Thanksgiving dishes to make ahead of time - Dallas News |

Thanksgiving dishes to make ahead of time

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Chef Judie Byrd, founder of The Culinary School of Fort Worth, shares Thanksgiving recipes you can make ahead of time. LINKS: |

Praline Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, baked until very soft

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Praline Topping (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325°. Spray 2-quart baking dish with nonstick coating.

Beat together all ingredients and spread into prepared baking dish. Top with Praline Topping. Bake 45 minutes.

Praline Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup corn flake crumbs (not the cereal - this comes in a box where flour is sold)

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Use a fork to stir together brown sugar, pecans, and corn flake crumbs. Add butter and stir until completely combined.

Judie's Easy Cornbread Stuffing

Yield: about 12 ½ cups

The secret ingredient, Fritos, gives this stuffing a deep, roasted corn flavor. Your guests will rave about the rich flavor but won't be able to guess your extra touch.

1, 16-ounce bag cornbread stuffing mix

1, 9 ¾-ounce bag Fritos (or 2 cups crushed Fritos)

5 ribs celery, roughly chopped

1 large onion, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)

2 teaspoons rubbed sage

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 teaspoon pepper or to taste

2, 14-ounce cans chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly butter a 3-quart baking dish.

Place cornbread stuffing mix in a large bowl. Set aside. Place Fritos in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add to the bowl. Place celery and onions in food processor and pulse to a medium dice. Add to the bowl, along with sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to mix well. Add both cans of chicken broth and toss to mix well.

Pile mixture into prepared baking dish.* Drizzle with extra chicken stock if needed to keep dressing moist while baking 45 minutes or until center is hot and top is golden brown.

*Stuffing may be prepared up to this point, covered, and refrigerated up to 2 days before baking.

Made-from-Scratch Cornbread Dressing

Yield: 12 servings

4 cups crumbled cornbread (buy at bakery or use Cornbread recipe below)

3 cups crumbled dry bread (3 hamburger buns)

2 cups crushed Fritos (not regular corn chips - this must be Fritos)

1 large onion, chopped

4 - 5 ribs celery, chopped

2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 stick butter, melted

6 - 8 cups turkey or chicken stock

1. Combine cornbread, crumbled dry bread, Fritos, onion, celery, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper and toss well. Drizzle on butter and toss again. Add enough stock to make a very moist mixture.

2. Pile into greased, 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake or cover and freeze up to 1 month or refrigerate up to 2 days. To bake: preheat oven to 350º. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown.


1 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 425º. Spray 9 x 9-inch baking dish with non-stick coating.

2. Beat all ingredients together, spread in baking dish, and bake 25 minutes or until done in the center.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 10 - 12 servings

10 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into fourths

1 tablespoon salt for boiling potatoes

½ - 1 stick butter (to taste)

1, 15-ounce can evaporated milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add salt. Cover saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer gently 15 - 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender. Drain and return potatoes to saucepan.

2. Add butter and 1 cup milk. Use a manual potato masher to mash potatoes until smooth, adding milk as needed to make desired consistency. Stir in salt and pepper.

3. Serve immediately, keep warm on stovetop. To keep warm on stovetop, place mashed potatoes in large stainless steel bowl and set bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cover bowl with foil. Stir every so often until time to serve.

Note: To serve another day: Place mashed potatoes in a large stainless steel bowl. Cover and refrigerate. To serve, place bowl over simmering water, cover with foil, and allow to heat, stirring every so often and adding more milk if needed. This may take a 1 - 2 hours depending on how many mashed potatoes are in the bowl.

Perfect Turkey Gravy

Yield: Serves 8 (with extra so the gravy bowl isn't empty)

Gravy can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

3 ½ cups turkey stock*

3 tablespoons flour

¾ cup water

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

pinch of dried thyme

¼ teaspoon pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the turkey stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Place flour and water in a small deep bowl and whisk until smooth. While whisking furiously, gradually drizzle mixture into boiling stock. Lower heat to medium, and continue to whisk and simmer for 1 - 2 minutes. Season with salt, poultry seasoning, thyme, and pepper. Then simmer another 5 minutes, whisking often.

2. Pour gravy through a strainer to remove any lumps and return to saucepan.

*To make turkey stock, do this about 2 days ahead: Purchase a whole turkey leg or a 2 turkey wings. Place in a large pot and cover with 8 cups water. Add 1 onion, roughly chopped, and 2 bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat 45 minutes. This stock can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month.

Pumpkin Pie Dip

8 ounces cream cheese

3 cups powdered sugar

1, 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve with gingersnaps, apple slices, or crackers.

Cranberry Sauce

Yield: 6 - 8 servings

1, 12-ounce package fresh cranberries (or 3 cups)

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and simmer 15 - 20 minutes, until cranberries are tender and pop open. You can use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the tender cranberries against the edge of the saucepan.

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