With all the holiday bustle already upon us, I thought I’d share some really simple food tips that I use to make things easier and more festive from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
I hope they work for you and ease a little bit of holiday stress when it comes to the grub to feed your friends and family around party time.
First, I know when it comes to Thanksgiving morning, my family is a ravenous pack of wolves impatiently waiting to descend on the turkey which always decides to take a bit longer than anticipated. I wanted to serve something small for breakfast that would help keep the hunger pangs at bay, but who wants to add more cooking to the list while trying to get Thanksgiving dishes to the table? I came up with this idea that took minutes to assemble and would work well for Christmas morning too.
I simply bought some mini pastries, clementines, already cut pineapple, and some breakfast sausages and assembled them on a pretty tray.
I then served my version of mimosas, which is just Prosseco (sparkling Italian white wine) and a splash of peach nectar. For the kids, I use sparkling cider in place of the vino.
You just set this out on the counter and let everyone pick at the goodies. It’s nothing big enough to ruin the holiday meal, but enough to make sure nobody gets to hungry and grouchy.
The next holiday food tradition I use to make things easier, is to serve a simple cheese and cracker tray. This is something that works well for Christmas eve or for New Year’s eve with cocktails.
My friend Ginny suggested I do a post on how to assemble this tray, because not everyone knows what a well constructed fruit and cheese tray involves. Thanks for the suggestion Ginny
All you do is get a variety of good cheeses (most are now available in the deli case at any grocery store), buy a couple of kinds of crackers, (preferably some with different flavors and textures), grab some winter fruit, (I like pomegranates, fresh figs, or red grapes), and then a couple good bunches of hearty herbs such as Rosemary and Thyme. You don’t want to use something delicate like mint because it will wilt.
For the cheeses, it’s best to have a variety of hard and soft, pungent and mild, not only for looks but to make sure there’s something for everybody. Try a smoked cheddar, brie, Havarti, Dubliner, Stilton or another blue variety, and a pepperjack.
I don’t make a big fuss over how it’s arranged. Some years I make neat rows and go for a sophisticated look, and sometimes I go for a more casual, rustic look like this year.
Now, for the third tip, this is just a fun and stylish way to package up leftovers for your friends to take home with them. It is never fun to be rummaging through your cabinets to find plastic containers and lids to send home some leftover turkey and stuffing in. Not to mention, if your plastic ware looks like mine, you’d be mortified to have anyone see it!
You can buy these cute Chinese food containers at your local craft store. I used plastic ones so I could be sure the food wouldn’t saturate the paper and make a mess. I chose the frosted clear variety because I thought it set off the food nicely. Then I just finished off the containers with some ribbon.
There will be a variety of posts in the next few weeks that highlight my favorite gift giving and holiday noshing tips. I hope you tune in for some holiday fun.
Until next time, take care.