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Dec 11, 2012 08:49 AM

Holiday side-dishes in the slow cooker and other in-advance options

Hi everyone! I'm entertaining a lovely crowd on Christmas Day, but most of the day is going to be busy with Christmas at my parents' house in the AM. I'd love to put a dish in the slow cooker, and do as much beforehand if possible.

I'm looking for vegetarian side dishes with no dairy (food allergy). But if you have a good idea, as long as isn't something super-cheesy, I can modify it to taste cheesy. I just won't use cheese alternatives (due to OTHER allergies) but can recreate flavor, just not always texture.

Also, if you have a good idea and it often contains some form of meat, if you think it doesn't rely on it, I can modify it.

I just need ideas of anything that can easily be made in advance and reheated (for minimal time, since the oven will be taken up with everything), or things I can put in the slow cooker.

I don't need ideas for gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, turkey, and potatoes (white), since I have those. And I'm good for appetizers and desserts. Just any other side dishes to round it out.


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  1. For Thansgiving, I pre-blanched my green beans and brussels sprouts and stored them in zip loc bags. I sauteed them 10 minutes before serving time.

    I pre-made my mashed potatoes and used the microwave to warm them. They didn't come out gluey or anything.

    I pre-made my cranberry sauce and stored it in a mason jar. It is better after a few days anyway.

    Gravy can be pre-made and stored in a mason jar, too.

    Rice can be made and stored for hours in the modern rice cookers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Hank Hanover

      Thanks. I already do everything you've mentioned. I'm looking for day-of dishes to do in the slow cooker. For the potatoes, I always warm them in the oven -- I don't have a microwave.

    2. I make my dressing in the slow cooker every year.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        Can you share the recipe? Our oven-baked dressing was a tad dry this year.

        1. re: monavano

          I do 1-1/2 hours on high, and 4-5 hours on low (covered, of course), or until it reaches 160F with an instant-read thermometer.

          It's a monster 6-quart slow cooker, and makes dressing for 30 people with leftovers -- but I couldn't tell you how much liquid if I had to -- I make mine by feel and look (because that's how I was taught...)

          You don't want it soupy, but you want the bread to be soft -- it will bake into a lovely custard-like consistency, with crust on the sides and bottom in the slow cooker (I love me the crust)

        2. re: sunshine842

          I've done that before, too, but I actually make mine in advance and just re-heat it, it works just as well!