But for moms and other family caretakers, Easter Sunday can mean a LOT of work. A special day at church, followed by a dinner to celebrate the wonder of the season.
Not to mention the task of getting everyone dressed up in their finest!
Long ago, I learned the secret to making these demanding days work. You have to have two tools at your fingertips:
1) Learn how to plan ahead.
2) Learn how to prepare.
Planning ahead is simple - as long as you understand the logistics of what you need to accomplish. For this Easter Sunday, we had committed to providing four breakfast casseroles for the annual brunch at church, and then after church the family (all adults) were coming to our house for a turkey dinner with the fixings.
So I made my list and started preparing by doing my grocery shopping on Friday morning.
Saturday afternoon, I started to prep the ingredients for the items that needed to be cooked on Sunday morning.
On Sunday, before church, I baked the casseroles. Then before we walked out the door, I put our turkey dinner in the oven.
But what about the mashed potatoes? A turkey dinner just isn't a turkey dinner without mashed potatoes!
Here's my secret: I made the potatoes on Saturday afternoon.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Good for special dinners or potlucks!
5 pounds potatoes
8 ounce package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through and ready to mash.
Meanwhile, cut the cream cheese into cubes, and place in your mixing bowl along with the butter.
When the potatoes are cooked (you want them slightly overcooked), drain them well, and put them in your mixing bowl.
Let them sit in there for a few minutes to melt the butter and cream cheese, and then whip. But be careful! You only want to whip them for a short time - maybe one minute - because you don't want it to become a starchy lump!
Now is the fun part. You can refrigerate the potatoes for up to three days (how is that for make-ahead sweetness?), but you need to find a good container.
If you have room for it, you could put the potatoes straight into your crock pot and stick that in the fridge.
Or you can do like I do - I love those crock pot liners, so I put the potatoes in the lined crock pot, then close the liner, remove it, and stick that in the fridge.
Or you can put it in a separate bowl, and then put it in your crock pot in the morning.
However you decide to keep it refrigerated, don't forget to put the potatoes in the crock pot about five hours before you want to eat them.
I like to put a couple more Tablespoons of butter on top, and then set it on low. Now I can forget about the potatoes until the big meal!
And what does that give me? Peace of mind and more time chatting with the family. Priceless!
What is your favorite food to make ahead?
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