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When it comes to holiday entertaining, it doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie pro or a newbie; we all run into holiday conundrums sometimes. Let us take the guesswork out of some of the basic and not-so-basic hosting hot spots folks run into, so that your get-together goes off without a hitch.

Gravy too thin? Not sure how much roast you’ll need? With the help of our handy troubleshooting guide, we take the near misses out of the mix to bring you a gathering worth celebrating. You’ve got this!

1. Turkey roasting troubles?

If roasting turkey isn’t your forte, check out this useful turkey and poultry roasting guide. We’ll walk you through the process, with a few troubleshooting tips included (for instance, if you’ve cooked the meat too fast and dinner is more than an hour away, carve the meat, soak it in chicken broth to keep it moist, and store it in the fridge. Reheat before serving.)

2. How much meat do I buy?

We get it: Your centre-of-plate roast is likely your big-ticket food purchase this holiday, so you want to ensure that you have enough for everyone at the table and that it’s cooked just right. We did all of the math for you with our Roast Calculator, where you simply tell us which roast you want (out of over 12 options) and the number of people you’d like to serve—and presto! You’ve got the amount suitable for your party, roasting visual cues, internal temperatures, and recipes to match in case you’d like some inspiration.

3. Quick gravy fixes

Everyone wants a thick, savoury gravy. To avoid any saucy catastrophe, we suggest you mix equal parts water and flour (start with two tablespoons of flour) until fully combined, then slowly stir it into your simmering gravy until it thickens, about five minutes. And if you’ve never made gravy before, here’s a recipe using your turkey pan drippings that’s a crowd-pleasing classic.

4. Avoiding mashed potato mishaps

Some people like chunky mashed potatoes, while others prefer a silky-smooth blend of potatoes, milk, and butter. But one thing most of us can agree on is that fluffy mash is best. To avoid the alternative, warm the butter and milk or heavy cream in a saucepan first. This makes an enormous difference because adding cold butter and milk cools the potatoes and can result in a gluey texture. Using a ricer or food mill to break down the potatoes is also a good idea; you get a fluffier texture that incorporates the warmed milk and butter beautifully, and—bonus points—you don’t have to stir and mash till you break a sweat. Have a look to see what we mean!

If baking is on your holiday to-do list, here’s a detailed primer so that you, too, can bake like a pro. Have a gander at this tips list so that your cakes rise, cookies crisp and custards set! Remember that baking ahead, cooling and freezing cookies, or freezing ready-to-bake dough is a time- saver during the busy holiday season. One last thought: If you’re hosting or taking part in a cookie swap, we’ve got recipes, ideas, and suggestions to make it extra sweet.

6. Holiday shopping checklist

You need to hit the stores for your big holiday food shop, so head out prepared and with a list. We make it easy for you with this checklist that includes ideas on clearing out fridge contents to make soups, stir-fries, and other midweek meals to make room for holiday fare. Tips on what to buy in bulk (yes, you can freeze butter!) and what you can do to prep before the big day are included.

7. Holiday open house how-to

If you’re more of a free-flowing open-house gathering type of person, we’ve got you covered with this guide that includes prep, how much to serve depending on guest list size, what to serve (drinks included), and various recipes to make merry!

8. Last-minute surprises?

You forgot your aunt Pam’s coming over? Or your colleagues sprang a last-minute Secret Santa gift exchange on you? Don’t worry—we’ve got loads of ideas. Whether you get unannounced guests at your door or you were invited to a potluck and forgot, here’s how you solve those situations with holiday class.

9. Ultimate holiday meal planner

For those of you who want a hand getting organized for holiday dining, we’ve got ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a planning guide that walks you through a to-do list. Start with baking (sweet and savoury treats) one or two months ahead of time down to the day before and day of. Simple and sorted!

10. Grocery shopping solutions

With your budget in mind, we’ve come up with shopping solutions that are wallet-friendly, and kept some luxurious ingredients in the mix that are worth the spend. Happy holidays!

*Stay safe. Please respect and follow all public health guidelines when celebrating the season.

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