and Baked Ziti with salad and garlic bread.
This habit comes in handy at Thanksgiving, especially when the fourth Thursday in November falls early like it does this year. My Thanksgiving menu will be reminiscent of years past which, in reality, is almost identical to what my mother served every year at Thanksgiving.
There will be slices of roast turkey on a colorful turkey serving platter and a big bowl of Cornbread Dressing. To save time, I bake the frozen biscuits and packaged cornbread mix the day before. The recipe makes a lot -- 8 to 12 servings -- so if there's any left, you can freeze it and use it later.
A lot of people serve mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, but my mother always served Potato Salad and so do I. In fact, it's the only Thanksgiving recipe I use that came from my mother. This tasty side dish can be made one or two days ahead of time. You can substitute a 24 ounce package of Ore-Ida Steam 'n Mash cut Russet potatoes and avoid peeling, dicing and cooking the potatoes.
If you prefer sweet potatoes, I've got two recipes to share. Sweet Potato Souffle, a fancy name for sweet potato casserole, can be made with three pounds of sweet potatoes or a package of Ore-Ida Steam 'n Mash cut sweet potatoes. It can be made a day or two ahead of time and reheated in the oven or microwave. If you leave it in the dish you baked it in, no one will even know it was made ahead of time.
Quick and Easy Candied Sweet Potatoes are a nice alternative to the traditional casserole. You don't have to peel potatoes because this recipe uses canned sweet potatoes. Unlike the sweet potato souffle that can be made ahead of time, this is best made right before serving. It only takes a few minutes and is cooked on the stove top, which is helpful when the oven is already being used.
If you're a cranberry lover like me, I've got three tasty recipes that share some of the same ingredients, but with completely different textures. The first one, Cranberry Orange Relish, is a sweet-tart combination made with fresh cranberries, apple, orange, pineapple and sugar. It can be made up to two weeks ahead of time and stored in the freezer.
Southern Cranberry Salad is a congealed salad that combines whole berry cranberry sauce, mandarin oranges and pineapple with cherry gelatin. It can be made a couple of days ahead of time.
Cranberry Orange Casserole also uses whole berry cranberry sauce and mandarin oranges, but not pineapple. The sauce and oranges are combined with lemon juice and sugar and baked in the oven. Unlike the other two cranberry recipes that can be made ahead of time and served cold, this one is best served hot from the oven. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
My mother made homemade rolls from scratch, but I use a bread machine to make One Hour Buttermilk Rolls, which means they take longer than an hour to make. If you don't have a bread machine, the recipe includes directions for making the rolls by hand. The rolls can be made a month ahead of time, stored in the freezer and reheated in the oven or microwave.
To quench everyone's thirst, I serve Fruit Tea. This sweet tea is combined with pineapple juice, lemon juice and, the secret ingredient, ginger ale. It's best made the day it's served.
I'll be posting some new Thanksgiving recipes next week, including a dessert that combines two traditional Thanksgiving flavors.