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Does your kitchen transform into a restaurant over the holidays? Think like a chef and set aside time to plan and prepare for feeding a crowd. We’ve created a whole day of festive menus plus mapped out the advance prep work so you can relax and enjoy the big day along with everyone else.


Rouse your guests with the spicy-sweet smell of Gingerbread Waffles floating throughout the house. Preparing lots of extra strawberries the night before gives excited kids something to snack on if they’re up before dawn.


Ready in 25 minutes, this kid-friendly soup makes a satisfying, hearty midday meal. It also packs well in vacuum flasks for skating or sledding parties.


Warm-from-the-oven crab cakes make irresistible nibbles on a wintry afternoon. Our recipe makes 12, so consider doubling it if you have lots of hungry guests.

Here’s a festive turkey feast with all the trimmings. The mini tourtières for the kids are cooked in advance, so if dinner’s running late, reheat a few in the oven around the turkey and the kids can be fed in under an hour.

Make-ahead schedule:

Up to two months before

Up to a week ahead

  • Make candied pecans for salad and store in an airtight container.
  • Slice and bake cookies, cool and store in a cookie tin.

Two days before

  • Prepare dressing for salad and store covered in the fridge.
  • Bake bread cubes for stuffing, cool and store in a re-sealable bag.
  • Make Root Vegetable Mash and store covered in the fridge. Also make Crispy Vegetable Topping and keep in an airtight container.
  • Place frozen turkey in the fridge to thaw.

The day before

  • Pull mini tourtières from the freezer and put into fridge.
  • Prepare crab cake patties (minus the panko coating) and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Roast pear slices for salad and store covered in the fridge.
  • Mix batter for Gingerbread Waffles and slice strawberries. Store waffle batter and berries in separate airtight containers in the fridge.
  • Prepare yogourt mixture for parfaits and keep covered in the fridge. Crushed cookies and pomegranate seeds can also be prepped and stored in separate airtight containers in the fridge.

The morning of

  • Pull Gingerbread Waffles batter from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before cooking. Set strawberries out for early-risers and cook sausages or bacon according to directions.
  • Make soup according to recipe; keep warm on the stove for guests to serve themselves or pack up to enjoy outdoors.

The afternoon of

  • Cook stuffing components and place mixture in a greased baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool.
  • Prepare turkey according to recipe directions — it will take about four hours from start to finish.
  • When it’s time for hors d’oeuvres, pull crab cakes from fridge and bake according to recipe.

Finishing touches

  • Pop mini tourtières into the oven 30 minutes before the kids need to eat.
  • Reheat stuffing according to recipe.
  • Reheat Root Vegetable Mash and Crispy Topping according to recipe.
  • Cut pears into cubes and whisk dressing before tossing the salad.
  • Make turkey gravy.
  • After dinner, layer parfaits into glasses and serve along with cookies and clementines for dessert.

Happy holidays!


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