This Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Is a Thanksgiving Must Have

Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Hello! It is Tuesday afternoon, and the big feast is in T-minus 48 hours. Let’s get straight into it, shall we?

If you’re making mac and cheese for Thanksgiving — or for any cozy, comforting dinner now through winter — you’ll want to make this mac and cheese. Eric Kim developed his baked macaroni and cheese recipe (above) with the timeless Stouffer’s version as his inspiration; the result is voluptuous and molten, saucy and creamy. And before you ask: Yes, there is Velveeta.

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Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

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More classic casseroles: Millie Peartree’s picture-perfect sweet potato casserole, which combines cornflakes and mini marshmallows for its rippled duvet topping. (“USE THE CORNFLAKES! The topping is magical!” urges Jazmin, a reader.) Melissa Clark’s mashed potato casserole is perfect for anyone who wants buttery potatoes pepped up with something crunchy, as she gilds a tray of mashed Yukon Golds with cheesy bread crumbs.

If you’re cooking with dairy or gluten allergies in mind — or you just love the way rice soaks up savory gravy — this new crispy ginger sticky rice recipe from Genevieve Ko is the way to go. Topped with a fried egg, it would be a fantastic dinner on its own.

But if there are no gluten issues, Melissa’s easy Parker House rolls come together in a snap with prepared pizza dough. For extra credit, you could make their sister recipe — these black pepper and Demerara sugar Parker House rolls — from scratch. Either way, your leftovers sandwiches will thank you.

If you’re bringing a salad, this lush and tart green salad with apple cider vinaigrette from Yewande Komolafe will complement pretty much any spread. If you’re on dessert duty, here’s Rick Martínez’s recipe for a perfect flan. It’s not a pumpkin pie, but we don’t think anyone will mind. (It’s flan, after all.)

Finally, let’s flash forward to Saturday. It’s 5 p.m., and everyone is grumbling and hungry and tired of turkey. Enter Lidey Heuck’s baked spaghetti, which is heartwarmingly hulking, versatile (swap the ground beef for chicken or sausage, or omit it entirely to make the dish vegetarian) and has nothing to do with leftover white meat or cranberry sauce or brussels sprouts.

🌶️ Turkey Tracker 🌶️

  • The store was out of this, you’re out of that and you don’t have another grocery run in you. We get it, which is why we’ll leave our guide to cooking substitutions right here.

  • We’re also going to give you this collection of 60 (!) dinner recipes that call for five ingredients or fewer, because we’re guessing your fridge feels pretty full right now.

  • If you’re grabbing premade pizza dough for the aforementioned Parker House rolls, you might want to get an extra package or two for Kenji López-Alt’s Thanksgiving leftovers Hot Pockets, which are just as delightful as they sound.

  • Speaking of leftovers: The easiest, quickest way to perk up a plate is hot sauce. More specifically: chile crisp, basbaas cagaar, Buffalo sauce, zhug.

  • At this point, you may be wondering how you’re going to clean all this — the casseroles and the sheet pans, the skillets and saucepans. Genevieve’s new guide outlines how to manage the mess. And for help with everything else in your home, make sure to sign up for the Clean Everything newsletter from Wirecutter.

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