One of the trickiest parts of pulling off Thanksgiving dinner is ensuring that each of the (many, many) components of the meal are ready to eat — and are warm — at the same time. For many, deciding when and how to delegate the precious oven and stove spaces becomes a puzzle as they make mental notes of how long the turkey ought to rest, how quickly water can boil for the potatoes and at what temperature the rolls should bake. This year, however, with the help of Ina Garten, the ever-together hostess, you can tackle one key element of the feast ahead of time: mashed potatoes.
The success of mashed potatoes depends on a super-creamy finished product, and sure enough, when you follow Ina’s boil-and-bake method for her make-ahead Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes from Food Network Magazine, pictured above, the results are soft, smooth spuds. Instead of simply mashing potatoes and letting them rest until dinner — which would likely cause them to turn tough — she assembles the rich, cheesy dish up to three days in advance, refrigerates it, then bakes it with a Parmesan cheese topping before eating.