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These guidelines can help simplify cooking for a crowd. (Metro Creative Graphics)
These guidelines can help simplify cooking for a crowd. (Metro Creative Graphics)

Holiday cooking for a crowd made easy

Mon, Dec 18th 2023 07:00 am

Metro Creative Graphics

A number of things can be expected during the holiday season. Children will anxiously await visits from Santa and travelers recognize there is bound to be traffic on the roadways and crowds at the airport. And if you’re opening your home to guests, those visitors will be expecting some delicious food.

Meals are a big component of holiday entertaining, so much so that holiday hosts may spend weeks pondering what to serve guests. These guidelines can help simplify cooking for a crowd.

•Plan make-ahead dishes: Simplifying holiday cooking comes down to spending less time in the kitchen on the day of the festivities. Make-ahead dishes that can be reheated or set in chafing dishes for buffet meals are preferable. There’s lots of dishes to choose from, including casseroles, stews, soups, and baked pasta dishes. Avoid fresh pasta offerings, like spaghetti and meatballs, for example. Leftover noodles will get mushy and will not reheat very well.

•Ham is a good choice: Ham is a forgiving dish that is quite popular for holiday gatherings. Many hams come precooked and presliced, so producing a flavorful main course may be just a matter of dressing it up with seasonings or even using the glaze that often comes with such products.

•Cater a meal: There’s certainly pride that comes with offering guests a table full of home-cooked foods. But the expense, effort and time that goes into creating a masterful menu can be taxing. If a lot of people are coming for the holidays, hosts can find out which area businesses offer holiday catering packages and consider them. This frees up more time for mingling with guests. And food establishments often have experience knowing just how much food to have per person, reducing waste and helping hosts avoid having a refrigerator full of leftovers they may or may not eat.

•Delegate some tasks: It’s alright to ask guests to bring something to the holiday dinner. In fact, they may be eager to pitch in. If someone brings a salad, another an appetizer and others some desserts, then it is just up to the host to provide the main course and maybe a side or two. This removes a lot of the pressure.

•Select familiar foods: Hosts may be tempted to try all of the delicious recipes featured in magazines or online around the holidays. However, sticking with familiar dishes that you have made before reduces the chances for error. Recipes that can be whipped up by rote will make holiday cooking tasks easier and quicker.

Cooking for a holiday crowd doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when hosts employ a few strategies to simplify meal creation.

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