Does the thought of getting all the food to the table feel overwhelming?
It can be a daunting task if you are unprepared...
Thinking about the family celebratory dinners that I have prepared over the years made me realize that I actually have a routine...perhaps my tips will help.
Set the date for your dinner and invite the guests.
Peruse cookbooks, magazines, and your recipe box and decide on the menu.
(keep the menu simple if you are new to cooking!)
You many ask your guests to bring a dish already prepared to share.
Decide on your table setting...linen tablecloth and napkins.
Purchase or gather things to decorate the table ~ candles, flowers, pine cones, pumpkins and gourds.
A couple of days ahead...buy the food and ingredients that you need to prepare the dishes.
One day ahead prepare as many dishes as you can...
I prepare most of the vegetables and place them in their oven proof serving dishes ~ then reheat them.
Write down the cooking and reheating times of all the dishes so that you leave nothing to chance.
While the roast or turkey (main dish) is in the oven.
Set the table...then sit for a bit and rest!
Enjoy the time with your guests and excuse yourself when you need to go to the kitchen.
When the roast is resting on the carving board make the gravy and cook any other veggies that you are serving.
Ask people to help carry the food to the table.
Serve and enjoy!
For our Thanksgiving dinner I used several recipes from Ina Garten's Foolproof cookbook.
I used her basic Brussels Sprouts recipe.
(I omitted the meat because we have a vegetarian in the family)
I cooked a small salmon filet and some mac n cheese for the grand children.
These Sophie Conran dishes are so handy...
they look nice and all go into the oven and microwave.
Ina's Parsnips and Carrots
colourful and tasty.
(Corning Ware oval roaster)
I served her English style potato recipe which was a huge hit.
Crunchy and delicious...
not one crumb left in the bowl!
Simple Sweet Peas and mashed yams rounded out the menu.
9 pound Prime Rib of Beef Roast...
cooked to perfection thanks to an online beef time chart.
I made gravy while this beast rested for 20 minutes on the board until Mr. HB expertly carved.
(he sharpened all the knives the day before we hosted the dinner)
After dinner ~ before dessert,
a couple of guests helped clear the table while I put the food away.
We put the coffee on...
set the table with dessert and fresh plates.
The dinner plates were quickly loaded into the dishwasher and the silverware soaked in soapy water.
Pots and pans were stacked for cleaning until after the guests depart.
Retro Time Warp Chocolate Wafer Log for dessert.
(Christies Wafers have the recipe on the box)
I use freshly whipped cream instead of the whipped topping that they suggest.
Prepare at least 4 hours before serving, cover and refrigerate.
I served the log with fresh strawberries.
Relax and enjoy your guests.
Clean up after they leave or postpone it until the next morning.
Launder the linens, iron and put them away.
If you are lucky there will be leftovers for dinner and you can take the rest of the day to put your feet up!