Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner Serving Guide

A roasted turkey cools in its roasting pan on a countertop, following the tips in Chef Nancy’s Christmas dinner serving guide.

Thinking about hosting the family next holiday season?

These Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner serving guide reminders and tips will help you serve your best turkey yet!

  • Get your kitchen knives professionally sharpened to make prep time more efficient and to safely serve perfectly sliced turkey on the big day. Learn how to chop like a pro in our Kitchen Knife Skills article.
  • Make homemade stock and gravy in advance and freeze it. Then on the big day, simply supplement the thawed gravy with fresh turkey drippings. Serve gravy hot in a pre-warmed gravy boat.
  • Source a great-quality turkey. Try Cumbrae’s butcher shop.
  • Use a large, sturdy oven-proof roasting pan and roasting rack. (Do not use a disposable roasting pan. They are accident-prone, and it is hard to get all of your delicious drippings out of the bottom.) Have wooden spoons and serving spoons ready for lifting and serving the turkey and distributing stuffing. Have a conversation with knowledgeable staff at a kitchenware store, such as The Keeping Room, for some recommendations.
  • Have a meat thermometer at the ready, and follow food safety guidelines.
  • Use our Special Occasion Stuffing System for perfect turkey dinner stuffing.
  • Make a mouth-watering cranberry sauce. Check out our cranberry sauce recipe post.
  • Clear a large area on a serving table for the roasted turkey. Give the carver and server some room. Have a sharp carving knife, a fork to hold the bird in place, a warm off-loading dish for the carved meat and tinfoil to keep everything covered. Keep dinner plates warm if at all possible. Here, I am carving Thanksgiving turkey at the family maple syrup farm.
Chef Nancy Henley carves Thanksgiving turkey at the family maple syrup farm.

Share these reminders with your friends and enjoy your delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey dinner!

2 replies
    • Nancy Henley
      Nancy Henley says:

      HI Anne,
      Create a new Easter tradition for your family with the Tree House Kitchen stuffing system (cited above and you could easily halve the recipe). It would be great in the middle of a large crown roast or on the side of a rack of lamb. Tap on the picture of the rack of lamb in my NEWS section to see cooking tips for perfect rack of lamb and a marinade. Sauce creation for special occasions is fun – you can basically follow your favourite vegetable soup recipe but make it thicker and purée it for a colourful, seasonal, on-the-side sauce. For a vegetable dish: Ontario and Quebec Maple syrup is plentiful at this time. Sauté large slices of carrots until tender yet quite crisp (about 75% done) and then add your favourite whole nut (almonds, cashews, pecans – anything) and lightly brown them. Drizzle in real maple syrup and pinches of sea salt to taste. (This can be done a day ahead and then gently rewarmed. This is why you do not fully cook the carrots.) If you have access to wild leeks that are coming up in the forest in April you can add chopped wild leek near the very end of the carrot cooking process for a sweet, garlicky, twist with a dash of green. Have a look at my explore/source blog titled Spring – Foraging for Wild Leeks for more tips about sustainably foraging for wild leeks. Oh and homemade chocolate truffles are easier than you think to create and store well as a make ahead dessert! The kids and I have had fun with that process and it is quite deliciously rewarding for your hands-on commitment. Source your own recipe for that but if you have specific questions feel free to use my Ask a Chef function on the website.
      Chef Nancy


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