Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Holiday Cooking For A Large Family or Group

Many people are at awe, at the thought of holiday entertaining. This is mainly due to the lack of confidence that is needed to cook for large groups, that are larger than their own family. Here, I provided a few simple tips to help make your next experience in cooking for a large crowd a least bit intimidating. Follow these tips, you'll be on your way to having a fun holiday gathering with your friends and families, that you and your guests will truly enjoy.


When cooking for a large group, planning is the key here. The very first thing to plan is your menu. Your menu should be planned if possible, roughly a few weeks ahead of the day of the event. You will need to decide whether to have a formal or casual menu, what will the theme be and how much food you can actually cook ahead of time. Unless you have complete confidence in your cooking skills and working in the kitchen, now is not the time to try new recipes. You should rely on trusted recipes that you have already tried, adjusting them to fit the quantity you need for your event.


In this step of the planning, you will need to decide if you want to have a buffet style arrangement, or will your guests be seated at the table and be served in family style. Maybe you will make arrangements for a server to be present, to take care of the serving of the meal. Planning the setup is very important and that it should be decided ahead of time, possibly based on what you plan for your menu.


When you cook ahead, this can be a lifesaver. You don't want to be spending the entire time of the event, working in the kitchen while your family and guests are having fun in the other room. Doing as much prep work and cooking ahead of time will free you from the kitchen and allow you to enjoy the fun with the guests. There are many recipes available, in which you can cook or prepare and then freeze. Then be thawed for use when needed. They can be appetizers, sides, main courses and desserts, that can be made in advance and freeze until ready to be use. You just need to be sure that you have plenty of room in the freezer to store these items until you need them.


Food safety should always be on your mind at all times, when preparing ahead and for large groups. It is the most important step when planning, preparing and storing any food or serving any dish. Hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees F or higher, while cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees F or colder.


Although tempting it may be to to prepare everything by yourself, but don't hesitate to have some of the family members or guests to help with the setup and/or preparation. You may even ask a reliable guest or two to even bring a covered dish.


Now you can sit back and relax, mingle with the guests and enjoy the party. Preparing in advance, obtaining help and having a well planned menu will allow you to enjoy your party that you worked so hard to make happened. You deserved it.

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