Putting together a holiday dinner menu? Here are tips for planning a successful—and easy—dinner party that everyone will enjoy.
Planning a holiday dinner menu can be stress-free for casual or elegant get-togethers. First decide how formal the gathering will be—either a sit-down dinner or a more casual meal like a self-serve buffet.
Here are 3 tips for hosting a memorable holiday party without breaking a sweat:
- Prep Food and Drinks Before the Party
Organization is the key to success. Think about what appetizers, main courses and desserts can be bought or made before the event. Buy beverages ahead along with any extra dinnerware or serving pieces, utensils or glassware (or paper and plastic products!)
It’s true that buffets make dinner parties easy because most dishes can be reheated quickly and kept warm while guests can help themselves. Balance the amount of hot and cold dishes too. That way, on the day of the party, only an hour or two of prep is needed. When the party starts, the advance organization will help allow the hosts and guests enjoy the entire party.
A great resource for purchasing delicious appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts for a holiday menu is The Tender Filet. Starting with appetizers, you could opt for the perennial favorite hot spinach and artichoke dip, but also consider a fun alternative like stuffed bread featuring a savory combination of pepperoni, salami, ham and cheese. The bread comes frozen and can be kept in the freezer until the night before the party. Another crowd-pleasing appetizer is Coconut Shrimp. One order serves 3–4 people and is simple to heat and serve the day of the party.
- Ask for Help with the Holiday Party
Be honest about your kitchen skills and how much time you have to prepare all the food and beverages as well as decorate for the holiday party. Don’t attempt to be “the perfect host” because in the end, everyone just wants to have a great time at the event. Make a list of all the food and beverages that you excel at, and plan to handle those. It’s perfectly okay to buy prepared foods to supplement what you make yourself—the combination will de-stress the planning process and the event itself.
Sometimes dinner entrées can be complicated. Keep in mind that everyone should enjoy themselves at the party, including the hosts. If that means purchasing an entrée to make life simpler, consider a few options from The Tender Filet that feed a crowd.
Nothing says holiday like mouthwatering prime rib. It’s both elegant and easy to prepare. And, prime rib can be delivered to your door when you order the easy-to-slice and serve Boneless Prime Rib—simply season the meat, roast and serve with a tasty Sour Cream Horseradish sauce. The sauce is very easy to prepare and pairs nicely with the herb-crusted prime rib.
Consider feeding hungry guests an elegant and unique Louisiana-inspired entrée called Tur-Duc-Hen. This 4-pound roast combines moist and tender turkey, duck and chicken meat rolled around a stuffing made with pork, yellow and green onions, bell pepper and special seasonings. Each Tur-Duc-Hen serves 10–12 people.
Side dishes made from scratch can also be purchased ahead of time from The Tender Filet. Choose from holiday favorites like Green Bean Casserole, along with other classics like Dutch Crust Sweet Potato Casserole and four-cheese Mac & Cheese. Most sides can serve 6–8 people.
- Create a Party Atmosphere
Once the food and beverage menus have been decided, consider interior decorations. The entertaining space should look holiday appropriate, but don’t go overboard buying new decorations. If your party is at Christmas time, a beautifully lit tree is sure to put guests into the holiday spirit.
Another cost-effective way to set a holiday mood is by using softly scented candles in holiday-inspired scents. Scented oils also work in small doses; however, any scents you choose should not be stronger than the aromas of the food.
It’s a nice touch to include guests in beverage and food preparation or even serving. In general, people want to feel needed or helpful, and including them (not just serving them) makes guests feel part of the festivities, which is very important. Don’t fuss over the small things and keep people busy and entertained.
Overall, food and beverages help create a party atmosphere…and even the desserts can add a festive touch. One that looks spectacular (and could double as a table centerpiece surrounded by holiday greenery and ornaments) is the Red Velvet Layer Cake. This classic features luscious cream cheese filling layered over devil’s food cake, hand-frosted, kissed with real cocoa and sprinkled with crumbs.
Try these entertaining tips to plan your next successful holiday party!