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12 Contest-Winning Make-Ahead Christmas Recipes

Give yourself the gift of contest-winning make-ahead holiday recipes that keep you more organized and your friends and family smiling at the table.

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Grand Prize: Rich Seafood ChowderTaste of Home

Grand Prize: Rich Seafood Chowder

This creamy, delectable soup is even better the next day. It also works well with scallops or a flaky whitefish. Substitute half-and-half or heavy cream for all or part of the milk to make this soup even richer. —Anita Culver, Royersford, Pennsylvania

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1st Place: No-Churn Gingerbread Ice CreamTaste of Home

1st Place: No-Churn Gingerbread Ice Cream

Thanksgiving or Christmas is gingerbread time! And this ice cream says it all. I've found that dark brown sugar works better than light. —Jacqueline, McComas, Paoli, Pennsylvania

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2nd Place: Orange Cornmeal CakeTaste of Home

2nd Place: Orange Cornmeal Cake

This cake bakes up tender and light with a subtle orange taste. It tastes rich but is comparatively low in saturated fat. Serve the cake as is, or dress it up with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberries or raspberries. The cake is wonderful warm, but the flavor improves as it sits, so make it a day or two before you plan to serve it. Store the cake at room temperature. —Leigh Rys, Herndon, Virginia

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3rd Place: Apple Butter Biscuit Breakfast CakeTaste of Home

3rd Place: Apple Butter Biscuit Breakfast Cake

My grandmother created this recipe to use up the leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner. By combining leftover ham and biscuits with milk, eggs and her homemade apple butter, she served us all a warm, delicious breakfast and still was able to spend with her grandchildren. —Marty Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina

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Runner Up: Baby Swiss Appetizer CheesecakeTaste of Home

Runner Up: Baby Swiss Appetizer Cheesecake

This beautiful cheesecake appetizer can be refrigerated up to 24 hours before serving, so it's the perfect make-ahead recipe for holidays, game days or special occasions. —Marilyn Edelman, Sabetha, Kansas

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Runner Up: Cranberry & Roasted Beet SaladTaste of Home

Runner Up: Cranberry & Roasted Beet Salad

I created this as a healthy, tasty side dish to complement Christmas dinner. This enticing substitute for cranberry relish is excellent with turkey. Even the children loved it! Serve the beet blend alone or on a bed of salad greens. —Brianna St. Clair, Worland, Wyoming

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Runner Up: Cranberry Chipotle Chicken EnchiladasTaste of Home

Runner Up: Cranberry Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas

Whether canned or homemade, cranberry sauce delivers a healthy dose of vitamins to this dish. A little bit sweet and a little bit smoky, these enchiladas are a delightful way to use leftover chicken or turkey. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland

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Runner Up: Double Cranberry Banana BreadTaste of Home

Runner Up: Double Cranberry Banana Bread

We love quick breads, and I've found that they freeze nicely if properly wrapped. This is a scrumptious recipe to make before the holidays and freeze for last-minute guests or gifts. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

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Runner Up: Family-Favorite Caramelized OnionsTaste of Home

Runner Up: Family-Favorite Caramelized Onions

This recipe was passed down to me by my mother-in-law. After a few tweaks these onions are better than ever and, to my husband's chagrin, there are rarely any leftovers. They can easily be made ahead and reheated. —Sharon Gibson, Hendersonville, North Carolina

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Runner Up: Finnish Mulled WineTaste of Home

Runner Up: Finnish Mulled Wine

I found this recipe stuck in the pages of my Finnish grandmother's Bible. It takes 24 hours to make. Store tightly bottled in the fridge for up to two weeks. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida

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Runner Up: Rosemary Pork with Cherry-Pistachio ToppingTaste of Home

Runner Up: Rosemary Pork with Cherry-Pistachio Topping

Thirty years ago, my new mother-in-law asked me to do something with a large frozen pork loin being served for a crowd at a Christmas Eve buffet. I assembled some fragrant ingredients and this is the result. —Shelia Brown, Canton Michigan

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Runner Up: Spiced Rum Fruit CakeTaste of Home

Runner Up: Spiced Rum Fruit Cake

This fruitcake not only can be made weeks ahead, it tastes better that way! You can substitute Brazil nuts, pecans and hazelnuts for the walnuts—or use a combination of nuts. —Jason Boor, Manchester, New York
Originally Published in Taste of Home

Dana Meredith
Dana is an editor and writer who shares her passion for travel, food and the beauty of American landscapes. When she's not wielding her red pen, she can be found tending her flower gardens, remodeling her house, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry or dancing to "Uptown Funk."

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