Giada's Tips for Make-Ahead Holiday Meals, Plus 7 Easy Recipes

Hear from Giada as she dishes on the best bets for make-ahead holiday meals.

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Giada De Laurentiis

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

There's no shortage of to-dos when it comes to holiday party planning, so if you can find a way to make meal prep easier before the event, all the better. On her brand-new series Giada's Holiday Handbook ( Sundays at 11a|10c), Giada De Laurentiis is sharing her tried-and-true tips and techniques to entertain with ease this season, plus her best crowd-pleasing recipes for guaranteed party success. Recently FN Dish checked in with Giada about what it takes to successfully prep some of the dishes ahead of time, and it turns out that it's not only possible, but also simple.

"Any kind of baked pasta can be assembled ahead and then pulled out to bake whenever you are ready," she told us. Meats, too, are go-to picks. Giada explained: "Braised dishes are always better the next day too. Think stews or my braised lamb osso buco or braised short ribs. Do them a day or two ahead, and you just have to gently rewarm when the guests arrive."

Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce

Giada De Laurentiis's Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce for Potluck Picks as seen on Food Network's Everyday Italian

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When it comes to traditional party planning, Giada said, it's "great to just think a day ahead when having guests over." She recommended getting some of the manual prep work out of the way early so there's not much to do later on. "If there are dips or dressings that can be made ahead, go ahead and do it. Prep your vegetables and be ready to go so that the day of, it's easy to throw together," she said.

Check out some of Giada's best make-ahead meals below, and tune in to Giada's Holiday Handbook on Sundays at 11a|10c for more ideas.

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