holidays are coming - and so are your guests! So much work, so little time!
Holiday preparations can be overwhelming. Here are some suggestions to simplify
preparations and help you get organized.
your guest list - the people you want, and the people you have to invite! Plan
your menu carefully if you have invited guests with special dietary needs (i.e.
diabetics, vegetarians, people on restrictive diets). I always include some of
my family's favorite dishes, plus a few new ones.
delegate! Let your family share in the preparation (and cleanup)! Children can
design place cards and set the table. They can also be involved in meal
preparation - helping you plan, shop, cook and bake. In addition to teaching
them cooking skills, you'll spend quality time together and create wonderful
you have enough seating? Check your tablecloths, napkins, cutlery, china,
glassware, wine decanters, serving pieces and platters. Borrow, buy or rent
all your appliances working? Is there enough room in your refrigerator, freezer
and oven? My friends once bought such a big turkey that they had to cook it in
an industrial oven in their friend's restaurant!
your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Organize your shopping list according to
how foods are located in the supermarket. Take advantage of bagged salad greens,
bottled salad dressings, prepared dips, cut-up veggies from the salad bar.
New Year! For your New Year's celebration, enjoy Nick Malgieri's
Flourless Chocolate Cake, from his prize-winning cookbook 'Chocolate'. As a special touch to mark
the New Year, why not decorate the top of the cake (or any round cake)
like the face of a clock! Melt 1 square of semisweet chocolate over low
heat. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a writing tip. Decorate the
cake by marking the numbers 12, three, six and nine on the top.
and freeze as much as possible in advance. Last-minute dishes can be prepared up
to two days in advance. Be sure to check out Turkey
Talk for my tips on preparing the perfect holiday turkey.
color when planning your menu. Make foods as colorful as possible. They'll look
appealing and will contain extra vitamins and minerals if you add diced
vegetables such as red and green peppers, celery, grated carrots, plus minced
herbs such as parsley, basil and thyme.
out my recipes for lots of great ideas for delicious holiday delights. Some of
my favorites are:
Tangy Sweet & Sour Meatballs
(cut into holiday shapes)
Molten Chocolate Cakes
addition, here are two new holiday quickies that will have your guests believe
that you've been slaving for hours. Happy holidays. Enjoy in good health!
several cans of beans (red or white kidney beans, chickpeas). Drain and rinse
well to remove the excess sodium.
Add your favorite bottled low-fat salad
dressing and some herbs (basil oregano, thyme), some chopped sun-dried tomatoes
or roasted red peppers, plus a handful of minced parsley.
- quick and healthy Bean Salad.
several prepared barbecued chickens at your supermarket - each chicken will
serve 4 hungry guests.
Cut each chicken into serving pieces and arrange in a
large casserole that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Combine 1/2 jar of
bottled barbecue sauce and 1/2 jar of garlic sparerib sauce (or combine 2 or 3
varieties of your favorite bottled sauces). You will need about 1/2 cup sauce
for each chicken. Mix well and pour over chicken pieces.
Bake uncovered at 350°
for 25 to 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Yummy!!