Food & Drink

A trio of make-ahead side dishes for Thanksgiving

Cranberry-Fig Relish
Cranberry-Fig Relish

Want to get a jump-start on the Thanksgiving Day meal? Here are three recipes from Better Homes & Gardens that will let you cross some side dishes off your list ahead of time.

Cranberry-Fig Relish

1/2 cup dried figs, stems removed

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries*

1 tablespoon snipped fresh mint leaves (optional)

1/2 cup orange marmalade

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

In a food processor or using a hand food chopper, process or chop figs until they are in large pieces. Add cranberries and process or chop until mixture is coarsely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl; if desired, add mint.

In a small bowl stir together marmalade and vinegar. Add to cranberry mixture; mix well. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

Tip: If using frozen cranberries, measure them while frozen. Let stand at room temperature about 15 minutes to thaw slightly before processing.

Make-ahead: Prepare as directed. Place in an airtight container. Seal; chill for up to 3 days. Or label and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

These special occasion sweet potatoes can be made ahead. Reheat before dinner.

5 medium sweet potatoes (10 ounces each)

1/2 cup cranberry relish

1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins, snipped or chopped

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce all over with fork. Place on oven rack. Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop pulp from each potato half, leaving a 1/4- to 1/2-inch shell. Place pulp in medium bowl. Set aside shells.

Using a potato masher or fork, mash potato pulp until smooth. Stir in relish, cranberries, butter, and salt. Spoon potato mixture into each potato shell. Place, filled sides up, in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with walnuts. Cover and chill up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Makes 10 servings.

To serve right away: Chilling step may be omitted. Bake filled potatoes uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 10 servings, each with: 158 calories, 6 grams fat, 6 mg cholesterol, 174 mg sodium, 25 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, 2 grams protein.

Overnight Refrigerator Rolls

1 1/4 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

1 package active dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted, or vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

Nonstick cooking spray

2 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl combine the warm water and yeast; stir to dissolve yeast. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, egg, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that just starts to pull away from sides of bowl (dough will be slightly sticky).

2. Coat a 3-quart covered container with cooking spray. Place dough in container; turn once to grease surface of dough. Cover and chill overnight.

3. Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan or baking sheets.

4. Shape dough into 24 balls or desired rolls (be careful not to overwork dough; it becomes stickier the more you work with it) and place in the prepared baking pan or 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 45 minutes).

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes for individual rolls, about 20 minutes for pan rolls, or until golden. Immediately remove rolls from pans. If desired, brush tops of rolls with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Serve warm. Makes 24 rolls.

Variations:

Cinnamon-sugar butterhorn rolls: Prepare as directed through Step 3. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into a 10-inch circle. If desired, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Cut each dough circle into 12 wedges. To shape rolls, begin at wide end of each wedge and loosely roll toward the point. Place rolls, point side down, 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Continue as directed. Make 24 rolls.

Parmesan-herb rosettes: Prepare as directed through Step 3, except add 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano, crushed, to the dough during Step 1. Divide each dough half into 16 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 12-inch rope. Tie each rope in a loose knot, leaving two long ends. Tuck top end under the knot and bottom end into the top center. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Place 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Continue as directed. Makes 32 rolls.

Salt-and-pepper parker house rolls: Prepare as directed through Step 3. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough half until 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough with a floured 2-1/2-inch round cutter. Using the dull edge of a table knife, make an off-center crease in each round. Fold each round along the crease; press the folded edge firmly. Place rolls, larger half up, 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Continue as directed. Makes 24 rolls.

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