Festive Make-Ahead Meal Ideas

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Get ahead with your holiday cooking and baking -- and save time on the day of your get-together -- with these delicious recipes.

Coq au Vin Stew

Beefy onion soup mix and red wine combine with chicken thighs, mushrooms, and onions for a stew that's luscious and comforting on a cold winter day.

Slow-Cooker Holiday Pork Stew

Take 30 minutes to prepare this stew, then let your slow cooker do its magic. Pop it in the freezer for safekeeping for up to a month!

Chicken-Leek Casserole

A delicate cream-and-wine sauce makes this delightful dish sing.

Jeweled Spaghetti Squash

Chock-full of dried cherries and toasty walnuts, this tart-sweet side dish is scrumptious served alongside holiday beef or pork roast. It may become your family's new favorite holiday side.

New Sweet Potato Casseroles

You can top this modern spin on classic sweet potato casserole with chunks of pineapple and creamy blue cheese (shown here), or you can try one of our other fresh topping ideas: peanuts and coconut, bacon and rosemary, onion and garlic, or smoked almonds.

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins

A rich spinach-and-cheese filling jazzes up roasted turkey.

Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna

Layers of tangy peppers and creamy goat and ricotta cheeses put a festive spin on classic lasagna.

Easy Crab Bisque

Serving rich and creamy bisque is a delightful way to indulge your guests -- and you can make this easy, elegant recipe the night before.

Stove-Top Holiday Apple Cake

This apple-and-spice cake is oh so nice. It simmers for two hours and then keeps up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Pecan Cakes

You can bake these buttery cakes and freeze them for up to a month. Powdered sugar, fresh raspberries, and shredded orange peel make a beautiful (and tasty) topper.

Scarlet-Swirl Cheesecake

Each wedge of creamy cheesecake reveals a layer of deliciously tart cranberries baked inside.

Chocolate-Peanut Ice Cream Cake

This layered frozen dessert is ultradecadent -- and a proven crowd pleaser with its crunchy, nutty layer.

Rum and Eggnog Cakes

The creamy, spicy flavor of eggnog makes these little cakes sing. If you don't have individual fluted tube pans, make the dessert in a 10-inch fluted tube pan instead.

Ginger Pound Cake

Pound cakes are noted for their tenderness and velvety texture. This one is spiced with both ground ginger and chopped crystallized ginger.

Dark Chocolate Mini Muffins

These muffins are a sweet treat -- and the recipe calls for applesauce, which cuts down on fat and calories without sacrificing moistness.

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