Secrets to a Successful Thanksgiving | Fast, Easy, Make Ahead

20 delicious recipes that are fast, easy or make ahead

Soups & Starters

Sounds crazy, but the key to a sane Thanksgiving is to start cooking well ahead. The recipes here were created with this idea in mind. Only the salad needs a quick last-minute tossing.

• • •  Velvety Beet Soup
• • •  Chicory-Leek Soup
• • •  Spinach and Orange Salad with Parmesan Pecans
• • •  Fresh Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallot Dip

Main Course

Turkey is so traditional, so satisfying, so...predictable. But give it a curry sauce or a teriyaki glaze and you've added an element of surprise. An even bolder move: Serve a juicy pork rib roast instead.

• • •  Pork Rib Roast with Orange-Whisky Glaze
• • •  Imperial Turkey with Curry Gravy
• • •  Teriyaki-Glazed Turkey with Shallot Gravy

Breads & Condiments

Making rolls or condiments from scratch might seem like a chapter from an over-achiever's Thanksgiving guide. But because they can be prepared days in advance, they're really the easiest part of the meal.

• • •  Onion-Buttermilk Pinwheels
• • •  Bay Leaf-Scented Spoon Rolls
• • •  Applesauce with Dried Cranberries
• • •  Port-Cranberry Sauce

Side Dishes

Beige, brown, more beige, more brown: A Thanksgiving plate can be a little drab.That's where great side dishes come in, adding a hit of color—not to mention texture and flavor—to the pigment-challenged turkey and gravy.

• • •  Roasted Broccoli with Ancho Butter
• • •  Cider-Braised Collards with Ham
• • •  Ham and Sausage Strata
• • •  Champagne-Roasted Cauliflower with Gruy�re
• • •  Spicy Green Beans with Bacon and Tomatoes


Desserts make us greedy. Appealing to our want-it-all urges are recipes that combine several favorites in one: pumpkin cheesecake with a brownie crust, say, or macaroon bars topped with chocolate-covered chestnuts.

• • •  Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Brownie Crust
• • •  Hazelnut and Raspberry Jam Linzer Tart
• • •  Carrot Cookies with Orange-Brown Butter Glaze
• • •  Coconut Macaroon Bars with Chocolate-Covered Chestnuts
PUBLISHED November 2002