A Holiday Gathering Guide for Hosts
( Family Features ) Gearing up for a big crowd at your holiday festivities can provide moments of excitement, stress, fun and plenty of other emotions as the big dinner draws near. This year, avoid any nagging feelings of doubt with this step-by-step guide to prepare for large gatherings.
Plan in advance. Even if you’re typically the last-minute type, the hectic holiday season is no time to wait until a few days ahead of the celebration to throw meals and more together. Instead, be sure to put together a guest list and send invites at least a few weeks out. Take inventory of supplies like silverware, plates, serving dishes and any accessories you’d like to feature at the table. Make an outline of the food each guest is bringing, or, if you’ll supply all the food, ensure there will be plenty for everyone - don’t forget to take into account special diets or allergies.
Make a list. Planning only takes you so far if you don’t write everything down. Once the menu is determined, list out what you’ll need to make the magic happen. Don’t forget to jot down easily overlooked items that can be picked up the day of, such as ice.
Remember to thaw. One surefire way to make the big day a big disaster is to forget to thaw your main course. If you’re planning to roast a turkey - perhaps the most common centerpiece - remember it takes around a day to thaw for every two pounds of meat. So, for example, it could take close to a week for a 14-pound turkey to fully thaw prior to cooking.
Prep the day before. There are many tasks (big and small) that can be taken care of the day before guests arrive, making the holiday less stressful for hosts. From whipping up simple appetizers like dips to giving the house a thorough cleaning, there’s plenty of pressure that can be taken off your shoulders 24 hours in advance. If you really want to make the big day a breeze, consider cooking your main dish, slicing the meat and placing it in reheating pans one day prior.
Create a schedule. No matter how far in advance you plan or how much prep you complete prior to the festivities, there will always be day-of work to be done. With guests coming in and out, it can be helpful to lay out what’s known as a “fire list,” which details times chronologically for when things need done, such as starting the oven to warm the turkey or simply remembering to lay out dessert following the meal.
Find more holiday hosting tips and meal solutions at omahasteaks.com.
Whole Basted Turkey with Roasted Grape Gastrique
4 cups assorted grapes (picked, washed and dried)1 tablespoon olive oil3/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon pepper1 cinnamon sticknonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons water1/2 cup sugar1/2 cup apple cider vinegar1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons water 1 Omaha Steaks Whole Basted Turkey (10 pounds)
To make Roasted Grapes: Heat oven to 350° F.In bowl, combine grapes, olive oil, salt, pepper and cinnamon stick.Lightly spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Pour grape mixture onto baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and pour into bowl.To make Gastrique: In small saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, 5-7 minutes, until sugar starts to brown.Remove from heat and slowly add vinegar. Return to heat and stir until combined. Add cornstarch and water mixture; bring to boil. Remove from heat.Pour Gastrique mixture over Roasted Grapes and reserve.To prepare turkey: Thaw completely in refrigerator 3-4 days or, keeping turkey in vacuum-sealed packaging, place in sink full of cold water 5-7 hours, changing water approximately every 30 minutes.Heat oven to 350° F. Remove turkey from vacuum-sealed bag. Place turkey in bag provided; secure bag with twist tie. Place bag in deep roasting pan. Using fork, puncture 6-8 holes in top of bag. For extra browning or crispness, slit top of bag for final 20-30 minutes of roasting.Roast turkey 2 hours, 45 minutes-3 hours. Turkey is done when internal temperature measured with kitchen thermometer reaches 165° F. Pour Roasted Grape Gastrique over turkey and serve.