How to be the Ultimate Holiday Host

Whether this is your first time or your seventy- fifth time hosting a Holiday meal, I can be super overwhelming! How long do you cook a turkey? What are some delicious (but healthy) side dishes that every guest will want to eat? What about Gluten Free or Vegan Guests? Don’t worry friends, we’ve got you! After reading all our tips we all but guarantee your guests will be crowning you the Best Holiday Host!

Plus, we promise this post is one hundred percent casserole free! Ha, Ha. AND- did you know you can pin every one of our recipes right from each post? Just click one of the pictures and you can save that recipe for later!

First, lets start with the Turkey! 

delicious, juicy turkey

Holiday Dinner Tips

Here are a Few things to consider before cooking a Turkey this Holiday:

How Big should your Bird it be?

Here’s the basic rule we go by- roughly one pound of turkey per person. If you want leftovers (to make our amazing Turkey Stew) ― or have big eaters coming to your house, plan for 1.5- 2 lbs per person.

How long does the Turkey need to Defrost?

Weight In Fridge In Cold Water

4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days 10 to 12 hours

How Long Does the Turkey need to cook?

In 325°F oven, a fully defrosted or fresh bird will need to cook roughly 15 minutes per pound. You can check if it is done by using a thermometer to gauge if the internal temperature has reached 165 F. Check in the innermost part of the thigh, wing and the thickest part of the breast.

Richelle’s Other Turkey Tips:

  • Skip the stuffing inside (no one eats it!). Instead, cook your stuffing on the stove with this epic recipe!
  • Stuff instead with Fresh herbs like Rosemary and Thyme.
  • Stuff with Fruit as well (Pears in the fall, Lemons in the spring!)
  • Roast your turkey upside down. This wont make for the most stunning looking bird, but when you cook upside down all the juices will run to the breast meat, making it the MOST delicious and flavourful ever. TRUST US.
  • Let it rest! Let your bird sit and rest for 30 mins prior to carving.
Tips for a moist and succulent turkey

Now For the Best Holiday Side Dishes!

Whether you are hosting or needing a dish to bring somewhere these are guaranteed crowd pleasers! There is no butter or gluten in any of the following, so they are great options if there are dairy-free or gluten free folks in the mix!

Once you’ve tried these Carrots, you will never be able to eat a normal carrot again!

easy and delicious carrot recipe

Garden Carrots with Herbs and Mustard, Delicious Holiday Side Dishes


Not your Grannies Brussels! These delicious and crispy brussels sprouts are anything but overcooked and soggy! Did we mention they have BACON in the recipe too?! Find the full post here!

mouthwatering balsamic and bacon brussels sprouts, side dish recipes

Best ever Brussels Sprouts, yummy brussels sprout recipe

If you haven’t had our Apple + Pear Stuffing yet- it is a MUST try! (does contain gluten and dairy)


Pear and Apple Stuffing Recipe
Our Savory Root Veggie Dish is ALWAYS A hit!

mouthwatering savory root vegetable dish, holiday side dish ideas

As are our Truffled Potatoes- two Ways!

Delicious Oven Roasted Potatoes with Truffled salt

Savory Truffled Mashed Potatoes

We Also love to switch out some traditional sides at a holiday meal, and instead add a fun salad (or two) to our Holiday Menu! 

Delicious Beet and Kale salad with pistachio

colorful salad with golden beets, kale, watermelon radish and crispy chickpeas

Some Delicious Savory Salads to try at your next Holiday Meal:


Lets Talk Dessert.

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, and you best believe we have you covered there too! Our Mini Egg Blondies are a huge hit at Easter, and our Gran’s Apple Crisp is a thing of beauty at Thanksgiving!

cozy and healthy apple crumble

Comforting and delicious Apple Crisp

What about cocktails you ask? Got you Covered there too!

fun and easy fall cocktail recipes

Apple Ginger Moscow Mules

We’ve rounded up our Five Favorite Fall Cocktails for you in one simple post– including this divine Orchard Mule pictured above!


We are those people, you know, the ones who get the turkey that is just a liiiiiitttle to big?? We do it on purpose every holiday because, to us, nothing is better than turkey left overs! IF you tend to do the same, Grab the ingredients to make this Simple and oh- so- satisfying Turkey Butternut Squash Stew! It’s everyone in our families favorite meal- post turkey day! 

Wishing you and yours a lovely Holiday! Hope these tips + recipes were helpful! Be sure to send us note or tag us in your delicious creations on Instagram!

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