Cooking for the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful! Check out these tips from six of my favourite foodie friends to learn how to do more in less time!
Choose a simple menu
When cooking for larger groups, choose a simple menu that's still filling. Also consider the fact that you may not have much help or time on the day of. I would suggest things that aren't too labour intensive or require a lot of ingredients. Self serve items are best, e.g.. Multiple pastas with multiple sauces, salads, baked meats or fish, pies (macaroni etc.). Most of those items can be prepared beforehand the night before and will easily stay fresh overnight in your fridge. And you can pop them into the oven and let the magic happen!
Try a Healthy Twist
Try a quick healthy twist on the traditional Christmas Potato Salad. Use green figs, sweet potatoes and beets instead of regular potatoes. It's really good and satisfying!
Roasted Garlic for the Win!
Roasted garlic goes better with everything. Any time a recipe calls for garlic, I substitute roasted garlic instead. It adds a completely different dimension to every dish. Roasted garlic is slightly nutty and buttery, and it transforms every dish. When I’m roasting vegetables, I simply cut a a few heads of garlic in half, drizzle some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven on high alongside my vegetables, then store them in their peel in the fridge after they’ve cooled. Roasted garlic can last up to two weeks in the fridge, but mine never last more than three days because I use them in everything! If I don’t have any in the fridge and need roasted garlic ASAP, I just turn the gas stove on and throw a few cloves, with the peel on, for a minute or two on the fire and then peel them and use in whatever dish I’m prepping. Roasted garlic for the win!
Average One and a Half Servings Per Person
Make sure you have all your ingredients (measured if applicable) and tools out before you begin so you’re not running around like a headless chicken at the last minute! For bite size desserts at larger gatherings we average 1 1/2 pieces per person as some people may have two (or more!) pieces and others may not have any at all.
If you’re looking for a unique way to spice up your favourite drink consider adding a dash of pepper.
The trend is on the rise in many fashionable restaurants, and it’s also one that’s proving hugely popular among those who use the image-sharing site Pinterest with an increase of 347 per cent more saves in the last year.
This is an idea that I think would work wonderfully with a Sorrel Rum Punch. Speaking of which, Marcus Sun Kow of Fresh Start Juices shares the following!
Just Add Water to Fresh Start Sorrel Concentrate!
Why spend valuable time cleaning, boiling and straining sorrel when you can just add water to Fresh Start sorrel concentrate. For that extra kick we could all use during the holidays, replace one part water with white rum for an authentic Trini cocktail everyone will enjoy!
Kick it Up the AngostuRAY Way!
A really easy effective way to make your dinner memorable is to have a delicious cocktail punch that you can give to your guests as they are all slowly arriving, something zesty, fruity, slightly sparkling will always get the evening started with smiles. A simple cocktail punch which any one can make quickly that packs a ‘punch’ (pun there hahaha) of flavour is one I call ‘CoCo rendezvous’.
Firstly you’ll just need a large bowl (four litre bowl or larger will work) and you simply add all ingredients, some ice, a ladle and some glasses and your guests can help themselves.
This is my recipe for the “CoCo rendezvous”:
400 mL : Angostura Reserva 3 year old Rum
10 Dashes : Angostura Aromatic Bitters
5 Dashes : Angostura Orange Bitters
300 mL : Lime Juice
200 mL : Elderflower Syrup
200 mL : Passionfruit Syrup
Two handfuls of fresh mint
Two litres of soda water (if you want it sweeter then add lemonade)
Two bags of frozen mixed berries (rather than adding ice which will dilute your punch, the frozen berries will thaw out chilling down your punch and acting as your garnish too)
Stir until all is well incorporated and mixed and ready to serve.
You’ll have fun creating this punch, and its not excruciatingly difficult to create. Now you’ve got the start to a simple way of how to make your dinner memorable. Happy Responsible Drinking everyone!
Want More Tips?
WANT MORE ENTRÉES? HERE ARE SOME OF MY MOST RECENT ONES!
- Sarina’s Trinidad-Style ‘Stew Oxtail’ (recipe) – as mentioned in The New York Times
- Asian Crisp Fried Noodles and Chili Vegetables (recipe)
- Salmon “Kalia” (recipe)
- Red-Roasted Chicken Stir-Fry (recipe)
- Pan Fried Snapper with Tomato Salsa (recipe)
- Kung Pao Chicken (recipe)
- Bertie’s Trinidad Pelau (recipe)
- Chef’s Table Recipe: Ciabatta-Wrapped Striped Bass
- Daring Cooks: Gluten-Free Indian Dosas (recipe)
- Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna (Lasagne Verdi al Forno) (recipe)
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