Do Ahead Gravy and Mashed Potatoes


OK it’s time to get serious about the approaching holidays and the kind of food we’re going to fix for family and friends. That’s why I’m sharing 2 favorites: Do ahead gravy and do ahead mashed potatoes. No kidding, these turn out great and a boon to the busy cook who has to pull the whole dinner together.

One  more thing – I saw this saying on a plaque in a gift shop. It pretty much sums up the way we all should feel about Thanksgiving:

“Thank you for the food before us, the friends and family beside us, and the love between us.” Happy Thanksgiving – you are what makes this column special!


Your perfect roast turkey needs a flavorful gravy. This can be frozen up to a month ahead of time.


  • 3-4 pounds turkey wings
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered or l large onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 carrot, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1 nice rib celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 3/4 teaspoon dried
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Arrange wings in a single layer in a large sprayed roasting pan
  3. Scatter onions over top.
  4. Roast about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until wings are browned.
  5. Put wings and onions in large pot.
  6. Add water to roasting pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom. Add the brown bits to the pot.
  7. Add 6 cups broth, carrots, celery and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  8. Remove wings and save meat for another use.
  9. Strain broth into a saucepan, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables.
  10. Refrigerate overnight if you have time so that you can skim the fat off the top easily. If not, do your best to skim it after straining broth.
  11. Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until well blended. Set aside.
  12. Bring broth in pot to a gentle boil.
  13. Whisk in broth/flour mixture and boil 3-4 minutes to thicken gravy.
  14. Stir butter in. Season to taste.
  15. Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.
  16. When reheating, add defatted drippings from the roasted turkey to the gravy.



I like to use baking or Yukon gold.


  • 4 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened, not fat-free
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 stick butter, softened plus extra for dotting on top
  • Seasoned or regular salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place potatoes in pan; add water to cover, stir in a little salt, and bring to boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain.
  2. Beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Add potatoes; beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in butter and seasoning.
  4. Transfer to a sprayed 9×13 dish. Refrigerate, covered, overnight or up to 2 days.
  5. To reheat in oven: Remove from refrigerator an hour ahead of time. Dot top with butter.
  6. Cover and reheat anywhere from 325 to 375 until heated through – about 45-60 minutes or so.
  7. To reheat in microwave: Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before heating. Microwave, uncovered, on high 10 minutes, stirring once. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons softened butter. Microwave until heated through.

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