Shopping for holiday gifts may be a top priority for many come the holiday season, but for hosts and hostesses opening their homes to friends and family, several other tasks need to be done as well. One of the more significant decisions holiday hosts must make is choosing what to serve when guests arrive for holiday dinners.
Holiday dinners are often more extravagant than the run-of-the-mill dinners families eat on ordinary weeknights. Crafting a special dinner requires both planning and prep work, and there are some ways to make the experience go more smoothly.
Culture often dictates which meals are prepared. Many popular main courses involve pork and poultry, as baked hams and roasted turkeys are especially popular during the holiday season. But regardless of history, hosts should consider which foods appeal to the greatest number of guests, then plan the dinner around these items. Also, if you’re known for a particular dish, go ahead and make that, even if it’s a less traditional holiday meal.
Another savvy move is to choose foods that can be prepared in advance. If you’re hosting a houseful of guests, steer clear of foods that require individualized attention or must be cooked and served promptly, like a risotto. Casseroles, pasta dishes, roasts, and other similar foods can be prepared and cooked, then reheated in time for the main course.
Keep it simple
Although you may want to impress your guests with your culinary prowess, experimenting with exotic dishes or trying intricate plating techniques can backfire if you do not have adequate practice. It’s better to stick to familiar foods and save the experimentation for a smaller dinner party.
Meals that have become routine to you can almost be made on auto-pilot. This way you spend less time in the kitchen and more time with guests.
Delegate some work
Guests are often eager to contribute something to holiday meals. When planning a holiday dinner, think about which items you can ask others to bring. A noted early bird may bring appetizers, like a cheese platter. Those who tend to make late entrances may be tasked with providing decadent desserts. Unless the entire meal is potluck, holiday hosts usually handle the main courses and many of the side dishes.
Be prepared for leftovers
In an effort to ensure everyone has enough to eat, you likely will make more food than you and your guests need. Don’t let those leftovers go to waste. Stock up on takeaway storage containers so your guests can bring home some of the food. Promptly wrap up any leftovers and store them in the refrigerator so food will not spoil.
Holiday meals are full of many good foods and lots of conversation. Help make them a success by planning ahead.