Here in the kitchen, our Chefs have been planning and prepping for the holidays for months. We have been busy preparing traditional favorites as well as creating elaborate dishes for our clients to enjoy. But, in our homes, it is quite a different story. In fact, we Chefs have been known to race through the grocery store on Christmas Eve scrambling to purchase last minute ingredients to throw together Christmas dinner, not much unlike an episode of “Chopped.” While every year, we vow not to do this again. So, here are some tips for the “home chef” to host a party in good taste without the hassle- even at the last minute!
Simplicity is key when you don’t have much time! Our holiday entertaining tips will minimize stress, maximize time with your guests and help you throw an amazing dinner party in no time! We crafted a simple holiday menu which involves very little preparation, while using many of our “entertaining staples” to reduce your time in the kitchen and still have a incredible spread.
Simple ingredients to keep on hand for any occasion:
Brie Cheese: The start to anything good!
Smoked Salmon: A good smoked salmon will make you shine at any party
Entertainment Crackers: They don’t call them “Entertainment” for nothing!
Boiled Shrimp: Just upped your fancy meter!
Cream Cheese: Add cream cheese to just about anything and you’re a rock-star
These hors d’oeuvres can be made in advance and presented as your guests arrive.
Arrange your hors d’oeuvres strategically, keeping in mind the need for variation and height. This buffet was thrown together in less than 10 minutes with things we had around the house.
Don’t underestimate the impact of some greenery and pinecones! Add some candles and your place settings to complete the table. Now, it’s time for dinner! We really like the look and feel of “family-style” dinners. Family-style meals allow you to prepare your dishes before your guests arrive and keep warm in a warming drawer (a.k.a lifesaver) or your oven set on the lowest temperature. Make sure that all of your serving dishes are oven-safe! When it’s time for dinner, simply place the dishes on the table and enjoy your relaxed evening with friends!
You can’t forget about something sweet to end the night! And, what’s a holiday party without the eggnog? Give your glasses a festive touch with a peppermint rim and a shot of whiskey to warm the soul. Then, a favorite (and easy) dessert of ours is Peppermint Ice cream with Chocolate Fudge. Serve this is a cute sundae dish or a martini glass and top with a mini candy cane. No baking required- and we love that!
Happy Holidays from Debby and Emily! Savor the Season!