baking. Peppers should be soft and light brown skin.

Fired Eggplants
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Yield: 8 servings

Aubergine in tomato sauce

Ingredients:

  • eggplants, peeled
  • 5 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 cup partly skimmed mozzarella
  • 4 slices of Provolone
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Trim eggplant tops and slice across lengthwise, about 1 inch thick.
  1. Spread eggplant slices on inside wall of large colander; set over a bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 30-45 minutes.
  1. Dry eggplants with paper towels. Toss eggplants in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, and grill. Reserve.
  1. Layer eggplant slices in an ovenproof dish, sprinkling parsley, mozzarella and olives over each slice. Top with tomato sauce and a slice of provolone.
  1. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
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