How to Host the Perfect Make-Ahead Gluten-Free Holiday Dinner

Photos by Angela Sackett

The song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” All too often though, holiday hosts are too busy running around the kitchen to be singing that tune.

But what if there were a way to make delicious, made-from-scratch holiday dishes without the unpleasant “side” of exhaustion?

I’ve found it’s all about the preparation. Instead of preparing for your holiday meal all in one big day, spread it out over a couple of days. Then on the day of the party you just pull a few things together and voilà! You get to enjoy your tasty hard work with the rest of your guests.

It also helps to have some great holiday recipes you trust so you’re not worried about the end result. In my holiday menu, you’ll find dishes you can be confident your guests will love, whether they are gluten free or not.

I’ve given classic holiday recipes a fresh twist, like adding perfectly roasted apples to Sweet Potato Casserole. For dessert there’s Pecan Pie Bars and Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, because no one should be forced to choose between the two holiday classics.

Each recipe comes with a “make-ahead tip” that will help make your life easier and keep your kitchen clean. If you follow this menu and these tips you’ll be so ready for your holiday party that your family and friends will be wondering how you pulled it all off.


Apple Pie Martini

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Stuffed Turkey Breast Wrapped in Pancetta

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Honey Apple Bruschetta

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Homemade Green Bean Casserole


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Fresh Cornbread Casserole


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Cumin-Spiced Potatoes with Chorizo


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Sweet Potato Casserole with Roasted Apples


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Pecan Pie Bars


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Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream


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Gluten-free beach party menu

Toast the start of summer with a gluten-free sunset cocktail party. Lauren Marie (, Angela Sackett ( and Anna Sackett ( offer their favorite beach-side recipes.

Lauren Marie Beach Shoot May 2014_047


Sparkling Sidecar (Lauren Marie)
My husband and I recently threw a Prohibition-themed party where we made vintage cocktails. The Sidecar was my absolute favorite! We decided to turn the tasty cocktail into a light summer drink. Here is what we came up with! And it’s perfect for watching a beach sunset.


Lauren Marie Beach Shoot May 2014_049Dried Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto (Lauren Marie)
This is probably one of the easiest and tastiest appetizers of all time! They are so easy to pop in your mouth in between sips of wine. Serve them on their own or as part of an antipasto platter. Either way, your guests will love them!

Cucumber-Dill Smoked Salmon Bites (Lauren Marie)
This appetizer is beautiful, fresh, and simple to make. The classic flavors of smoked salmon and dill are wonderful. And the crunch of the cool cucumber makes this dish so refreshing!

Classic Deviled Eggs (Lauren Marie)
I love serving these at parties. It’s a hearty appetizer with a retro flare. My favorite ingredient is the minced onions. They’re so mild that you almost don’t know they’re there, but they add such a pleasant crunch!

Avocado Sriracha Deviled Eggs (Angela Sackett)
Sriracha and avocado take this deviled egg recipe to a sweet and spicy, modernized flavor profile.

Smoked Mullet Deviled Eggs (Anna Sackett)
These deviled eggs are given a local flair with the addition of flaky smoked fish.

Italian Parmesan Crisps (Lauren Marie)
This is my favorite go-to appetizer right now. They’re easy to grab, incredibly flavorful, and perfect with a glass of wine. Plus, you can make them a couple days in advance. A recipe that’s simple to make and easy to love? Yes please!

Watermelon and Feta Salad (Lauren Marie)
This layered salad is summer on a plate. The flavor combination of the sweet watermelon with the salty feta cheese and peppery arugula is truly amazing. But it’s the macadamia nuts that take this salad to a whole new level! And don’t be scared of the cayenne pepper in the dressing; it adds a soft, pleasant kick.

Basil Chicken Salad Sandwiches (Lauren Marie)
Chicken salad is a staple in my fridge. My husband loves it! But I’m always looking to add different flavors to keep it interesting. For this one, I decided to add fresh basil and green onions.  It’s a healthy and tasty meal that you turn into a sandwich or just eat straight out of the bowl.

Open-Face Chicken Salad Sandwiches (Angela Sackett)
These open-faced chicken salad sandwiches are light and summery but still filling, served open faced or wrapped in the little “pillows” of gluten-free and grain-free bread made from unlikely ingredients of cream cheese and eggs.

Summery Chicken Salad Wraps (Anna Sackett)
Serving summery, mango-studded chicken salad in lettuce wraps is the perfect way to promote a festive atmosphere and please a gluten-free crowd with a party mindset. Drizzle with a fantastic avocado dressing for a pretty presentation.


Smore’s Cookies (Lauren Marie)
This is the perfect summer cookie.  Let’s just say, I made three batches of these for our photo shoot and by the end, they were completely gone. There’s no other way to say it: These things are darn good.

Grain-Free Avocado Cheesecake (Angela Sackett)
Avocado cheesecake is an unexpected sweet treat that delivers citrusy flavor, bright color, and a nearly-hidden healthy punch.
Bloggers Lauren Marie, Anna Sackett and Anna Sackett

Bloggers Lauren Marie, Anna Sackett and Angela Sackett

All photos taken by Angela and Anna Sackett (Legacy Seven Studios). Plates and tumblers from Sassy Settings. Glass candle covers from Indigo Root.