Gearing up for a big crowd at your holiday festivities can provide moments of excitement, stress, fun and plenty of other emotions as the big dinner draws near.
This year, avoid any nagging feelings of doubt with this step-by-step guide to prepare for large gatherings.
Plan in advance. Even if you’re typically the last-minute type, the hectic holiday season is no time to wait until a few days ahead of the celebration to throw meals and more together. Instead, be sure to put together a guest list and send invites at least a few weeks out. Take inventory of supplies like silverware, plates, serving dishes and any accessories you’d like to feature at the table. Make an outline of the food each guest is bringing, or, if you’ll supply all the food, ensure there will be plenty for everyone – don’t forget to take into account special diets or allergies.
Make a list. Planning only takes you so far if you don’t write everything down. Once the menu is determined, list out what you’ll need to make the magic happen. Don’t forget to jot down easily overlooked items that can be picked up the day of, such as ice.
Remember to thaw. One surefire way to make the big day a big disaster is to forget to thaw your main course. If you’re planning to roast a turkey – perhaps the most common centerpiece – remember it takes around a day to thaw for every two pounds of meat. So, for example, it could take close to a week for a 14-pound turkey to fully thaw prior to cooking.
Prep the day before. There are many tasks (big and small) that can be taken care of the day before guests arrive, making the holiday less stressful for hosts. From whipping up simple appetizers like dips to giving the house a thorough cleaning, there’s plenty of pressure that can be taken off your shoulders 24 hours in advance. If you really want to make the big day a breeze, consider cooking your main dish, slicing the meat and placing it in reheating pans one day prior.
Create a schedule. No matter how far in advance you plan or how much prep you complete prior to the festivities, there will always be day-of work to be done. With guests coming in and out, it can be helpful to lay out what’s known as a “fire list,” which details times chronologically for when things need done, such as starting the oven to warm the turkey or simply remembering to lay out dessert following the meal.
Find more holiday hosting tips and meal solutions at omahasteaks.com.