5 Tips for Planning Holiday Gatherings

5 Tips for Hosting Holiday Dinner Food Home Recipes VERGE Magazine

A Host’s Guide to Preparing a Festive Feast 
by VERGE Staff | Food and Home | Monday, November 19, 2018

Getting ready 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.

1. 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 decor 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. 

2. 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.

3. 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. 

4. 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.

5. 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. 

Recipes courtesy of omahasteaks.com


Butcher’s Butter Filet Mignon Roast Garnish

Butcher’s Butter Filet Mignon Roast Garnish Food Recipes VERGE Magazine
Quick Roast Method Food Recipes VERGE Magazine


1/4 cup salted butter
cup duck fat
teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
clove garlic, minced
anchovy filet, minced
teaspoon black pepper
prepared Omaha Steaks Filet Mignon Roast

Cooking Directions for Garnish: In small saucepan, combine butter, duck fat, rosemary, thyme, garlic, anchovy filet and black pepper. Heat on low 3-5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and serve over Filet Mignon Roast.


Roasted Grape Gastrique

Roasted Grape Gastrique Food Recipes VERGE Magazine

Roasted Grapes:
cups assorted grapes (picked, washed and dried)
tablespoon olive oil
teaspoon salt
teaspoon pepper
cinnamon stick
nonstick cooking spray 

tablespoons water
cup sugar
cup apple cider vinegar
tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons water

Cooking Directions: 
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.


Whole Basted Turkey

Whole Basted Turkey Holiday Food Recipes VERGE Magazine

1 Omaha Steaks Whole Basted Turkey (10 pounds)

Cooking Directions: Thaw turkey 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. 


Source and photos courtesy of Omaha Steaks. Top photo credit: Shutterstock 

Read more home and recipe ideas in the digital issues of VERGE magazine.  Click here to subscribe now, and become inspired!


Share this article 




 Living Well