Thanksgiving may feel like a big undertaking when you have so many side dishes and pies to make in addition to the largest piece of meat you cook all year. However, a lot of the meal can be made ahead and frozen so all you have to do is reheat when the turkey is resting.
Even better with Souper Cubes, if you are making Thanksgiving for only a few people, you can reheat just the amount you want to serve instead of entire portions of all the sides and desserts. Then you can have extra portions of all the sides to reheat whenever you need, Thanksgiving or not.
Here are our tips and tricks for making sure all your Thanksgiving dishes taste the same as if they were freshly made.
Tips for Freezing and Reheating Food
New to freezer meal prep? Check out our Ultimate Guide To Freezer Meal Prep. Here you'll learn everything you need to start freezer meal prepping, how to freezer meal prep, food safety, how to avoid freezer burn, and the joy of freezing in smaller portions. For example, freezing in smaller/individual portions allow you to heat your food up more quickly if you can’t thaw everything in advance.
The best part is if you're having a smaller gathering, prepping ahead and freezing in portions means you can still enjoy all of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes without being afraid of eating leftovers for weeks.
Best Sides for Prepping Ahead
Several of the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes can be made ahead and frozen, including:
- Mac & Cheese
- Mashed Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole
- Sausage Stuffing
- Dinner Rolls
Tips for Freezing Sides
- Freeze the base, not the topping. Garnish or top with anything crunchy (like fried onions) or fragile (like meringue) when reheating.
- Assemble but don't bake casseroles. This will make the final product taste freshly baked instead of mushy and simply reheated.
- Let cool before freezing. This will also help casseroles keep from getting mushy.
Best Sauces for Prepping Ahead
Cranberry Sauce, Herb Butter and Turkey Gravy not only are easy to freeze, they actually taste better when made-ahead because the flavors have more time to blend together.
Tips for Freezing Sauces
- Wait to add dairy. If you are making gravy that usually includes milk or cream, add it when you reheat instead of before you freeze. This will help make sure your gravy stays smooth.
- Freeze in 2 Tbsp, 1/2 cup or 1 cup portions to make reheating even faster and to only thaw what you think you'll need.
Best Desserts for Prepping Ahead
Classic pies, such as pumpkin and apple, can be fully baked, cooled and frozen in their pie tins. If you'd rather make portion-friendly make-ahead desserts, try one of these delicious desserts:
- Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding (freeze assembled but not baked)
- Single-Portion Apple Crisp
- No-Bake Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Bites.
Tips for Freezing Desserts
- Let cool before freezing. This will keep the desserts from getting mushy.
- For the best pie, freeze crust and filling separately. For example, we like to make our apple pie filling ahead of time and freeze in the Souper Cubes.
And don't forget if you have family in town, it's great to prep other treats ahead of time. Keeping a stash of mini Blueberry Banana Bread and Oatmeal Cookie dough in the freezer means you also can have breakfast or dessert ready in minutes.
We would love to hear your ideas or better yet, post a photo of your cubes organized in our Freezer Meals & Recipes Facebook Group!