With regards to prep and shopping – do not procrastinate. Make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need and go shopping the day before, checking off every item on your list. When you get back home, put away and prep your ingredients, double crossing off your ingredient list to make sure you have everything on hand. This will allow you to feel confident and not rushed when the big day arrives. Also, in the rare event that you find that you missed an important ingredient; you still have time to make another run to the store.
This meal makes use of some other key cooking tips when it comes to entertaining for large groups.
- Choose a few items that require little or no cooking. These types of dishes can typically be served at room temperature, and do not make use of precious kitchen space and tools. In this case, the antipasti platter works perfectly. Other options would include a crudite platter, hummus and vegetables, or even a large salad.
- Items that can be cooked or put together ‘on the fly’ minimize your time in the kitchen. The Sautéed Shrimp, Sautéed Spinach, and Yogurt and Berry Parfait all satisfy this component. You can excuse yourself from your guests for mere minutes while these dishes are prepared.
- For the main course – go with a big hunk of meat. No, seriously. In this case, I’ve chosen a Standing Rib Roast, as it’s a classic dish of the season. For other events – beef and pork tenderloins, whole roasted chickens, pot roasts, or even a leg of lamb make elegant dishes to serve large groups. You can literally ‘set it and forget it’.
1 lb Marinated Olives
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
¾ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
Parsley, chopped for garnish
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter into the olive oil. Working very quickly, next add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest and sauté in the oil/butter mixture for 30 seconds – careful not to burn. Add shrimp, season with salt, and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking for another 4 – 6 minutes, or until the shrimp are firm and bright pink. Remove from heat, garnish with parsley, and serve right out of the skillet, using the skewers to pick up individual portions.
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Cracked Pepper
10 Cloves Garlic
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Meanwhile, place roast – rib side down – into a heavy bottomed skillet and coat in olive oil. Season entire roast very liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and arrange garlic cloves in the bottom of the pan. Place roast into oven and cook for 1 – ½ hours (about 15 minutes per pound), or until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees for medium rare. Remove from heat and rest for 20 minutes before serving.
5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
Roasted Garlic Cloves (from Rib Roast), skin removed
Fresh Cracked Pepper
2 Tablespoons Chives, finely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add potatoes and cook until just fork tender, 10 – 12 minutes. Remove and strain potatoes, allowing all of the water to evaporate. Reduce heat to low, and place the empty pot back on the stove and melt the butter into the cream. Add potatoes, roasted garlic, and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Using a masher or ricer, mash potatoes until desired consistency is reached, adding more cream for a looser consistency. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.
¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
4 lbs Fresh Baby Spinach
Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat, add oil. Add red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds – 1 minute, careful not to brown. Add spinach and sauté until reduced and tender, 4 – 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt (to taste), and finish with fresh squeezed lemon juice. Serve.
Yogurt and Berry Parfait – satisfy your guests in no time with this simple and beautiful dessert. Most grocers sell pints of prepared berries which will save time and money when it comes to prepping ingredients. Wait to add the granola until just before serving. (Prep 5 mins, Cook N/A, Serves 8 – 10).
2 Cups Granola