Yes, two weeks in advance.
For the last four or five years I’ve cooked almost everything (except the turkey) in advance and stored it in the freezer.
It makes Thanksgiving so much easier for me! I just transfer everything to the fridge the day before and reheat in the oven Thanksgiving afternoon.
The only things I prepare Thanksgiving day are the turkey and the deviled eggs.
Usually you can’t freeze potatoes. They get grainy and gross. The trick to freezable mashed potatoes is to coat every molecule of potato in luscious, full-fat dairy.
I imagine the dairy blanketing and protecting the fragile starches.
My usual mashed potatoes are made with Yukon Gold. I love the firmer, waxier texture because I like the potatoes a little rustic, and more smashed than whipped.
But for this recipe I used russet potatoes, which have a drier consistency and whip up light and fluffy.
Since this recipe is for Thanksgiving, forget about the calorie count. Also, if you are going to freeze this, ALL DAIRY MUST BE FULL FAT.
I said full fat. Think of it as insulation.
For the potatoes, not you.
FREEZE-AHEAD MASHED POTATOES
5 pounds russet potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
8 Tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Bring cream cheese, sour cream, and butter to room temperature (very important!)
Peel and cube potatoes and cook until tender in large pot of salted water. I put in a tablespoon or two of salt before I add the potatoes.
Use a little bit of the soft butter to grease a casserole dish. This dish should be able to go in the freezer and in the oven.
Once the dish is buttered, us a tablespoon or so of the grated Parm to dust the inside of the dish. Set aside.
When potatoes fall apart when you press on them, drain and return to pan on stove. Make sure stove is off now.
Add the cream cheese, sour cream, and all but one tablespoon of the butter.
Using a hand mixer, whip until smooth.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Put potatoes into casserole dish, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and dot with the reserved tablespoon of butter.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze.
(If you don’t want to freeze this, you can make it a day in advance and store it in the fridge.)
The day before Thanksgiving, transfer to refrigerator to thaw.
About an hour before dinner, set dish out to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove plastic wrap and bake for 30 minutes. Make sure the center is fully heated.
I turn the broiler on for five more minutes if it’s not browned enough.
I think this recipe is smooth and rich and perfect for the Thanksgiving table. I’ve made it for years and it is a much-anticipated part of our annual dinner.
You can’t have Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes!
If there are leftovers, I mix with a little cheese and egg and fry up potato pancakes on Friday or Saturday.
This recipe is from an old favorite cookbook, “Happy Holidays from the Diva of Do-Ahead” by Diane Phillips.
It’s a wonderful books for entire make-ahead meals for every holiday throughout the year, and I highly recommend it. It’s on Amazon for about ten dollars.
Next, make-ahead gravy! Get it done in advance almost completely so you don’t have to sweat it Turkey Day.