Giada’s make ahead recipes for Thanksgiving

Need help preparing for Thanksgiving with only three days to go? Giada suggests these recipes to get a head start on your festive feast.

Butternut squash lasagna
Servings:

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
    • 3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
    • Pinch of nutmeg
    • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
    • 2 1/2 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
    • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet, then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly, then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree to taste with more salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Spread one third of the squash puree over 3 lasagna noodles. Arrange noodles, puree side up, atop the sauce (the noodles will expand as they bake). Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times. Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.Active preparation time: 25 minutesInactive preparation time: 10 minutesCooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Tips:

The no-boil lasagna noodles can be substituted with fresh spinach lasagna sheets. Look for fresh lasagna sheets in the refrigerated section of specialty markets.

Roasted root vegetable salad
Servings:

Serves 6; vinaigrette yields about 2/3 cup

Ingredients

    • 18 red pearl onions, peeled
    • 2 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/3-inch wide pieces
    • 2 large parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch wide pieces
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 (5-ounce) bag baby arugula
    • 1 ripe pear, halved, cored, cut into thin wedges
    • Apple cider vinaigrette
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • Apple cider vinaigrette

    • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

Baking Directions:

For apple cider vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk first 4 ingredients until blended. Gradually whisk in the oil. For the salad: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the onions, carrots, and parsnips. Add the oil, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper; toss to coat evenly. Scatter the vegetables on large nonstick rimmed baking sheet; roast for 20 minutes. Turn the vegetables over and roast until tender and beginning to brown, for 15 to 20 minutes longer. Set the vegetables aside. In a salad bowl, combine the arugula, pear slices and roasted vegetables. Add the dressing and toss until coated. Sprinkle with the chopped walnuts and serve.Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutesInactive Prep Time: 15 minutes

Red pepper cheesecake
Servings:

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

    • 4 ounces ricotta cheese
    • 4 ounces cream cheese
    • 2 ounces goat cheese
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 egg
    • Pinch kosher salt
    • 2 jarred roasted red bell peppers cut in thin strips and halved (about 1/2 cup)
    • 4 pitas
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup apricot jam
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons hot water

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the outside of  a 4 1/2-inch springform pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Place the ricotta, cream cheese, and goat cheese in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the sugar, egg, and salt and pulse a few times until well mixed and thick and creamy. Stir in the red pepper strips with arubber spatula. Pour the cheese mixture into the springform pan. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan and pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of thecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold.) Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.To make the pita chips, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the pitas into 8 triangles each (like a pie). Drizzle the triangles with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp and golden, about 12 to 15 minutes.To serve, combine the jam and the water in a small bowl and stir until the jam is liquefied. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and place on a serving plate. Drizzle the jam mixture over the top of the cheesecake. Serve the pita chips alongside.

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