Cooking for a holiday can be overwhelming, even for the uber-organized. Below are seven make-ahead side dishes guaranteed to save you time. Thanks to Crystal Farms® for inspiring today’s recipe collection and for hosting the BONUS Crate & Barrel Nesting Baking Dish and Serving Bowl GIVEAWAY at the end of the post!
“It just isn’t a proper holiday meal if we don’t have ____________.” ← (Fill in the blank for YOUR family…)
- Candied yams?
- Homemade stuffing?
- Mashed potatoes and gravy?
- Fresh cranberries? (Or maybe jellied cranberries straight out of the can? Yes, straight-out-of-the-can jellied cranberries ARE a holiday requirement for some people I know.)
The thing is, most of our holiday “must-have” dishes seem to be rooted in our childhood memories.
So when you pull extended family all together under one roof—and several loved ones have a special “must-have” dish request—it takes a great deal of planning, coordination, and patience. Preparing a holiday feast is surely not for the faint hearted.
But make-ahead recipes can buy you TIME…
Time to greet your guests at the door, instead of being stuck prepping in the kitchen upon their arrival.
Time to spend being part of the lively conversations with your loved ones.
Time to simply breathe.
Being able to take that breath during the holidays is precisely what’s going to help you stay calm and enjoy the day.
But before we get to that list, I HAVE to ask how many of you make this holiday side-dish staple: Cheesy Green Bean Casserole?
It’s one of my husband’s must-have holiday dishes. Do you know this whip-it-together classic? The main ingredients are canned beans, condensed cream soup, Cheddar cheese (we use Crystal Farms shredded cheese) and crunchy fried onions too.
Now, personally, I love freshly sautéed green beans. So the first time I tried this holiday favorite of my husband’s made with beans from a can, I didn’t think I’d like it. But I admit, there’s something wonderfully comforting about the cheesy, gooey bottom layer under those crispy fried onions.
Since then, I’ve read variations of this recipe that use fresh, blanched green beans. But that would never fly at my house. For this must-have dish to be made “right,” my husband assures me it, it MUST have three things:
1. Canned green beans
2. Melted cheddar cheese—LOTS and LOTS of Crystal Farms Cheddar
3. Crunchy fried onions
French fried onions are required,” says the man who hates onions. The man who can spot the tiniest piece of barely there, translucent diced onion in any dish I make the rest of the year, picking it out so it doesn’t “ruin” the mouthful on his fork.
I think he overlooks the crunchy onions because this side dish reminds him of his grandma pulling the steaming casserole dish straight out of that retro oven of hers…
Here’s her Cheesy Green Been Casserole family recipe:
- 1 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 (10 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 (14 oz.) cans green beans, drained
- 2 cups Crystal Farms Shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 cups French fried onions
- Optional: 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray your casserole dish with a cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the soup, pepper, seasoned salt, garlic powder, Crystal Farms Cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce (optional), and drained green beans.
- Add the green bean mixture to the casserole dish, and top generously with French fried onions.
- Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
- Serve and enjoy!
I love that you can make this dish ahead of time, before any company arrives. Simply add some fried onions right before baking and you’re all set. This is a Thanksgiving and Christmas must-have side dish at our house.
If you’re baking multiple things at once on the big day, don’t fret too much about the temp for this cheesy casserole. It simply needs to be warmed through. If you’re baking at a higher temp, just be careful of burning the fried onions sprinkled on top. Or consider adding them in halfway through the baking process.
7 Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes That Will Save You Time
Here are a few other must-have comfort foods you can make ahead for the holidays to help give you more family time…
- Make-Ahead Sausage Stuffing
- Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- Quick & Easy Cranberry Sauce
- Make-Ahead Parkerhouse Rolls
- Broccoli Cheese Bake
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow & Pecan Streusel
- Cream Cheese Frosted Cranberry Bars
BONUS: Cheesy Green Bean Casserole (Of course!)
Now I’m not sure about your family’s makeup, but ours has a pretty diverse assortment of world views. Let’s be honest friends, this might be an interesting holiday season for us all. That’s why I couldn’t help but laugh when I came across this classic quote:
That being said…
Make sure you put smiles on everyone’s faces this holiday season by serving their favorite must-have family recipes this year!
And speaking of #CheeseLove …
What I love about Crystal Farms® products is that they’re made BY cheese lovers FOR cheese lovers.
Cheese is a big part of Wisconsin culture. We even wear it on our heads (you may have seen us infamous “Cheeseheads” cheering in the stadiums during the football season). For Wisconsinites, cheese is more than a favorite food; it’s a way of life. Which is why I trust that Crystal Farms® puts care into every slice, shred, and block of their cheese.
Crystal Farms® is nestled in the heart of America’s Dairyland, calling Lake Mills, Wisconsin, home for the past 25 years. Today, the Crystal Farms® brand is one of the largest cheese brands in the country, but the hard-working people of this small city (population only 5,708) are devoted to delivering consistent quality and great-tasting products for what they love—cheese. Crystal Farms® cheese products are natural with few preservatives, a rich source of calcium, gluten-free, and lactose tolerant.
But what I love most is their…
Small town roots. Big time quality.
Read their full story here.
Crystal Farms® Cheese Holiday Giveaway
Again, a big thanks to Crystal Farms® Cheese for sponsoring today’s recipe collection and offering this awesome GIVEAWAY:
One lucky reader will win a set of three potluck baking dishes and a classic white serving bowl from Crate & Barrel. Isn’t the color combination just retro lovely?
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Crystal Farms® Cheese. The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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