Hosting Holiday Dinner? These Recipes Are My Go-To!

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One of the most stressful holiday events can be the job of hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Having to take on cooking a huge meal, timing it all correctly, and having it actually turn out… well… the opposite of Griswold Family Turkey from Christmas Vacation is a lot. Cooking a turkey? Actually stuffing the stuffing? Yikes.

Two years ago, my man-friend and I decided to take the leap and cook our own Christmas dinner. We weren’t hosting a huge get-together thankfully – it was just us and the kids. We decided if anything went badly, we’d have steak and pumpkin pie for dinner. Turns out, from the turkey to the dressing to the gravy, everything was fantastic.

Here are the recipes we used that even we could handle.

The Turkey:

Photo & Recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen

Notes: You do have to get your hands in there for this one, but it’s completely worth it. The mixture that you rub under the skin makes it absolutely mouth-watering. The stuff you put inside is just for flavor and you can take it out later. The other great thing is that you don’t have to brine it beforehand! Less prep work!


The Dressing:

Photo & Recipe from BonAppetit

Notes: This recipe is simple! I loved that I could cook it in a pan and didn’t have to touch the turkey cavity. The first year it was a little salty, so the next year I nixed the added salt and it was perfect.


The Gravy:

Photo & Recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen

Notes: This is actually simple and fast. While Fraser’s taking out the turkey and carving it up, I scoop out the leftover liquids and go to town. This takes about 5 minutes, so it’s ready by the time the turkey is carved. I usually do 3x of everything to have quite a bit for the table and leftovers.

Pumpkin Pie:

Photo from The Food Network

Notes: I have always and will always use the recipe on the can from Libby’s Pumpkin Pie filling. It’s never done me wrong and I don’t believe in getting crazy fancy with some things. Pumpkin pie is the best just the way it is. I try to make this pie the night before so 1) it’s one less thing to do on the holiday & 2) It requires the oven, which would be a tight squeeze with the turkey and stuffing, and possibly any sides.


You should leave the sides up to others attending the dinner, so you’ll have some help and free up your stove. If you want to forward any assignments to those attending, I like these carrots, these brussel sprouts, and I use my dad’s recipe (of a shit-ton of salt, butter, and milk,) and my mom’s addition of a tiny bit of Miracle Whip (for tang) for the mashed potatoes.

As I’ve said, we’ve done these recipes a few times now and feel like we have them dialed. If you’ve never hosted a holiday dinner before, you should be able to rock these out!

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

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