November 21, 2011

A "Freezer Friendly" Thanksgiving

This is our first Thanksgiving, in our first home, and we are so excited!  But it is also the first Thanksgiving we are hosting for more than two people.  As of today, we'll be hosting at least 8 (possibly 10 ) adults, a 5 year old and two infants.  Whew!  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  But, with the "freezer friendly" meal plan below, I can prepare most of my dishes ahead of time and actually spend time with our families, watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and enjoy a glass (or two, or three) of wine instead of slaving away in the kitchen.  

So, here is what I'm making ahead of time for Thanksgiving Dinner!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip (adapted from

-1 package cream cheese, softened (8 ounces)
-1/4 cup mayonnaise
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
-1/2 teaspoon dried basil
-1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (14 ounce)
-1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
-1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Lightly grease a small baking dish.
2.  In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper.
3.  Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.
4.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
5.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese.
6.  Before freezing, wrap baking dish tightly with saran wrap and cover with an airtight lid or aluminum foil.
7.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
8.  Bake in a 350 degree oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Note:  Serve this yummy dip with Tostido Scoops, baked pita chips or melba toast.

Pumpkin Dip (courtesy of Katie Cook Guymon)

-4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
-2 packages of cream cheese, softened (8 ounces)
-1 can pumpkin pie filling mix (30 ounces)
-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Combine sugar and cream cheese. Beat until well-blended.
2. Beat in remaining ingredients.
3. Pour into two airtight containers and place in freezer.
4. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.

Note:  Katie was right, this makes a ton, so you can definitely cut the recipe in half.  And you should serve this delicious dip with ginger snaps.

Bread and Celery Stuffing (from
Serves approximately 10 people

- loaf sliced white bread (1 pound)
-3/4 cup butter
-1 onion, chopped
-4 stalks celery, chopped
-2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 can chicken broth

1.  Let bread slices air dry overnight and then cut into cubes.
2.  Lightly grease a casserole dish.
3.  In a Dutch oven, melt butter  over medium heat.  Cook onion and celery until soft. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper.
4.  Stir in bread cubes until evenly coated.
5.  Moisten with chicken broth; mix well.
6.  Pour stuffing into the greased casserole dish and let it completely cool.
7.  Once cool, wrap tightly in saran wrap and cover with an airtight lid or aluminum foil.
8.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
9.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 mins.

 Corn Casserole (from
Serves approximate 8 people

-1/2 cup butter, melted
-2 eggs, beaten
-1 box Jiffy corn bread mix 1 (8.5 ounce)
-1 can whole kernel corn, drained (15 ounce)
-1 can creamed corn (14.75 ounce)
-1 container sour cream (8 ounce)

1. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking dish.
2. In a medium bowl, combine butter, eggs, corn bread mix, whole and creamed corn and sour cream.
3. Pour mixture into prepared dish.
4. Before freezing, wrap tightly with saran wrap and cover with airtight lid or aluminum foil.
5. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Macaroni and Cheese (adapted from
Serves approximately 8 people

-1 box uncooked elbow macaroni (16 ounces)
-1/2 cup butter
-5 tablespoons all-purpose flour-4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
-1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-6 cups milk

1.  Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.
2.  In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a roux.
3.  Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly.
4.  Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick.
5.  Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.
6.  Let the dish cool completely, then wrap tightly in saran wrap and cover with airtight lid or aluminum foil.
7.  Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
8.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Candied Sweet Potatoes (from
Serves approximately 12 people
-4 pounds sweet potatoes, quartered
-1/2 cups butter
-3/4 cups brown sugar
-3 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
-ground cinnamon to taste
-ground nutmeg to taste

1. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and boil until slightly underdone, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and peel.
3.  In a Dutch Oven over medium heat, combine margarine, brown sugar, 2 cups marshmallows, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows are melted.
4.  Stir potatoes into marshmallow sauce. While stirring mash about half of the potatoes, and break the others into bite-sized chunks.
5.  Transfer to prepared dish and cool completely.
6.  To freeze, wrap tightly in saran wrap and cover with airtight lid or aluminum foil.
7.  Thaw overnight in refrigerator.
8.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cover top evenly with remaining marshmallows. Return to oven and bake until marshmallows are golden brown.

Don't worry, we'll still be having turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, corn bread, gravy, pumpkin pie and apple pie...but those aren't going in the freezer!  Now the only thing left to do is get organized so that everything comes out of the oven at the same time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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