This time of year is as good a time as any to look back on the last 12 months and learn from our mistakes. Let’s visit the ghost of Christmas past and recall why we we swore we’d never host a holiday dinner again; no more elaborate meals, no more awkward silence (give everyone a job)! and no more high expectations. Let everyone know you’re preparing a little something and greet them, relaxed, knowing your tried and true dishes are in the oven, waiting for a special place on the hideous dinnerware you were re-gifted last year.
Happy Holidays!! Here are our 5 favorite ways to make your holiday entertaining a little brighter.
1. Make one whole, large protein and have someone else plate it. You’ll save time by cooking one large pork loin, roast beef or chickens and letting the oven do all the work. Take the meat out of the oven 20 minutes before serving and elect the person who’s helped the least to slice or break it down and arrange on a platter (avoid cutting your roasts on the serving platter, it’s messy and not great for your knives).
2. Use 1/4 sheet pans. These half-sized cookie sheets have been our number one seller at the desk this year- you can fit 4 of them in a regular oven, allowing you to have multiple vegetables roasting and sides kept warm at all times.
3. Plan on 1 protein, two vegetables and one starch. Brighten your tables with something other than rice and mashed potatoes; go for colorful winter salads, deep greens and bursts of citrus and pomegranates for a festive look that brighten your Instagram shots and tastebuds alike.
4. Delegate! You know you only invite Xander as the party hype man. Give him what he wants and let him shake up a good time by tasking him with a seasonal cocktail- we’ve got Mathew Biancaniello’s mixology book in stock (his killer Negroni recipe here).
5. Make dessert ahead. Pick anyone of these desserts (Sticky Toffee Pudding, a Budino or Flourless Chocolate Cake), make them days ahead of time and warm them in the oven from the freezer at 350F while you’re eating dinner. Entertain like the French and serve a cheese course (don’t kill yourself, a made-ahead plate of cheeses and a loaf of bread will do) between dinner and dessert to give everyone time to discuss politics and religion while you whisk away to your quite kitchen sanctuary to serve up the sweet stuff.