It’s Beginning to Taste A Lot Like Christmas

This Christmas, why not choose a menu that can be prepared ahead of time, leaving only simple tasks like reheating or assembly for the last minute?

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Did we miss anybody? It’s time for a party and we want to help you plan and execute a relaxed holiday party. Entertaining should be fluid and fun, and here are a few tips and recipes so you can shine as the host… yet still have fun on the day of the party.

The most important rules are to plan ahead and be realistic. Break the process down into steps, and check them off as you
accomplish each task, adding more as needed. Seeing all this on paper will help keep you grounded and not overly ambitious. Most importantly, cook what you know. Don’t choose a party to prepare Beef Wellington or Baked Alaska for the first time. Keep it simple with a few well-prepared and well-conceived dishes.

 

Coquilles St. JacquesCoquilles St. Jacques

A party is not complete without seafood and a classic and elegant dish is Coquilles St. Jacques. All of the main ingredients can be prepared the day before, and then on party day, you need only put a quick topping on them and run them under the broiler. Get the Recipe

 


 

 

Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed With GremolataCherry Tomatoes Stuffed With Gremolata

Whenever I serve appetizers, I like to have a few one-bite wonders. One of my favorite one-biters is a recipe with cherry tomatoes stuffed with gremolata, a versatile, herbal condiment. What’s great about this recipe is that everything can be prepared and assembled the day before the party. Get the Recipe

 


 

nut and berry barkNut And Berry Bark

I like a party to end on a sweet note, and here’s a favorite recipe from my Christmas baking every year. Everyone loves the cranberry and pistachio bark. These treats can be prepared days (or weeks) ahead of time and frozen. Just be sure to bring to room temperature before serving. Get the Recipe

 


 

Tips for Holiday Entertaining:

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your party so everything runs smoothly and will allow you to enjoy the party as much as your guests:

• You want entertaining to appear effortless. The more you can get done ahead of time, the better. The recipes above will do this for you. They have been selected with advanced preparation stages in mind.
• Hire a bartender or solicit a friend for bartending duties.
• One can never have too much ice.
• De-clutter. Box up all that stuff on your kitchen counters and stash it away.
• Should you have candles or not? No scented candles around food, but scented candles are allowed on the bathroom counters. At one of my parties, I had candles on a table. A guest backed into the table and unknowingly lit his jacket on fire. Consider yourself forewarned.
• Know that people will spill stuff – usually red wine on something white. Have club soda, Oxy cleaner, salt, bleach pen and soft, absorbent towels (for blotting up the mess) on hand.
• Delegate responsibility. Ask your spouse, a responsible child, or a friend to assist with simple tasks so you are not frantically juggling and running around. ♦

 

Rosie Hawthorne
Rosie Hawthorne is a blogger, gardener, wanderluster, and mother of three.  She learned to cook by watching Julia Child every Saturday afternoon on her 11-inch black and white TV with legal pad and pen in hand. For the Hawthornes, every meal is a celebration of life.

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