Recipes for Thanksgiving: Freezing the feast

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Thanksgiving is just a week away.

This year, you can have a stress-free turkey day by starting your cooking now!

On this Recipe Wednesday, Shannon Smith stopped by the culinary school at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown for a few dishes you can make now and freeze for the feast.

Apple  Sausage and Sage Stuffing:


  • 1 lb stale bread or stuffing mix (not stovetop)
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage, I like to use hot
  • 1 medium onion small dice
  • 3 apples
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 2 tbs rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 3-4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Brown sausage and remove from pan
  3. Cook onions in sausage grease, then add celery and cook, then add apples and cook slightly.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to start to cool
  5. Add sausage, onion, celery, and apples to bread/stuffing mix
  6. Add sage, salt, pepper, eggs
  7. Add stock a little at a time till well soaked in. You want the mixture moist, but not too soggy
  8. Place mixture in greased casserole dish and bake at 325 till golden brown and does not giggle when shaken approximately 1 hour.
  9. Or if making ahead to freeze, freeze in casserole dish, thaw 2 days before cooking, and cook for approximately 1.75-2 hours till golden brown and reaches 165 internal temp

Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple, Brown Sugar and Honey:


  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced
  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ C Pecans optional
  • Marshmallows optional


  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Shingle sliced sweet potatoes in casserole dish
  3. Top with brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, butter, cinnamon (pecans if you wish)
  4. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender
  5. At this point you can cool and then freeze until the day before needed, or cook and serve immediately.
  6. If frozen, thaw one day ahead of time, reheat sweet potatoes for approximately 45 minutes to one hour, serve, or top with marshmallows and brown in oven, then serve.

Freezer Friendly Apple Crisp

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 servings


This freezer friendly apple crisp will change your holiday baking forever. Make one big batch but split it into two smaller desserts — one to bake now and one to stash in your freezer for later. Perfect quick and easy dessert for Thanksgiving.


  • 5 pounds apples, Granny Smith, McIntosh and Honeycrisp are good, or one #10 can
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1T cornstarch
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking dish (or 2 8×8 pans)
  2. Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges, If you are using canned, open the can,,  Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.
  3. To make the topping:Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
  4. Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for one hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce if you’re really feeling sassy.

How to freeze apple crisp:

You can choose to freeze the apple crisp from the prepared & unbaked stage or you can bake it and then freeze it. I prefer to freeze it unbaked so that the topping doesn’t get over browned.

Once you’ve assembled the crisp, wrap it in two layers of aluminum foil and mark it with the date you assembled it. Freeze for 3 – 6 months.

To bake a frozen apple crisp:

Unwrap the foil from the crisp and place the dish on a cookie sheet. Cover the top loosely with a piece of foil and bake as directed. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake until the apples are bubbling hot and the crisp is golden brown.

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

  • Yield: 8 servings


  • 12 eggs
  • 8oz milk
  • 1 lb. Bacon
  • 1 lb. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 lbs. hash browns, frozen or fresh
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Green pepper, diced


  1. Place Bacon on a sheet pan and place in a 350 degree oven, cook till crisp.
  2. Take bacon off sheet and place on napkin to degrease. On the same pan place hash browns mixing them with some of the bacon grease, cook till golden brown.
  3. When nicely golden brown transfer to a butter or pan sprayed 8x8 pan or casserole dish and press down to make a crust.
  4. In a separate bowl mix eggs and milk and then pour over potatoes.
  5. With a little of the bacon grease sauté onions and peppers in a separate pan and then to casserole with bacon braking it up some.
  6. Add cheese, and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or nice light golden brown
  7. Let cool 70 degrees within 2 hour then cover tightly with plastic and foil, it you have a casserole dish with a cover even better. Place in freeze until needed.
  8. When needed pull out of freezer right into 350 oven for 1 hour. Take cover of last 15 minutes of cooking
  9. Let sit 10 minutes, enjoy your company!


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