Easy Casseroles That Are Perfect For Thanksgiving Dinner

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Thanksgiving dinner means lots of planning, prep work, and of course, tons of cooking. And unless you've already designated someone in the family to make dessert, chances are good you'll be doing plenty of baking, too. While there are some of us who love the adrenaline rush of a busy Thanksgiving morning and a well-executed game plan, most of us would prefer to have more time to relax, watch the parade, and spend time with our family. If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year and want to make something special with a little less work, try making a casserole or two.

Click here to see the Easy Casseroles That Are Perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner (Slideshow)

Most casseroles can be made (or at least partially prepared) in advance, which makes them an easy way to reduce the amount if work you actually have to do on Thanksgiving day. If you are making a casserole that can be fully cooked in advance (and simply reheated on Thanksgiving day), be sure to cool the casserole thoroughly before you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer; if you don't, the steam that is trapped can create excess moisture in the dish, making your food soggy. For casseroles that are assembled and frozen (to be baked for the first time on Thanksgiving day), be sure to reserve any toppings like breadcrumbs or cheese until the day itself; once the assembled, uncooked casserole is fully thawed, top it with the cheese or breadcrumbs and bake as usual for optimal texture.

Casseroles are also a great choice for holidays because they take otherwise ordinary ingredients and elevate them through combination; casseroles are better than the sum of their parts. If you have picky eaters in your family, casseroles can be an easy way to make a universally appealing dish. Your children may not like seasonal sweet potatoes, but dice them up, mix them with brown sugar and butter, and top them with marshmallows and they're sure to give them a try.

Looking for a few exceptional recipes worthy of the Thanksgiving table? Try these casseroles.

Crunchy Layered Potato Casserole

(Credit: So Good Blog)
If you love casseroles with amazingly crunchy bread crumb toppings, this is your new go-to recipe. Whether you're looking for a new way to serve mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner or a way to use up your leftovers, Danielle of So Good Blog says "mashed potatoes never had it so good," and we agree. Click here for the recipe.

Sausage, Chicken, and White Bean Gratin

(Credit: One Pot/Christina Holmes)
The celebrated cassoulet of France inspired this stick-to-your-ribs dish, which uses chicken breast instead of the traditional duck or goose. Our big batch of this recipe from the One Pot cookbook is great for Thanksgiving dinner.
Click here for the recipe.

Click here to see more of the easy casseroles that are perfect for Thanksgiving dinner

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.