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Thanksgiving dinner hacks: Put it together and go

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Posted at 4:21 PM, Oct 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-06 15:31:51-05

The age-old holiday dilemma: Forgetting you’ve been asked to bring a dish until the hour before piling the family into the car.

Here are four quick, foolproof, sure-to-please dishes that will be a welcome addition to any holiday meal.

Have a quick, easy favorite holiday recipe? Share in the comments below.

Garlic and Herb Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 24-ounce package refrigerated mashed potatoes or 3 cups prepared instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 5.2-ounce container semi-soft cheese with garlic and herbs (such as Boursin brand)
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat refrigerated potatoes according to package directions. Transfer warm potatoes to a serving bowl.
  2. Stir in cheese and parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe courtesy Better Homes and Gardens.

Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked cut green beans
  • 1 1/3 cups French Fried Onions

Directions:

  1. Stir soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling.  Stir the bean mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining onions.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

Recipe courtesy Campbell’s.

Quick Turkey Gravy
En route to Grandma’s house with nothing to offer? Call ahead and volunteer to make the gravy. A short stop at the store for chicken broth and flour is all that’s necessary.

Ingredients:

  • Reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Pan drippings from roasted turkey
  • Melted butter (optional)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Stir 1 cup of the chicken broth into pan drippings from roasted turkey in roasting pan, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Pour drippings into a 2-cup glass measure. Skim and reserve fat from drippings. If necessary, add enough melted butter to the reserved fat to make 1/4 cup. Add enough broth to the drippings in the measuring cup to make 2 cups total liquid.
  2. Pour the 1/4 cup fat into a medium saucepan (discard any remaining fat). Stir in flour.
  3. Add broth mixture all at once to flour mixture in saucepan, stirring until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, strain gravy into a serving bowl.

Recipe courtesy Better Homes and Gardens.

10-minute Caramel Sauce
Bring this along with a gallon of vanilla ice cream and a store-bought pie, or with fruit for dipping-- either way, “I made it myself” bragging rights are in store.

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, salt and cream. Melt over low heat while stirring slowly and gently. Once all ingredients are melted, increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes without stirring. Watch the heat closely, if it seems as though the mixture might be burning on the bottom (which can often happen if you are using a pan that isn't heavy-bottomed), reduce the heat as needed.
  2. Remove the caramel sauce from the heat and carefully stir in the vanilla (stirring vigorously at this point and/or scraping down the sides can cause the caramel sauce to develop a grainy texture). Use immediately or let the sauce cool a bit before pouring into a container to refrigerate. The sauce can be refrigerated for several weeks. (Makes 2 ½- 3 cups of sauce)

Recipe courtesy Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.