As for many with adult children our holidays are looking more like a sprawl. This year we must divide and conquer. All this entertaining demands that memorable meals come together with a minimum of last minute effort. For selfishly I want to be with those I love, not tied to my overused stove.
Here’s the first of our three “Christmas” dinners. And just like Saint Nick I’m busy making my list, checking it twice and figuring what I can make ahead and stow out of sight.
A quick warm welcome that comes together in a snap.
Cheese puff cups with fig preserves right out of the freezer.
An elegant but easy smoked salmon appetizer. Combine the cream cheese mixture and cut the toast points earlier in the day.
Then assemble an hour ahead and cover with a barely damp paper towel until your guests arrive.
Smoked trout stacks are an impressive showstopper. Once again this comes together in a matter moments. Bake the wonton crisps earlier in the day; seal in an airtight container at room temperature.
Flake the smoked trout, chop the scallions and make a balsamic vinaigrette, cover and refrigerate separately.
Right before serving assemble.
Red and green sides couldn’t be easier. Chop the garlic earlier in the day for the sautéed spinach, cover well and refrigerate.
Before your guests arrive sauté the spinach in batches until just wilted, set aside. Then right before serving sauté the garlic in olive oil, add the partially cooked off spinach and presto it’s done.
Roasted cherry tomatoes create great contrast to the leafy greens. Roast in a 400 degree oven until they are just about to pop, then cool and leave at room temperature before reheating right before serving.
Wild mushroom orzo looks complicated. But not when you sauté the wild mushrooms earlier in the day and cook off the orzo right before your guest arrive. Then it’s just a quick combine and reheat on the stovetop for a laborious looking risotto.
Petite peppermint fudge sundaes are the shining star a top this four-star menu. Petite fudge cakes are made days or weeks ahead of time and stowed in the freezer.
Scooping out the mini balls of minty ice cream ahead of time is a real time saver. Just cover and place in the freezer.
Save a jar of that homemade hot fudge sauce you gave away as gifts and to gently re-warm and drizzle on top.
Smack baby candy canes with a back of a spoon to sprinkle one on each plate.
The best gift of all- everything comes together in a matter of moments with a minimum of dishes! Santa would find this very nice indeed.