Holiday Recipes | Family Thanksgiving

The beauty of this sweet potato soup, besides the rich, spicy and slightly tangy flavor it delivers, is that you can make it almost entirely ahead and it actually benefits from time to "marry" in your fridge. Simply chop the apple and herbs for garnish while it reheats and serve.

I didn't think I was ready to give up my family's recipe for mashed potatoes, either - but this slow cooker recipe will convert you on your first try (and your stove top will thank you come Thanksgiving Thursday). I've tried to improve upon the original with celery root and other changes, and I can tell you with certainty: Follow this one to the letter, and you'll be glad you did.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'm just not a pie girl. Tarts offer less fussy crusts and can be prepared in advance and reheated with more success. Unless you drop this on the floor (as I did on my test run), there's virtually no way to mess it up, and the silky pecans and sweet chocolate topping will leave you just as satisfied.