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A First-Timer’s Guide to Holiday Meals

holiday mealsDesigning a holiday menu many not seem like a complicated endeavor, but there is an art to it. Chefs and consultants use specific strategies to help them determine exactly which recipes to incorporate into important meals. While your gathering may not be quite as elaborate, you can still use these tactics to make your meal one to remember.

9 Tips for the Perfect Holiday Meal

Just about anyone can bake a holiday ham and serve up a few traditional sides. To make your meal appeal to all five senses, however, you’ll need to do some critical thinking. The following nine tips will help you create a complete holiday dining experience that will inspire good cheer and full stomachs.

  1. Think about what kind of meal or party you’re having. Be sure the food compliments the occasion, whether it’s formal, laid-back, or themed.
  2. Incorporate dishes that feature varying tastes and textures, such as creamy, spicy, savory, sweet, crunchy, chewy, and flaky.
  3. To ensure that you meet everyone’s needs, always have at least one traditional or familiar appetizer, such as onion dip. You can then get a little more creative with other appetizers.
  4. In addition to your holiday entrées and sides, prepare a dish that you’re accustomed to making. This will ease your nerves and give you peace of mind as you endeavor to make exciting new dishes.
  5. Take advantage of any recipe you can make ahead of time. When things get going in the kitchen, time is short and stress is high. Having a few things prepared in advance will ease some of your tension.
  6. Think about the color of your holiday food. Provide visual variety to tempt your guests and create the holiday atmosphere on the table.
  7. Look to the season for ideas. In-season produce typically tastes better and is much cheaper than out-of-season fruits and veggies.
  8. Add raw veggies and other low-calorie options for guests who might be eating healthy or watching their weight.
  9. Plan from your perspective. Many hosts end up with a strange assortment of food, because they try to please everyone. Stick to a theme and menu that excites you. If you’re excited about your holiday meal, odds are your guests will be too.
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