The holidays are a great opportunity to spend time with loved ones, however, balancing travel, gift-buying, and the preparation for large family get-togethers can certainly be a struggle. If you find yourself playing host this year, you have the added responsibility of preparing a holiday meal that those closest to you will enjoy and remember. Cooking for a large number of people always involves additional preparation if you want your get-together to go off without a hitch. Here are 6 quick cooking tips to help you prepare a delicious dinner with less stress:
Get a Headcount
Making a final list of who is going to be coming to dinner will ensure you don’t make too much or too little food on the big day. Call all your guests and make sure you know who they are going to bring, and plan accordingly.
Plan the Menu
Take votes from friends or family members on preferred dishes if you’re not sure what to make, and be sure to find out about any allergies or dietary restrictions your guests may have. If there are going to be a large number of guests, ask people to bring a certain dish or dessert to make the entire process a little easier.
Make a List
Once you have a menu planned, determine what food items you already have on-hand at home, and write up a shopping list for the remaining items. There are many companies that home-deliver premium meat and seafood items at discount prices, which could save you money on the items themselves, or even a trip to the grocery store entirely. If you opt to buy seafood online prior to the event, keep it frozen until the day of the dinner to ensure maximum freshness.
Use a Cooking Schedule
If you have family members who plan to help you do some of the cooking, or even if you’re tackling the whole menu by yourself, divvy up the items in advance of the dinner by when each can be prepared. Dessert items can be made throughout the week and frozen until the evening of the special occasion. Many sides can be prepared the day before and refrigerated.
The Big Day
Large items like ham, turkey, and other main courses, should be started early the morning of the dinner. Other smaller items, like homemade rolls or salad and appetizers should be prepared the day of to maximize freshness, as well. Set the table and utensils out earlier the day of the meal so you have one less thing to worry about while you’re busy cooking the final menu items.
You’ve cooked a delicious meal that your friends and family truly enjoyed— now to deal with the leftovers. If you don’t have the room to refrigerate left over food, encourage guests to take some of their favorite dishes with them. Buy boxes or containers that you can give your guests to take home. As for what’s left over in your own kitchen, leftovers will certainly make meal time much simpler for the next week or so— enjoy it!
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Hailey Andersen is a professional blogger who enjoys sharing cooking tips and recipes with her readers.